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photo by Sheri Dixon

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Fable of the Baby Turtle

Once upon a time, a family was out walking in the park. It was a sunny warm day- and the azaleas and wisteria were blooming in reckless abandon in the absolute tidiness of the Japanese Garden.

Rounding a shady bamboo-lined corner, suddenly they were in front of a beautiful pond lined with flowers, burbling from a waterfall, flashing bright orange and white with the koi trolling just under the surface. Turtles of every size bathed in the sunshine draped over logs, rocks, and lily pads.

Just by chance the mother looked down and there at her feet was a baby turtle. It was determinedly traveling in the exact wrong direction and was heading for the shrubberies instead of the water. Gently she picked it up, and noticed how very dry it was- the heat of the sun was making the little shell brittle and the skin on its head and feet was flaking from lack of moisture.

After they carefully examined and admired the tiny reptile, she directed her son to place it into the water, where it paddled off happily.

Offhandedly, the mother said "It better look out or it'll be lunch for a big fish".

This upset the boy, who questioned the wisdom of putting the turtle in the pond if there was a chance for it to be eaten there.

The family sat in the dappled shade of the wisteria trellis and gazed at the fountain in the middle of the pond.

While the safety of the shrubberies was almost certain to be free of large fish to swallow the turtle, the sunshine and heat would've been it's sure undoing- 100% chance of non-survival.

In the water, there was the very real possibility of becoming a dinner item for the koi, or a duck, or even another really big turtle, but the pond is where the turtle belonged, where it was meant to be and what it was adapted for. The only place the turtle had a chance of living at all, was where it MIGHT face danger.

The apparent lack of obvious danger does not make a place safe if you're not meant to live there. Better to find your place in the world and deal with dangers as they come using your innate strengths as protection.

The turtle blink blink blinked, the water cascaded off of its sleek little shell, and it dove under a lily pad.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

When Squeaky Wheels Just Need To Be Discarded

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease", so the saying goes.

Most of the time, I've thought that meant you need to speak up for yourself in a situation where you otherwise wouldn't get noticed, but lately alot of squeaky wheels have emerged on the religious, social and political scene that are getting greased, as in receiving huge chunks of media-time, in ways that (I hope) the majority of the other members are, if not outright embarrassed by, then at least that causes a slight discomfort in their hearts.

When you have to define your stand WITHIN an organization or group in a way that distances you from what the rest of the world sees, it's time to either change the group from within, or get out.

"I attend Tea Party gatherings, BUT the group I'M in doesn't condone violence, bigotry, or any of that mess".

Really? Because from where the rest of us sit, those things DEFINE the Tea Party Movement.

"I'm a Christian and I believe the Bible is the Word of God- the absolute authority and how I run my life. Dinosaurs aren't mentioned in the Bible, so they never existed".

I'm happy for you and respect your beliefs. Of course, computers aren't mentioned in there either, so you'd better log off of your imaginary screen. And please re-read the part about "Judging not lest..." and stop telling everyone not in your congregation that they're headed straight for hell. Especially my 10 year old son.

I was raised Lutheran. I taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and helped with the Christmas pageant every single year.

At some point, after living about 30 years and noticing the world around me, things I was hearing in church just didn't make sense anymore, and I decided that the grownup thing to do was to leave and try to find Truth that made sense to me, that I could embrace and not only live with, but live BY.

Our world is very small- and made smaller by the internet. We now have the ability to see into every nook and cranny of not only the physical planet, but into the very brains of our fellow humans.

The funny thing about humans is that all this knowledge, all these images and words now in front of us at the click of a mouse, are not widening our horizons so much as polarizing our beliefs.

I'm not fond of heights.

Climb me to the top of a 12' ladder and I'm twitchy.

Drive me to a Scenic Overlook in the mountains and I'm immobilized.

Years ago I stood at the rim of the Grand Canyon and peered over the edge.

I was fine.

The Grand Canyon is SO BIG, my tiny human mind couldn't even process the danger and trigger my fear.

This is what's happening today all over the world. People are on their computers, in front of their TV screens and so much is being thrown at their retinas all day, all night, that they're spun into Survival Mode and frantically find something/someone who looks and talks like themselves to latch onto- to steady their brain against the sheer tininess of themselves in the vast sea of humans.

Churches form, political parties rally, social interest groups nebulize. And most of the time, the foundations of all these are good, solid, and reasonably benign.

What happens when small factions 'take over' these groups by being Squeaky Wheels and hogging all the media time? And when the immenseness of the internet and media coverage over-ride your natural inclination to question, to be skeptical, to try to ferret out the truth?

When all you see of Southern Baptists are Klansmen, the world associates the two absolutely.

When all you see of Islam are terrorists flying into buildings, the world associates the two absolutely.

When all you see of Tea Parties are racial posters and calls to violence, the world associates the two absolutely.

Most Southern Baptists are not racists.
Most Muslims are not terrorists.
Most Tea Party members are not violent wackjobs.

Most people are good. I believe that with all my heart. Violence and hatred are not natural to humankind without some sort of "leadership" involvement.

No matter our common belief that every soul is as unique as each and every snowflake, and every person as special as Christmas- humans are herd animals that make wildebeests and lemmings look like rugged individualists.

So the challenge now, at this moment in history, is to take a stand.

