Monday, November 16, 2009

Insure This!

I began a rant on Facebook today but unfortunately I was limited in space to say how I really feel. On the FB I had noted that I am not one to express his political views publicly. I say live and let live, everybody has their views and the right to hold them and express them as they see fit. Me I choose to keep mine to my self typically. However, today I am furious, and feel like I have something to say, though it may fall on deaf ears, for me it will be cathartic. I found out I was denied for health insurance today. Insurance companies can kiss my ever loving bare white ass! I am furious that they can deny me coverage because of my so called "pre-existing conditions".

I have been genetically blessed (thanks mom and dad) with health concerns, in fact most all of us have. Sure I must take my share of the responsibility. After all I can do some limited things to help control these problems, but in the end genetics take over and it is what it is. Medical science has made it possible for my fat lazy ass to take pills to control the disorders that could potentially kill me and I for one am thankful for this.

I have never been subjected to such discrimination prior to this denial. I have been fortunate enough to have been consistently insured through employment. Earlier this year I became unemployed and thus privy to a different vantage point of the current health care system. Particularly the insurance industry and it's broken ass EFF'D up policies on insuring people.

I have followed the debate and listened to these so called politicians bicker and spin their bullshit about right and wrong, and in the end it is all about the almighty dollar. I have no problem with capitalism but at what cost?

I can't get insured privately because I have pre-existing conditions that make me too much of a liability in their black soulless eyes. God forbid they insure someone with high blood pressure or high cholesterol because they will have to pay for the medications and lab work required to manage my condition. God forbid those executives don't get to take their next exotic vacations or pay the mortgages on their indulgent mansions they live in while I have to quit taking my cholesterol medications because I can't afford to pay full price for them.

So now, when I have that heart attack and have to be rushed to the hospital, in the end who is going to pay for the bill? Not the bastards sitting in their huge office buildings throwing wads of their filthy lucre at each other! It will be the tax payers. You are welcome America, I apologize in advance. Write your congress man if you don't like it!

Congress sits up there on Capitol Hill and debates about it, making senseless propaganda ridden arguments perpetuated by the lobbyists that are taking them out on their yachts and giving their States, kickbacks for taking care of them. All the while the freakin' Republican party is chatting cries of "socialism" and how we are turning in to the now defunct Soviet Union. They are clueless about such things and have never lived in, nor even visited some of these so called "socialist" countries.

Their argument that the quality of medical care would substantially drop if we adopted a socialized medical model is just plain crap. I have experienced socialized medicine, it was fine. I am still alive to tell about it! I don't even care if we do adopt a socialized medical model. I would be happy with a system that didn't discriminate on pre-existing conditions and that allowed you to choose whatever doctor you want to see. Make it affordable and accessible and I will shut up. I am willing to pay something, I was ready to shell out almost $200 a month as it was for a minimal plan. Now I can shell out $200 a month for one prescription and I have 4 that I should be taking daily.

The system the way it is, in my opinion, is criminal. I am in between the income levels to qualify for Medicaid, and can't afford getting insurance through my wife's group plan. All the while the fat cat politicians and the big company executives that have them in their hip pockets are fully insured and can eat their rib eye steaks and caviar, while I have to eat leafy green vegetables and oatmeal to stay alive. Ok a bit dramatic but you get the point. I feel better? Not particularly. However, I can at least say that I said something. You may not agree, or you may agree with portions of the venom that I have spewed. Like I said, to each his own. Just remember that someday it could happen to you. And when it does, I hope by then something has changed and Congress can go on to debating the next bullshit agenda item that their lobbyists have asked them to push. Viva la revolution! Peace, love and good health for all!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gonna Have to Face it.........

Crack cocaine. Scourge of the inner cities of our nation in the 80s and 90s. A highly addictive derivative of the more expensive cocaine, that led to the addiction of millions of men and women because of the intense high and the cheap accessibility of these "rocks".
Spawning the term "crack whore" named for the women who would prostitute themselves just to get that next high they were so badly jonesin' to get. Ultimately producing the "crack baby" who was born addicted to this substance through the in-vitro transfer to the child.
Soon crack was replaced by an even cheaper and more addictive drug methamphetamine which produced a similar high that lasted longer and was cheaper and easier to obtain. Meth continues to plague our great nation, taking it's toll on families because of it's highly addictive properties.

