Monday, August 31, 2009

Top 10 7 deadly sins

I felt like I was going to die today. Well maybe not completely, but just a little bit. I was sitting at my desk around lunch time and BANG! I got a doozy of a dizzy spell. I don't know about you, but I don't like being dizzy. So I looked it up online (everything you read online is true right?). Apparently I have suffered a stroke or a heart attack...EEEEEEEK!!! Oh wait, when I look a little further down, I see that it could be any number of very much less dire things. 1/2 hour later my balance was intact and I felt much better.

It didn't stop me thinking about my ultimate end however. What if that was it. I'm on my way to meet my maker so to speak. I wonder if you throw away tools or appliances if they go back to the factory that made them...hmmm. Anyhow, I was reflecting on the 7 deadly sins. This list of 7 things that we probably all do, but shouldn't has been around for a long time and was originally called the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins. They didn't really become deadly until the monk Evagrius Ponticus put quill to paper and really gave them a good going over. So lets get started with my top 10 7 deadly sins.

1. Sloth - I originally figured that this particular sin was just being a slob. That's really only part of it. It encompasses any time you are not using your talents and gifts as well as being indifferent to important work at hand. By this definition, any teenager and most adults these days are constantly engaging in this sin. Why is it deadly? I guess if you were drowning and you didn't really care about it...glug. There you have it.

2. Greed - Avarice, the desire for more money, possessions and power. One of the better known of the deadly brothers Greed is often accused by those with less for those with more. If we have plenty but constantly want more, how can we ever be happy? Short answer is, we can't. Why deadly? The desire for more stuff means you gotta get more money. If you gotta get more money, then you are either going to do something illegal, or work yourself to death. Either way, you are taking the dirt nap at the end.

3. Gluttony - Close relative of Greed, Gluttony is the actual consumption of your possessions. Over consumption of anything, not just food and you are a gluttonous guy. We really associate this with being fat. Obviously if you are large and in charge, you are gluttonous by your nature. Not so? But can we not also partake of Gluttony by overindulgence in anything? This is an interesting sin because it is deadly because of it's very nature. The only reason we are gluttonous is because we hunger. we hunger because we require food based on our mortality. If we were immortal, we would likely not need food and would therefore not suffer from gluttony. After all, if you have an infinite amount of everything, why would you want more?

4. Envy - This is the other side of greed. Good old envy. The GREEN sin. Dante put this sin the best and I think it's particularly applicable today (along with greed) ; "love of one's own good perverted to a desire to deprive other men of theirs." It's not enough that you must have more, but your rivals must have less. So envy really could be considered greed +. You know you're suffering from envy when you hear that goofball down the hall got a raise and it just ruins your day.

5. Pride - huberis. the lifting up of ones self. This is really the root of nearly all of the other deadly sins and this one is the deadliest. It's worse than a snakebite because when you are caught in it's throes, there is no advice good enough for you to take and no action brazen enough for you to appologise for. Everything you do is right and the rest of the world is populated with idiots. You are simply possessed of the misfortune of being the singular anomoly of this hairless bunch of misfit apes to realize just how poor off the rest of humanity really is. Pride goeth before the fall. I suppose that makes Pride a summertime sin. sorry.

6. Lust - I'll gloss over this particular sin since I have decided to make this a family blog. Suffice it to say if you look once and avoid, you are a saint. if you look once and enjoy, you are a human, and if you stand there with your tongue hanging out of your mouth trying to find the words to describe what you would like to do as you gawk unceasingly at the target of your...lust. Congratulations. You are a the rest of us. So I have a question. is it possible to continue the race without lust? I would gather from the female perspective not only is it possible, but sometimes proscribed. The male counterpart on the other hand requires a certain state of being in order to continue this human race. If you take lust out of the equation. I'm pretty sure you can take everything else out of the equation including survival. So this one it a deadly if you do, deadly if you don't kind of deal. But I'm not really worried about the human race going extinct. 6 billion people and counting can't be wrong.

7. Wrath - The acting out of your rage or hatred. This sin is pretty closely related to pride (as most are) but this is when your rage or hatred actually find form in real life. Nobody likes being around a very mad person. It shows a distinct lack of control. People start stepping around you quietly because they think you might be a bomb ready to go off. If you suffer from this sin, you probably know who you are. You see people treating you like a mental patient. talking slowly and quietly all the while backing away to the nearest exit. Nobody likes wrath. Just ask the Philistines. They suffered the Wrath of God. Apparently if he's the one doing it, its not a sin.

The next 3 are my own additions to the deadly list. after all, I've got 10 spaces to fill here.

