Monthly Archives: November 2009

Right-Wing Health Care Solutions

Otto Von Bismarck

The USA is getting ripped off with health care. I spend $3600 a year on health insurance that only covers myself and my three children, have a $700 family deductible, pay 80% of office visit costs, get huge deductibles on certain procedures or treatment options, and I can STILL wind up going medically bankrupt if my insurance company decides to find a way to dance around coverage of a dread disease, heaven forbid I should get one. I spend about $5000 a year on health costs in a normal year and I’m not getting treatment for everything I need treatment for.

The solution to our health care problem really does lie outside our borders.

Frontline recently ran a documentary on health care around the world. If I spent the same $5000 per year on taxes to support health care, I could get my entire family covered, pay no deductibles, and have zero chance of being turned away for a dread disease, let alone going bankrupt for having one.

And before the Republicans jump up and scream blue murder over socialism, I want them to shut up for a second and realize that one of the rightest of the right-wingers, a guy that makes Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck look like a bunch of Commie preverts, the very OTTO VON BISMARCK himself, created the idea of a government-run health care system.

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Carlos V Chocolate

I love this bad boy. It’s got a flavor and texture unlike any chocolate bar made for the US market. It was made for Mexican tastes… and mine as well, apparently. I love how it crumbles in my mouth as I eat it. I find it a perfect complement to a lunch of al pastor tacos and try to eat it when I still have the taste of the pork, cilantro, and onions lingering in my mouth.

It’s not for everyone. Some find its sweetness presumptuous and its texture off-putting. Not me. I love it.

Carlos V is also smaller than US candy bars. This is a good thing. It’s bigger than a fun size, so it doesn’t leave me wanting more, but it’s smaller than a full size, so I don’t feel like I got mugged by the Sugar Bandit when I’m done with it. It’s just right. Also, it has a great finish: a good, sensible sweet chocolate flavor that lasts. Too often, I can eat a candy and it leaves me with a bad aftertaste. I can always count on Carlos V to rule my tongue fairly and wisely.

An Avoidable Tragedy

HalfMastFlag 650 The recent murders in Fort Hood shocked us all. They could have been avoided, however. The killer had poor performance reviews, he wanted out of the army, he had displayed some irrational behaviors, he was a vocal opponent of the current wars, and had hired a lawyer to file a suit to keep him from being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Why was he assigned to counsel soldiers on their way overseas?

That makes no sense, whatsoever. I often make the half-joke that if a government policy makes sense, we won’t be doing it for long. Why is it now such a painful observation? If anything, the man should have been placed in a posting where he would not have contact with soldiers.

I’m not asking for a review of the policy that somehow allowed this to happen. That’s not nearly enough. As a people, we have to look at the way we want our government to run: do we want it as it is now, or do we want it to make sense?

Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice

Orange Juice in Mexico with Sprite

Orange Juice in Mexico with Sprite

One of the many reasons I’d love to go back to Mexico.

Also Mexican sodas. No high fructose corn syrup in those bad boys! Just straight up sugar, the way they were intended to be made.

But back to the orange juice. The oranges that went into that juice were chillin’ with their homies on the tree just the day before. They never knew so much as a refrigerator, let alone a freezer. Picked, halved, and juiced all within 24-48 hours. That’s why the juice there tastes so much like orange juice, but more so. There’s orangeyness in that orange juice one does not know about when dealing with oranges less fresh.

I know I’d do more than just have a glass of OJ if I went back to Mexico, but that glass of OJ is at the top of my list.


The Gate of Hell

The Gate of Hell

I know something titled “The Gate of Hell” seems to be an odd sort of reason to live, but I’m sticking with this one. No, it doesn’t turn your gray skies to blue. It just puts your life in perspective. This is where “The Thinker” was intended to go, by the way. The iconic Rodin sculpture is not just some guy thinking about what to have for lunch or anything mundane like that. He’s sorting out where he is in the scheme of things.

As long as you’re alive, this says to me, you can still sort things out. No spiritual problem is insurmountable. They seem huge, but are not insurmountable.

Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz

Ah! Saint Celia! When she starts to sing, the heavens open up.

Don’t believe me? Well, go get some of her music and see what happens. I don’t care what mood you’re in, Celia Cruz can get you to get up and start shaking your body to the music. Her career spanned decades and all through her amazing time on stage, she got people to move in their hearts and minds. Whether calypso, cumbia, or salsa, Celia mastered the rhythm and the melody and made her voice do amazing things.

Above all is the happiness in her singing. There’s an upbeat, lively, bring it on quality in her voice that, no matter what, speaks to the joy to be had in every moment, even the painful ones – for they are still moments we live. And, no matter the pain, a touch of Celia can make the clouds pass and the tropical fruit stands appear.

So, go and find Celia and know what she meant when she said, “¡Azúcar!”