Now I did not decide to write this blog to educate people on substance abuse, rather a much different, yet just as addictive activity as doing drugs. I am referring to the ever popular, cue music; dum dum duuuummm; Facebook.
Yes my friends Facebook has now become the crack and meth of this generation. I speak of this through my own experience and the experiences of those around me. They know who they are. Just like a meth user can spot another meth user from a mile away, so too can the Facebook addict, affectionately called amongst it's constituents as "Crackbook". Add to it the fact that if you own a "Crackberry" device, you can access your Crackbook account any place any time with the push of a button. This becomes one powerful speedball that will keep you coming back time and time again.

Crackbook has penetrated deep into the nooks and crannies of urban as well as suburban, hell, even rural areas of the world. This is a pandemic unequaled by any other plague in history. An unstoppable force that just keeps growing and dragging unwitting victims into the depths of addiction with no respite. It has no discretion as to age, sex, socioeconomic status. It preys on any and all who heed it's call to "reconnect" with old friends and acquaintances. Social networkers looking to in turn prey upon the imprisoned masses looking for the next high, have found this forum to be highly lucrative and an excellent platform to gain their own real world riches. Like big tobacco, disregarding the harmful effects of their products, only seeking to gain from the misfortune of those gullible enough to take that first puff, that first hit.

Become a mob boss, a gangster. Accumulate untold wealth in a world of crime and adventure. Taking pleasure from the notion that you just whacked another mobster and gained more power and status. Prefer a slower paced life? Become a farmer, planting crops, harvesting them and selling them for a small profit just so you can get your next fix of whatever fruit or vegetable you can afford to plant. Don't have enough money? Go to the market and whore yourself out like the crack whores of old, begging for the job that will allow you to satiate your craving for more land, bigger homes, and infamy; as people praise what you have built as a Farm Empire from just a few patches of potatoes.

Crackbook has caused great minds such as myself to actually calculate whether it was more profitable to plant carrots vs. pumpkins. Even as I write this I am a slave to this cyberspace master, being beckoned by a friend to come harvest their crops for them. I can't say no, and quite frankly I don't know that I want to.

You see people get addicted to things because they receive some benefits from the addiction, although in the end it most usually ends poorly. Me, I just earned several thousands of dollars in a very short period of time. Like Pavlov's dogs, a bell rings, they get fed, they eventually learn to salivate at the sound of a bell. For the Crackbook addict as in real life, the pursuit of possessions helps feed the monster, I want that Farm Town Mansion, and I won't stop until I obtain the elusive prize. What then? Who can say for sure. One thing is for certain, you can find me on the Crackbook most everyday, searching for that elusive high, that next hit of whatever it may be to keep me coming back for more and more.

Monday, August 3, 2009

One for the ages

I have to confess that I have been guilty of a heinous crime against well, myself. For the last lets say 5 or so years I have been professing that I am a fat, old, man. Perhaps it was turning 40, perhaps it was the seemingly never ending travail of aches and pains that have assaulted me more frequently, regardless, I felt old.
I say it all the time. I'm old. My beard is salt and pepper....more salt than pepper. My hair has shades of silver throughout, of course at least I still have a full head of hair. I have started to require reading glasses to read, I can't even see the date on my watch without them. Let's face it, I have reason to say that I am old.

The cherry on top of this proverbial sundae we call life came a week and a half ago when I started noticing that my heartbeat was extremely accelerated. I was helping a good friend install some sod at his home and I'll be damned if I was getting outdone by his wife which again made me feel ancient. She was hauling that sod around like it was some rag doll she was carrying around, meanwhile I would lift one piece and about pass out from exertion.

My feelings of inadequacy continued to worsen. My friends gave me their left over sod, enough to do our front yard, all I had to do was till up the weeds, rake it out, and haul the sod from his house to mine. I was on a tight time line as the temperature was in the 100's and the sod was going to die if we didn't get it down quickly. So here is the kicker, I ask my father, a 70 year old man, to come help me out since he has a big truck, and wouldn't you know it, the old man out did me as well. This is the man that had a heart attack 5 or so years ago and he is kicking my ass up and down the front yard. Granted my heart beat was going nuts and it was 107 degrees outside, and I had been working the whole day before, but still, embarrassing none the less. I am happy to say we got it all done and neither of us died, but I sure felt like I was going to.

