It’s Time to Repeal Obamacare!!!!

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Single payer would save us all money and offer better care. only problem, a bunch of corrupt millionaires wouldn’t get their cut, and if they don’t get their cut, they cant afford to pay congress to keep voting in a way that harms the american people. the idea that we could save about a Trillion dollars PER YEAR, and offer EVERY American decent healthcare, so they can be as productive as possible, and so their medical care is not a reason to not hire them is a no-brainer. It would also be painfully simple, we declare tomorrow “Medicare for all” we hire as many of the clerical workers as we need from the bloodsucking insurance companies to process the paperwork. done. yes, there would be a fee which we might subsidize for the very poor, (we could eliminate the redundancy of medicare, medicaid and the VA system) and let everyone else pay, maybe exempt VA, as well as the very poor, and maybe wrap the subsidy into a republican idea where if the poor person doesn’t use any medical services, we rebate them a check at the end of the year for the $109 per month, or say an even $1000 per person whose family income is below the poverty line and doesn’t need any medical services. Save a TRILLION dollars per year! Cover EVERYBODY! LOWER the burden on businesses and separate the cost of hiring an employee from any health related costs! Why not? because if you do, certain parasites will lose the ability to profit off of illness…

I am aware that there are people who insist our system costs so much and leaves so many people behind because that is the price for having the best system in the world. And while we do have excellent care for extremely rich people, 90% of all Americans cannot be considered anything but middle class or lower, meaning the poor support a system for a very rich people. Therefore, I am including some stats from the most recent oecd.org reports on actual healthcare costs and out comes for the wealthiest and most economically developed countries. It turns out that Americans are paying about double the average cost, and have about a 40% higher infant mortality rate and we die about 2 years earlier than the average developed country, so if we were to adopt ANY of the other systems in these other countries, we would save about $5000 per man woman and child in America, we would have 100% coverage, and we would live longer and be more likely to survive childbirth. It is hard to understand why anyone is still arguing that Single-Payer would cost us more, when it obviously would not.

OEDC HealthOEDC Life ExpectancyOEDC Live Births

How to START Writing

There are a million places one can go to learn how to write, to write better, to write a best seller, to write the world’s best business report, the greatest resume, and countless other things.

I will not, and probably could not tell you how to do any of these things. Over the past 53 years of writing, I have written a few good resumes, that and being a moderately pleasantly looking affable white male, have landed more than one job I probably didn’t deserve, but as a rule, I am not what some would call a successful writer.

In fact, my first point is to suggest that the traditional definition of a successful writer is not and never has been a reliable yardstick. First of all, most writers are not published, and most published writers don’t make any money, I mean they earn well under $1000 per year, maybe under $1000 for their entire “career.” Success, in writing, like in most things, means does it accomplish what you intend it to.

So, if you would like to be able to share your thoughts with friends, and maybe leave something for your children and grandchildren to read someday so they can better understand the life you have lived, then I can help you.

If you want to make a million dollars writing, I can help you, too, but not as well. Let’s get the million dollars out of the way first: You can either become the world’s greatest hack writer, (in the old sense of the word), or you can write however you want, and possibly, the odder, the better. Either way, you are going to need to do a lot of things BESIDES write to “succeed” if you write novels, you will need tons of luck. It’s like writing screenplays, for every superstar, there are 1000 writers just as good who did not catch a lucky break, AND have the gumption to take advantage of it properly.

If you can write ABOUT something, food, fashion, health, business, or even, I suppose, writing, though I haven’t made any money at it, you have a better shot at this thing people call success. But often it helps if you work at it backwards. Become wildly famous and successful at doing something, and then start writing about that thing. Ok, I am tired of talking about “writing for success” it bores and frustrates me, and if that is what you want to know, there are slightly less than a million people already writing those pieces. I don’t know if they give much in the way of solid advice. I am pretty sure the best advice about writing for money, is “don’t!”

So now, to talk about what I love, the REAL success of writing is to write something that you appreciate and are proud of, whether you ever persuade a soul to pay you a penny for your efforts or not.