8. Frustration - Next door neighbor to and the constant straight man to wrath, Frustration is what happens when you can't think of any more options and you get mad. Probably mad enough to experience wrath but not quite. You can stop with frustration, but you probably won't. It is what will make you key that guys car, or act passive agressive enough to not let your co-worker get the job done that they want. It may not be deadly, but it will make you snap at your boss and ultimately get yourself sacked.

9. Control - This is most certainly a deadly sin. Not self-control, everyone knows that is a Virtue (no I haven't written that list yet, but it's coming). But the desire to control others. This sin is usually exhibited by parents of late teens and sometimes children in their 20's. Also displayed by overly ambitious middle management, Control manifests itself in the tireless nagging or threatening of subordinates in what is usually termed micromanagement. The problem is control is illusory at best and yet they still try. People that require the compliance of others in order to sate their desire for control are certainly in danger of a premature heart condition.

10. Socially Obtuse - This is a social sin. If you don't know when to laugh at a joke, or laugh too loud at a joke or tell the WRONG joke (you know who you are) then you may suffer from this sin. The problem is, there may be no way to break you of this sin. You will only know that you are 'sinning' when the room clears as you enter. That's when you know that you are likely socially obtuse. The good news is, that you can hang out with other socially obtuse people and they won't mind at all. If you don't like the words socially obtuse, try this...ASS. Seems it's a part of the condition that you can't see it in others either. They are easy to spot, they are the ones breaking wind loudly at a funeral and snickering.

Well, there it is. A fortnight later and I will try again, hopefully with a little more success.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

top 10 things about health care

I'm compelled to write this bit because I really can't seem to turn to any channel on TV without hearing about healthcare, townhall meetings and Paula Abdul. This list was originally formulated when my own father died, and has changed from time to time, but the content remains the same.

10. Good health is not a right - Most of these points are obvious like this one. For some reason, there are people out there that believe otherwise. We call these people...sick. We don't have a right to good health any more than we have a right to good food, or good entertainment. Careful analysis of the constitution will prove it. There are those that believe that the pursuit of happiness holds the key to health care for all. That if we are not healthy, how can we be happy? I know I'm less happy when I'm sick, but is it impossible for me to be happy? no. Life as a constitutional point is pretty strong. If I'm sick enough to die, then I've been deprived my constitutional right of life. Unfortunately, none of us will every enjoy the right of life indefinitely. At least not as we know it.

9. Doctors don't save lives as much as they postpone deaths. - Doctors will be the first to admit that we are all biological machines that tend to break down over time. The best and most healthy among us will fall to the ravages of time. Life saving techniques save lives in favor of an eventual later death. Doctors ultimate goal would of course be the unlimited perpetuation of what we know as life. They are not there yet, but every year gets us closer. Of course the more life we can extend, the more money that can be made from it. Immortality at the price of eternal servitude.

8. ANY health care plan will have to not cover stuff - nobody can plan to pay for everything that will happen to everyone. Insurance doesn't do it. Government won't be able to either. Anyone can say that the current health system is broken, but very few can say just how to fix it. If we are to have a national insurance that covers everyone, that insurance will have to decide what is covered and what isn't. There is no other way. Nothing can pay for everyone all the time. So how to decide. Well, you decide how old is old enough, and you decide which diseases are just to expensive to cover. Regular insurance has been doing this for ages and Government will have to do it as well. No matter what they say.

7. Doctors existed before insurance - Hippocrates, the originator of the Hippocratic oath designating that a doctor will 'do no harm' predated health insurance by about 2000 years. How did Doctors operate without a large pool of money that was administered for them? Well, they used to arrange payment with their patients (customers) and sometimes they would take payment in kind (barter) and other times they would give their services for free. They were free to make the decisions of their profession without hindrance. Then in the 1850's the first forms of health insurance began to rear their heads. Slowly but surely, Insurance has become a fixture and somehow transmogrified into a necessity. Now, if you don't have insurance, it's as big a tragedy as if you can't read. I grew up in a household that never had insurance. I guess I'm still alive to tell the tale. Who knew?

6. Fear is nearly as expensive as Ignorance - Fear and Ignorance are closely related, but Ignorance edges fear out for the most expensive state of mind. Fear though is usually born of ignorance and is therefore a very close second. If we fear the possibility/inevitability of getting sick or in-firmed, then we will pay to stave that off. This is how insurance really gets you. Because insurance is based on the fear of a catastrophic illness bankrupting you and your family. There was a time though, when Doctors would do their best and charge you for the work they rendered and that was it. Now, doctors have to ask permission of the health care provider of their particular patient. That provider will tell the doctor what is covered and what is not. Your Doctor then decides what to recommend based on what Insurance will cover. We need a more nationalized version of that. It sounds really good.