So the next day I am taking it easy, feeling sorry for myself and much older than the 44 years that I have been in existence, and notice my heart racing, despite doing absolutely nothing. My wife takes my pulse and it hits 120 beats a minute. Resting heart rate should be in the 70's and mine is nearly double that. I make a determination that despite how much I hate going to the doctor, this seemed serious enough for me to consent to getting things checked out.

This happened over the weekend, fast forward to mid week. My doc sends me to a cardiologist to get a Holter Monitor which is a bunch of electrodes that will measure your heart activity over a 24 hour period, as the EKG he had done didn't show anything abnormal. So I am sitting in the waiting room at this cardiologist's office and begin to look around the room. Something just seemed out of place there, and that something was me. I glanced at the faces of the clientele in the office and noticed that I was surrounded by a room full of overweight septa-, and octogenarian men. No women, no middle aged men, just men that appeared to be much older than I.
It was like I had been awaken by the ghost of Christmas Future and he was showing me what my life was going to be like. I was in a circle of waiting room chairs, a kind of intimate setting really, surrounded by four other men, some with their wives some with their daughters who by appearance seemed to be older than me, but all these men were significantly older than myself. This experience was surreal to me. I sat there nodding as I listened to their conversations with each other, talking about what procedure they had done or were about to be getting done. Occasionally I would drop a witty quip so as to feel as if I were part of the discussion, however it opened my eyes to just how NOT old I really am.

People always point to life altering experiences and say how they are going to change or how it has actually changed their life. I have had a few in mine, but none that had this kind of impact on me. Have I run out and changed my eating habits, or even run anywhere in a feeble attempt to exercise? No. Do I believe that I will? At the moment I say yes, but the reality of it all is, I haven't made any attempts thus far so who knows. The main thing I will take from this is that I am indeed not old. I have only lived maybe half of my life. They say how old you are is a function of how old you think that you are. Chronologically I am 44 years old, mentally I have been acting like I am 70. That is what I can change. That is what I will change. Baby steps to the door, baby steps to the elevator, before you know it I could be tied the the mast of a sail boat exclaiming that "I'm sailing" just like Bob!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Employ Me

Unemployment rates are on the rise in the United States and are the highest they have been in several years. Yours truly is counted amongst the not so elite company of the nation’s jobless community. My unfortunate inclusion with this group is not a result of layoffs due the current economic climate, although I suspect that could have played a part in the big scheme of things. Rather it was a premature, hasty, decision on my part to resign from my post due to circumstances that I will not relate here, as they are not particularly relevant to what I am trying to say in this piece. The point is that I am unemployed and currently seeking to become employed again.

I have been extremely blessed throughout my life as to not have had to work hard to get a job, and when I obtained employment I made damn sure to do the job well so I could maintain my status as employed. I have had three “real” jobs in my adult life; with some variations on the job it’s self. Throw out the fact that I did a tour of duty at the Sizzler starting out as a bus boy and within two months promoted to cook because I worked hard and took an interest in learning more about things. I stayed at the “Sizz” for 6 months before my mother pulled some strings to get me hired on with a residential treatment facility for adolescent females whose parents had a lot of money that they could throw at their problems. I worked as a maintenance man for the facility, fixing holes in walls, replacing light bulbs, that sort of menial labor. Thanks to my father, I was fairly handy which is not only a blessing but also a curse, but that is another piece for another time. This job quickly turned into a better job as a night watch counselor for a new adolescent boys program that they were starting up. I stayed with this job for 6 years before leaving it for a brief stint managing a pet store, which failed miserably.

Subsequently a friend put me onto a job working again, with adolescents, and it appeared to me that I had a calling to work with teenagers, which led me to obtain an education in Psychology to further my career goals. I stayed with this company for 7 years, through three different acquisitions by bigger corporations, and managed to not only maintain employment but also climb the career ladder.

Finally, as I could sense the changes coming in the air, I made a leap of desperation to work for the State of Utah. I took a big pay cut to make this change but it was better than the alternative, which was reveled to be the ultimate demise of this company. This would surely have led to my being unemployed for the first time since I was a young man, however it did not and I continued my status as an employed individual.

I worked for the State for nearly 10 years, which brings me to the aforementioned status of my unemployment. I gave you this history to help you understand my current plight, which has now opened my eyes to a world that heretofore I fortunately have not been a part. Being unemployed is hard work. Starting over, having no income, these things are difficult and I wish them on no one, well maybe someone but that again is another tale for another time.

