Friday, August 28, 2009

Odds and ends

On the media

I too mourn the loss of Senator Kennedy, but from a media coverage point of view enough is enough. The cable networks seem bent on repeating the ridiculous coverage they devoted to Michael Jackson to everyone famous who dies. Even Billy Mays was as overexposed in death as he was in life. Enough already. It's not only the dead who deserve to rest in peace, it's the living.

The story is crowding out other stories, and the one that seems to deserve more attention than it's getting is the CIA vs. the Justice Department on torture.

We've been watching less extreme partisan TV, meaning far less MSNBC (except for Rachel.) We shed a lot of this over the summer, and hope to keep it up. I turned Nick on to the New Republic last night; I'd suggested that the new issue has two articles he might want to share with his dad (one on the incorporation of the fringe right into mainstream GOP and one on the absurdity of Sarah Palin's claim about "death panels.") He read the first one and was very impressed.

There was an excellent piece last night on the Newshour on PBS about health systems in other industrialized countries, how they do it and more critically why they do it (and why we don't). Should be required viewing for everyone interested in the issue.

From the annals of medicine

The doctor's office just called to let me know that they have no x-rays of my back, and I need to get them Monday. A highly inconvenient oversight, because Monday is a crazy day as I try to get everything done before I go out. It's the simple things that trip us up. It seems a little late in the day to find out what steps we've missed, but I'm going to try not to think about what other oversights might be in store.

I'm going to pack for the hospital this weekend. I kind of feel like Lucy Ricardo getting ready to have Little Ricky.

My dad suggested with the best of intentions that I call the surgeon and suggest that he have a neurosurgeon in the operating room. A well-meant suggestion, especially because this surgery crosses the line between neuro and ortho and is done in equal measure by both types of surgeons. However, and it's a big however, I feel a little strange about second guessing the guy who's going to quite literally have a knife in my back (as opposed to the metaphorical knife in the back to which we're all accustomed.)

My over-research has continued unabated. By changing the search terms to "laminectomy rehab" or "synovial cyst excision" I've unearthed an entire trove of new info, though much of it is technical and frankly beyond my ken.

Uncle Sam wants you

Nick's uncle was very interested in the fact that I spent Wednesday at Fort Hamilton learning about the military, and wondered if they knew my politics. I had a couple of reactions when Nick told me. First, and of lesser importance, I didn't go there and stand on a soapbox to declare my political leanings. Second, and of far greater importance and interest was the fact that I found the people we spoke with -- all career military -- to be far more broad-minded than I could have imagined. They were open about their dissatisfaction with the Bush policies and hopeful about the new administration. They were candid about what matters to them and why they do what they do. They were liberal minded (in the true sense, not as a political distinction) and as far from doctrinaire as I could imagine. Parenthetically, I found the entire experience eye-opening, impressive and very very moving.

The housing market

Random people are coming to look at the house Sunday. No open house, just a few people coming with realtors. It's interesting to watch the behavior of people in a buyer's market. In a seller's market flaws and shortcomings are overlooked or addressed, in a buyer's market there are only flaws and shortcomings. Some of the greatest hits include:

  • the house is too close to Union Turnpike: hmmm. Look at Google Earth before you come to the house, and if that's a big problem don't waste your time coming by
  • the yard is on the side of the house: not much I can do about that. It's a quirky Gardens thing. Again, this is knowable if unchangeable
  • there are no bathtubs: this is legitimate and a design flaw of the house. But given the fact that many of these houses have never been updated and this house has 5 new bathrooms, a new kitchen, new floors, AC and much more, it seems to me that someone could manage to put in a bathtub if they need one
  • they don't like where the fridge is in the kitchen: frankly, neither do I. Feel free to relocate it
Who said this?

My CFO and I were chatting yesterday and were tossing around the following phrase (which I've been using for years but can't attribute to anyone. If you know who said this let me know): if he were half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is. I've said it about several people, and it's a neat turn of phrase, but I'd like to give credit where credit is due.

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