5. Doctors used to make house calls and drive sensible cars. - You come to them and they still drive sensible cars. If they are family practitioners. The specialists of course are the ones making a lot of money and driving those fancy cars. It's not that what they do isn't valuable, but the ability to make money has been enhanced over time. Back in the day, a doctor had to go do school and then just went into practice depending on the states individual rules governing the practice of medicine. the amount of schooling and effort and knowledge needed to become a physician has grown to a gargantuan size. There is no way they don't deserve what they make. On the other hand, will the free market actually be able to pay for their skills if all that is needed is to stitch up a cut?

4. Insurance has never produced anything - Bernie Madoff, what a bastard. This guy took peoples money into the worlds largest pyramid scheme ever devised. The idea is simple. you get a few people to give you say 100 dollars, then you promise them say 10 percent of that investment every month rain or shine. Mind you, that 10 percent is about 8 percent better than anything else around. So every month you pay out 10 percent to the investors and they tell their friends about this great investment scheme and how they need to get into it. It gets bigger and bigger. Bernie gets a big pool of money and pays off everyone every month and keeps getting more and more investors. Sure the rest of the country is making 2 percent but they are suckers and you are a financial genius because you are tight with Bernie. Well, you know the rest of the story. The pyramid never was money invested in anything but paying off the old investors at the expense of the new. Now just replace Bernie with Insurance Companies and change 8 percent to health care coverage and you get the idea. Like those poor saps that got their money to Bernie at the end of his illustrious career. The only difference is you could conceivably pay and pay into a system and never collect, and the insurance companies have to put their profits somewhere, like buildings because as long as there are more people there can be more insurance.

3. The Government really thinks that Healthcare reform is a great deal...for you - So the Feds want to 'give' us health care reform because they think it's SOOOOOOO important. Why aren't they reforming their own health care that we the taxpayer pay for? It seems that if we want them to be serious about what they are giving us, the US should include THEM. What's wrong with that? I'm not sure, but it seems that they are unwilling to do that. I'm sure there is a very high minded and lofty reason that they don't participate in any of the programs they have devised for we the people. Nope, they have government retirement, not social security, they have their own insurance not Medicare. Really the best health care reform you can get is by getting yourself elected to congress. Then you can really enjoy a good system at work. BAH!

2. If it weren't for Insurance, you couldn't afford to pay for it yourself....WRONG - This is more an indictment of lazy people than it is another jab at insurance. But for those of you that are playing at home. lets do an experiment. Add up all of your insurance premiums over the years of working and then add in the amount of health care you have used. Now when you are playing this game, remember. If you have to pay 300-500 dollars for insurance your Employer must pay in the neighborhood of 900 - 1200 for you as well. So add that in. After all, this money is money that your employer is spending on your behalf. The argument against this is. Well my employer would never pay me 1200 dollars a month to do my same job. My answer is. They already do. They just give it to you in insurance. Add it all up over the course of say 5 years and then add in all of the bills less how much you made in a copay (because you payed that all ready). If you really want to have fun with it. pretend you put that amount in the bank and apply say 2% interest to it over those 5 years. Yes, I know, there ARE people for whom their ailments are financially destructive. However, NOBODY calls insurance charity on any side of it and I can guarantee that those people that have insurance and need it, are still financially decimated.

1. Genuinely Free markets drive the price of everything down to it's lowest point. - It's a natural fact. The best example of this is Multi-Level Marketing. Since everyone can be a distributor for whatever product it is. there is too much product and so people that are in the MLM buy product and give it away to friends just to keep their activity and hopes for millions alive. Medicine has been out of a free market for a long time. Why? for a couple of reasons. Insurance tells Doctors what to charge, and people think insurance equals free. Between these two things, people do not care at all that they are putting a burden on the system. People do not shop for medical care in the same way they shop for cars. they go in because they need help. Price is no object my good man, I have insurance. If insurance didn't exist OR if people were forced to administer their own insurance claims, there would be MUCH more competition in the marketplace. But people are both stupid and lazy on this point. After all, if they are sick, the last thing they want to worry about is paying the doctor and getting paid from the insurance company (another whole issue with insurance is the getting paid. Sheesh). Besides if a really good doctor and a mediocre doctor are both doctors and give the same care right? Well insurance says they do, so it must be, and IS true.

So we think that the Government controlling insurance and health care is a good idea? really?! So far the only thing that I can think of that would make health care affordable is to eliminate insurance or at least make it only administer-able by the patient. Create lawsuit reform that dictates that loser must pay for the court costs etc (thereby eliminating frivolous lawsuits and encouraging out of court settlements at a lower cost).