A couple more things to get out of the way. Grammar, spelling and punctuation, and basic storytelling. First the grammar, spelling, and punctuation. I rarely capitalize anything, I punctuate as the spirit moves me, I write one long sentence. Dropping in commas and periods as seems appropriate, but if it was up to me, I wouldn’t use any, most of the time. But if you are a little concerned about your “editing” ability, don’t be. First, it doesn’t matter, and second, Word cleans up almost every mistake you can make, suggests other corrections, so you can look passable if you simply follow its suggestions. The worst problem in this area is using the wrong word, but even that is sometimes caught by today’s word processing.

Now, the serious part of editing is storytelling structure, both in word choice, and story arc and believable dialog and a list of other items, if you are trying to be a professional and commercial writer of fiction.  Poetry has always been my favorite form of writing, because if I write something, no one, not even my Ivy League professor of poetry (who actually knows these sorts of things) can tell me I am wrong. Of course, there is bad poetry, but if someone writes a poem, as long as they are happy with it, and especially, as long as they don’t insist you agree that it is “better than Shakespeare,” then it is fine and it succeeds in making the writer feel better!

If you are struggling to START writing, you probably want to be able to express your thoughts about life, and possibly want to share your story. Someday, maybe even right away, if you are both really good and really lucky, you might have some of the types of successes I mentioned. But, you first need to get comfortable thinking with your fingers. I do everything on my laptop these days, and even though I am a terrible typist, I type 30-40 words per minute, which is about as fast as I can compose, anyway. If you prefer, and if, unlike me, your handwriting is legible, you can fill up steno and note pads. Edit and type them up later. I used to write all my poems that way, but I got tired of not being able to figure out what I had written.

Here is a list of things you have my permission to NEVER worry about again:

Spelling

Punctuation

Story arc

Precise facts

Humor

Or…

literally anything else.

You can start by putting a few of your random thoughts down any way you like. Even in the manner of a grocery list. I sometimes do this when I have a poem idea, but it isn’t fully formed. I can then pick it back up at a future date and write it out. Or as is actually more common, I never touch that note again. Either way, it is a prompt, if you ever need one, and if not, it is a good exercise and clears your head for a better thought that will eventually be your story, essay, poem, or whatever.

Writing is also a lot like sports or music or nearly anything else, the more you write, the better you write. So, start out with a story about what you did today. It’s okay, I mean REALLY okay, if your day was extremely boring, (though, if it’s that boring, you might want to reevaluate your current lifestyle… or maybe not, some of us have already had a lifetime’s worth of excitement) tell how you either did or didn’t sit down with a cup of coffee, and what you did or didn’t have time or feel like reading or watching on TV, what you ate, who you had a fight with, or didn’t.

You also have 100% permission to make crap up. And you can use the truth as a jumping off point. Whatever is in your head, in whatever jumbly-trite-whatever method and manner you can and want, to use to get it out and down “on paper.” That’s it. If you do this every day, for a couple weeks, then all the sudden one morning you will wake up and say, “I don’t want to write this crap anymore, it’s boring, I want to write “X”!

So, you do, you may be great at it, but probably not, especially at first, but that doesn’t matter. How good were the first week you took piano, started bowling, or played softball? The more you write, the more the doors of your mind will open and you will find better ways to say what you want to say.

One last piece of advice, okay, it is kinda multi part: Be honest, but not too honest. If your aunt is screwing around on your uncle with their preacher, don’t name names. Write what you know, as the old saw goes, except, don’t be limited by what you don’t know. Between google and Wikipedia, you can have a good working knowledge of most things, people and places in less than 30 minutes, and often in less than 5 minutes. Don’t worry about what other people think. If you ever get to where you like what you are writing, share it with a friend or two. But if they don’t like it, even if they savage it, ignore them. They are probably totally ignorant about what you are doing.

If you can find a mentor, that is great, but if not, give yourself lots of permission do screw up things. Sometimes our screw-ups are our masterpieces. Usually not, but they are often our best teachers. Learn from others, learn from yourself, but most of all, learn from doing. So, start writing, without fear. The day you write it down, no matter ow poorly and disorganized, you have already succeeded, because a successful writer, is only and above all, one thing: a person who writes!

I wrote this for a friend who is struggling to get started, but it occurred to me, there are a lot of people in that position. If you are in that position, or know someone who is, please read, and share, and let me know if this helped.

“Walk on by”

Had an interesting experience today on Twitter. #noneofmybusinessland

I saw a tweet I liked, clicked on it, then on the poster’s profile. on the profile was another interesting tweet by someone else, so I followed it to that person’s profile, so now I am getting pretty far from my own twitter feed, well into “noneofmybusinessland.”