The government has passed bills to funnel money back into the economy, giving it to huge corporations, under the premise that this would in turn help maintain and even “create” more jobs thus stimulating the economy, putting it back on whatever the metaphorical track it was or is supposed to be on, dependent on your views. Sure these things take time, it is a huge train to move, I get it believe me, I worked in a bureaucracy. My question is this…Where’s the benefit to the little guy? Meanwhile these big companies got all of this money while me along with hundreds of thousands of others are still unemployed standing here waiting for this to “trickle down” to the people.

I don’t presume to sit here at my desk and begin to imply that I am an expert on the economy; hell I can’t even manage my own finances. No, this is about the fact that it seems to me that the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. I don’t care if you are Democrat, Republican, or adhere to some other ideology, the fact of the matter is this, I have no job and not a dime of that money has funneled down to little ol’ me. And the thing that really chaps my hide is that I am still paying for that expenditure through the taxes I have paid and will pay through my wife’s income. Where’s mine Mr. President? Where’s mine Senator, Congressperson? Where the Eff is mine?

I just want a job people. I am a hard worker; I can do pretty much anything that is thrown my way, ok not anything because I can’t do math! I keep submitting my resume and keep getting told that I am not qualified. Give me a friggin’ break here. I guarantee that I could do the job as good as, if not better, than any other chump who happens to have had a job doing customer service or in retail for a year and therefore have the experience that you are looking for in a new hire.

So I say to my fellow Americans, who are out there treading water trying to keep their heads above the onslaught of economic despair, I empathize, I couldn’t say that before, but I can today. Keep the faith, here’s hoping that we get that life preserver thrown to us soon. Meanwhile I had better go get these resume's posted and dropped off to perspective employers so that I can get turned down some more. I sure wish my house would sell so I could get moved over to Hawaii and at least be poor and unemployed in paradise, but that too is another story for another time!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Man in the Mirror

The self proclaimed "King of Pop", Michael Joseph Jackson, is dead. A week later the frenzy over his death continues, and not unlike his predecessor and former ghostly father in law, Elvis "The King of Rock" Presley, the frenzy will undoubtedly continue on for the rest of my lifetime in one form or another.

Like the rest of the world, I too was a fan of Michael and mourn his passing as not only sad but tragic. Taken before his time, 50 years of age, just as he was about to launch his highly anticipated ascension to the throne. This would be the Michael that the world wanted to remember, the man who changed the face of the music world, not the altered face of his human form, going out with a blaze of glory, back on top.

However there is a part of me that wonders if perhaps he isn't in a better place now. I look at Michael in a way that I believe his millions of adoring fans did not see him. I have ruminated over his death now for a week as I have watched the countless reports on his life and people making feeble attempts at tying themselves to his legacy in one way or another. This is the same man who was vilified for being an accused child molester by the same media machine that is now trying to cover his passing as if it has affected them personally.

I didn't know Michael personally, didn't know anyone who did know him. I never saw him in concert, have a few of his albums, but not all, yet I like to think I had an understanding of this man. I appreciated Michael for the musical genius he was, but with genius comes a price. Michael was different than most of us. As with many who are considered to have genius, they are concurrently just as eccentric as they are brilliant. Michael was no different. Thrust into the spotlight at a young age, Michael became a lost child. Accounts of his childhood tell tales of an allegedly abusive father that most likely had a hand in creating Michael's deficits that were so prevalent as fodder for the media that covered his every move while he matured before the world's eyes. My education and experience in Psychology and Social Work have taught me that an abused child will find a way to cope, however their coping does not always make up for the damage caused from the experiences they have.

The recording industry must have taken it's toll on Michael's psyche as well, perpetuating what was most likely started early on in his life. I have heard many, many so called stars recount their negative experiences with the industry. Imagine being a young man like Michael, thrust out of nowhere onto a world stage, in an industry that demands perfection. His childhood lost, he created a world of his own in which he could revert back to the childhood he so sorely missed out. He built the Neverland Ranch and surrounded himself with children in a mad attempt to reclaim that which was absent from his memories, but still he knew existed for others. He wanted that too, and sought it through means that were considered to be perverse and odd to those on the outside looking in to his world. Like Peter Pan, I suppose he didn't want to grow up because he knew what that was like and it was painful to him.