This person posted this instruction to would be followers: “Dont follow me if you have a BF, or unless you are ready to cheat! I was pretty shocked, and then I looked at couple of this guy’s posts and he is going on about some girl who didnt think he would be “faithful” and how she should give him a chance. Then one about how “hoes had f’cked him up” and he was going to focus on “hoops instead of hoes.” My fingers flew into a rage telling him what a jerk he was, then I thought about what I tell so many “LinkedIn Neighborhood Watchmen.” If you dont like it, scroll on by. I thought about how I ended up where i was, and how I had no right to advise this complete stranger. if they want to be a jerk, its their life.

So I didnt post. I hope he grows up and learns to respect women, but until I master my own life, I think I can let him slide.

It actually felt good to not be a condescending butthead:)

Full disclosure: I am still a condescending butthead, but I am at least working on it:)

 

 

Ending the War on Homelessness

Recently, I saw a piece on social media entitled something like “Ending the ending of Homelessness.” As is often the case, i was moved to respond:

There are a few things we know works with homelessness, and there are a few things we know about homelessness, that will always make it hard to “win” at.:

Housing First Helps

Most homeless people have metal health issues that they have treated with self-medication for a long time, so until we offer a good and comprehensive mental, physical, and addiction health treatment, we will not “Win”.

We also need to solve the “you need a job to get off the streets, and you need a home before you can get a job.

We need to stop criminalizing homelessness.

We need to stop lying to ourselves that all of us are only a few bad breaks from being homeless. Most of us can lose a job, a spouse, and a home and still not be on the streets. The key difference is the mental health and substance abuse that burns thru existing resources (friends and family).

We need to quit with the moral judgements, not only because it is wrong, but because it is unhelpful. Condemning unwanted behavior and unwise choices does not undo either. Helping people and giving them opportunities to help themselves is useful, and does lead to success in fighting homelessness.

These simple, but expensive and sometimes unpleasant options do work. We know they work. I am not a genius with secret information. Too many cities and communities have tried parts or all of this with success.

Ending homelessness means embracing the humanity that is a homeless person, being realistic about what they need to end their homelessness, and providing services and opportunities for them to succeed.

One last thing, whether it I diet, exercise or giving up cigarettes, most of us have had the experience of “failing our way to success” where we try and fail repeatedly, on our way to eventual success. A homeless person must be allowed to fail to success. If we give them the perfect set of options and they still fail, we cannot write them off, we must set them up again, and again, and again, and know some will never succeed, but by building a good system and allowing them to fail to the success at the end, we can make homelessness, if not obsolete, a much smaller problem. Oh, and while religious organizations and good hearted individuals can make a difference, as long as we allow them to be the only, or main response, we will fail. The problem is society’s problem. We, as a society, must answer it together, and yes, that means government and tax payer funded responses.

Our Favorite TV Shows Aren’t on TV

A few years ago, when our cable bill had crept back to nearly $200 again, we cut the cord, and went Internet TV only. Now we pay the same $55 we were paying for Comcast internet (only supplier in our area). We have Roku($129, one time purchase), and Amazon Prime($79.00 annually), Netflix ($7.99 monthly), Hulu ($13.57 monthly), Acorn($4.99 monthly), and MHz ($7.99 monthly)

(it seems as though you can now sign up for a $99 annual package with Amazon and get the NetFlix for Free!)

So our current outlay for the best TV we have ever had is: $34.54, plus whatever you pay for your basic internet service, we pay $55.00. plus a one time $129, let depreciate that over 2 years, as they will likely have an upgrade we will want by then, so $5.38 per month.  and $79 divided by 12, or $6.58

or $47.50 per month, plus our internet service, as opposed to about $180 plus the same basic internet we had “regular TV” and we could watch a lot less quality TV.

We are not big fans of TV news and neither of us care about Sports, though I don’t mind if I catch an Auburn Game or two, and I do like the Derby, but I don’t really miss either and I can watch them on line somehow anyway, if I really care.

This list was originally composed when we first started watching internet TV, primarily Netflix, Hula, Amazon. Later we added Acorn, and very recently MHz. We added MHz because of an interesting promo for its original series about Paris. That show really sucks, but there is a whole section on Scandinavian crime drama, we are currently mining that.

For our tastes, this, and Luther, are the two best shows on TV, though plenty of other good ones.

Line of Dutry

 

Rebus (We tired of it before it ended)

Lewis (family)

Luther

Vera

Wallander

Scott & Bailey

Blue Murder

Body Farm

Peaky Blinders

Sherlocke

Hinterlands

Good Cop

By Any Means

River (We Suzanne tired of it before it ended)

MI 5 (family)

Waking the Dead (family) (We tired of it before it ended)

The Worricker Trilogy

Silk

Single Handed

Wire in the Blood (We tired of it before it ended)

Secret State

White Chapel (We tired of it before it ended)

Chasing Shadows

The Fall

Parade End

The Paradise (We tired of it before it ended)

Bletchley Circle

Clean Break*

Field of Blood

19-2

DCI Banks

 

 

So what have we missed? I am thinking there are a couple I cant remember. We loved all but the “family” shows. Those were watched because C could watch then with us, though he watched Vera, too, but we ALL love Vera!!!

And no, we couldn’t bear Morse, even though Lewis came from it.

 

Updates: (some of these are foreign language, and are marked with an F. We resisted for a long time, but now quite enjoy them)

 

Taboo

The Crown (a bit too Downton Abbey for me, but not bad)

The Politicians Wife

Black Mirror (hit and miss)

Paranoia

Hotel Beau Séjour F

Spiral F

Braquo F

Maria Wern F

Hamilton F (tired of it, but still better than average American fare)

Irene Russ F (I liked it, but my wife insists only because I like the lead character, like she didn’t enjoy the lead in Luther?)

 

 

The Big Book of Anthony’s Remaining Days

No, I have not been diagnosed with an incurable inoperable cancer that will kill me in the next 6 months. Of course we could always find that out at any time, or get hit by a bus before the end of the day, but my remaining days refers to the normal likely amount of time I have left.

Starting on July 2, 2017. Approximately 17 years and one month from my 75th birthday. Up until a few years ago, one might have expected me to outlive my parents, both of whom died in the past 18 months. Mom at nearly 87 and dad just a little over 84. One would at least assume I would live as long as my father. But I have an illness, diabetes, which neither of them had. Typically, Type 2 diabetes shorten one’s life by about 10 years, so 75 is probably a realistic number. I can shorten that or lengthen it somewhat by diet and exercise, reduction of stress and losing weight.

I am hoping to do two things, add at least 5 years onto that 75 number, and be healthy enough to be productive at 15 more years from now. To that end, I am beginning a process of reflecting on what I want to accomplish and try to break it down into daily, weekly and monthly goals, bearing in mind, my physical and possibly mental capacities my lessen so that I should try to accomplish as much in the next 5 years as I do in the following ten, and figure, the last 5 may not be very productive at all. I certainly hope to live to 80 and be as strong bright and energetic on the last day of my life as I am today, but that is not realistic.

What does this mean?

  • While I will continue to work full time as much as possible for the next 7 years, I will not allow my focus to be money and career driven only.
  • I will organize my time and energy into spending time with people that I care about. Writing the best words I can write in whatever form I can.
  • Travel, especially in the next 5-10 years, taste and drink and smell and see, and then try to share those experiences with others.
  • Determine what else will give me joy for the rest of my time.

Awareness: I do not believe in any afterlife, and though I may leave a few people sad when I die, I do not believe I will feel any sadness from the moment of my death forward. So there is no need for me to dread death, nor mourn the shortness of life, especially mine. I probably will be a bit afraid, like jumping off the bridge into a creek full of cloudy water, but after the moment, it will be over and I will be no more, in pain, joy, regret, or hope, so, I have about 5000 days, if I am lucky, and the next 1500 days will probably be the best of what is left. Beyond a bit of comfort and security, I do not plan to lose another minute trying to make a buck.

I am a bit pleased to have come to this realization before it was “too late”. Time goes very swiftly, whether flying or on two feet, but if I start now, maybe I will not have let an entire life pass me by!

Update: So far, I have determined my family and friends, my poetry, and our publication Better than Starbucks all bring me happiness, as does travel, so I am thinking about what else to add to this, and how to maximize these things, but this is my focus. I wish you all well, and may you also spend your remaining days seeking joy and satisfaction, whether you think there is another world or not.