When Michael looked into his mirror, the man he saw was not the person he wanted to see. Though denying any modifications, the rest of the world watched as he changed right before our eyes. He became what some would say was a hideous looking soul, almost as if he were one of the zombies in his historic Thriller Video. Could his genius been born out of the nightmares that he must have suffered as a child, giving the world an album and video that was truly remarkable?

One can find meaning in anything, and art holds many meanings to those who not only create it, but to those who appreciate the works presented to them. The time I have spent listening to Michael's works of art in the last week have revealed a soul that I believe was not able to find its true Neverland. Michael lived in exile at times, sequestered from the world that once embraced him only to then turn on him like some cobra that has been grabbed by it's tail. One last attempt on his part to recapture the hearts and imagination of the world through a comeback concert ended prematurely. The world has lost a tortured soul, a genius, the likes of which may never surface again. Michael Joseph Jackson is dead, rest in peace. I hope you find your Neverland wherever you land in this universe.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Just Write

I used to hate writing. My earliest recollections of having to write were that it was a requirement for some stodgy old teacher who derived pleasure from the cries and moans of the children in their classes. My guess was that they were into torture, and secretly had a dungeon with a cage and various other implements of pain that they would use on unsuspecting traveling salesmen and small children whose baseballs landed in her yard. I personally never experienced that exact scenario, but I heard the stories.

As I grew I still never really gained an affinity for writing, however I discovered that I wasn't half bad at it. That meant that I was at least half good at it; but I still didn't enjoy it. I recall one assignment that I was given in high school, in fact my mother found it in a box recently, and it was to journal everyday of the quarter. I think of myself as an empathetic person. (Maybe Pres. Obama would appoint me to the Supreme Court?) I suddenly felt the pain of all those tortured traveling salesmen and baseball-less children in a giant cage, being poked at with a stick by a hunchbacked, troll of a man, who was ultimately discovered to be her love child from a one night stand with a aluminum siding salesman, whom she subsequently tortured and devoured like some humanoid black widow. Sorry, I digress.

As I was saying, I had this assignment and I spent every day of the quarter writing about how much I hated writing. I must admit, it was slightly funny, even now I read it and chuckle at my wit. Yet, it had no real substance. It basically went like this... "I hate writing, I hate is so very much. I hate it more than I hate broccoli and I really hate broccoli, that is how much I hate writing." I went on to compare writing to all of the things in my teenage world that I had extreme contempt for, including the teacher. I figured she wouldn't really read them so I tossed in a few jabs at her now and again to see if she was paying attention. She never called me on it so I suspect my postulation was correct.

College wasn't much better, there I had to write research papers and the like. That was boring and pointless as well. Unfortunately I didn't get the luxury of adding insults and witty commentary about my professors and how I thought that perhaps they too had cages and implements of torture that they would use on students who dared to visit them during office hours. Regardless, throughout all of my suffering, I learned and gained a respect for writing.
Fast forward to today. It has been several months now since I have written anything other than a honey do list and maybe a few bad checks. You see, I recently lost my motivation to write due to some, lets just say shit, that gave me a pretty good right hook to the jaw and sent me to my corner to regain my composure. But today, I choose to just write. I don't know how often I will blog, but I have good intentions and hope that this is a new beginning for me. I started on a novel, didn't get very far with it, but I hope that I will get back to work on that as well.

Long story short, I enjoy writing now. I don't have anyone to answer to but myself. I am not being graded, and I do it because I can, not because it is required. I will just write.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow, Snow Go Away

In case anyone cares, I am done with the snow. It can just go away now. Unlike Ice Cube, today is NOT a good day, if I had an AK I would probably be forced to use it. (for you older folk that is in reference to a rap song. An AK is a Russian assault rifle and I could have used one this morning.)
Sure no two snow flakes are exactly alike, but to me they all look the same, they look cold and slippery and I am done. DONE I tell ya!

I am already tired of lame ass people feeling the need to go 20 MPH on the freeway because they are afraid. I get it, your ascared, no worries, but for God's sake get the crap outta my way. And don't take up two lanes, believe me when I say I would shoot you if I had my AK.

AK is also the abbreviation for Alaska, which I blame for this stoopit weather. Not only that, but that Sarah Palin chick (although I gotta admit that it did provide me with lots o' laughs at her expense thanks to Tina Fey!) I am certain they did something else to piss me off, but mainly Alaska is just cold and snowy and they say that this cold weather is coming down from up there, so thanks for that.
So yeah I am done, stick a fork in me.