Stop having to apologize for members of your chosen peer group. To say "Oh, those are a fringe of our (religion, party, group, nationality)- most of us don't believe that" is to condone what the fringe is doing.

Guilty by association.

Now is the time, and the place, to stand up for crazy things like honesty and integrity, and to fight for all the things humans have the capability to be.

Not via armed battle- two wrongs still don't make a right- but by standing tall and squeaking with all our might so the rest of the world can see that a majority of people are not insane frothing rabid lunatics- and backing that up by getting them OUT of our circles.

Let the insane frothing rabid lunatics trying to overtake every segment of our society get their own clubhouses instead of piggybacking off of and claiming entire groups that flat do not support them.

If the Sane Majority takes a stand and ejects them, the Vocal Minorities will be shown for what they are- small, vulnerable and insignificant- snails without shells.

Slugs.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Being Prepared- It Wasn't Always Just the Domain of Leftwing Treehuggers and Rightwing Nutjobs

Remember your parents and grandparents advice to always have something set aside for a rainy day? That your passbook savings account should have at least a few months' worth of money in it to tide you over from some unforeseen event?

I was thinking about that the other day while watching a news show. The commentators were poking fun at Glenn Beck (hard target, hey?) and his pushing of the purchase of gold to his masses of followers.

Now, I'm not a follower of Glenn, in fact, I've been known to leave not only the room, but the entire building if he's on the screen- nothing personal, Glenn, but the sound of your voice makes me want to vomit, the sight of your face all scrunched up in patriotic fervor/fear brings out a physically violent side I never thought I had, and your lines of thought seem to be, well, not really lines at all- just some random dots here and there that aren't even factual most of the time- all pulled together and loosely knotted up like a hairball- just because you have a chalkboard doesn't mean you're making any damn sense at all.

Anyhoo. The show I was listening to was Morning Joe on MSNBC, a show I'm not that fond of, but the TV was still on from the night before and our actual favorite shows- Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. The Morning Joe crowd was saying that Glenn must've depleted his audience as far as gold sales and was now moving on to...

...Survival Seeds.

I've seen the Survival Seed guy's website and he seems to be marketing to folks who've never done any gardening, but playing on fear of the future- like the gold guys. He sells huge amounts of seeds for even huger amounts of money all packaged up and hermetically sealed for use WTSHTF. While having seeds to plant and growing your own food is something I think is an excellent idea, the purchase of these Survival Kits lack in some fundamental ways. For instance-

-are the crops something that will grow in your area?
-are they something your family will even EAT?
-if TSHTF for real, will those planting these seeds be able to water and tend them, and will they survive the 45-120 days for their crops to mature?

A much more prudent option to me would be to start now, or continue if you're already gardening, and become adept at growing foods your family will eat- not hoard Survival Seeds and sit on them like Jack's Magic Beans.

So, the Morning Joe crew was making fun of the Survival Seeds- apparently Glenn and the Survival Seed Guy were even saying how, along with your already purchased hunks o' gold, seeds will become barter items in our dark future.

And here's what chapped my hiney- they went on laughingly about the possibility of some Event that would render it necessary for us all to go (imagine air quotes by the commentators) "Off Grid".

Just like that- with arrogant derisive air quotes.

Off Grid.

Now, I'm not a (total) treehuggin' liberal, nor am I a doomsday Mad Max is coming survivalist. But to me, the ability to go "Off Grid" is something we all need to be able to do, if even for a few days.

We recently had a snow storm here in Texas. An unusual event, and one that downed alot of power lines. My family has oil lamps, lots of oil, 2 fireplaces, a wood burning cookstove, and food in the house- not enough for YEARS, but enough for weeks of eating well, and non-perishable staples for a few months. We have a water filter that makes almost any water- even dipped straight out of Spring Peeper Pond, potable.
I can do laundry by hand, and we use a clothes line.

We were OK.

Here's what I'd like folks to think about- being prepared is not having a credit card that's not maxed out. It's not living close to a grocery store. It's not having a penlight attached to your keychain.

Every person, every family, every home should have the ability to take care of itself- warmth, food, water, light- for at least a week.

We aren't too many generations away from not having everything we want when we want it, and all the gasoline, electricity, public services, transportation systems are really very fragile and easily interrupted.

Most of the things we take for granted are really luxuries and it's only been recently in our history as humans that we've come to see it all as permanent, solid and what we need to have to live- not just comfortably, but at all.

We're coming on springtime- get a garden going- even a tiny one, and grow easy things that your family likes- tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers. Do the spring cleaning, have a garage sale and buy non-electric things- not from the schmancy survival or off-grid places, but from the camping departments of the store- coffee pots, camp stoves, small propane tanks, lanterns.

Make sure you have a basic first aid kit- they sell pre-made ones for under $20 if you have no idea of what you may need.

Start a savings account at your locally owned bank- get to know your local merchants on a first name basis.

Be Prepared.

Not because Glenn Beck told you to, or because all those crazy Peak Oil/Climate Change weirdos told you to, and for sure not because some Crazy Lady on the Interwebs said so

But because it will make Grandma proud.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Transcript: First Meeting of T-BAD (Take Back America, Dammit)

(room filled to overflowing with angry Americans)

(leader walks to front of room and steps to the podium)

"My fellow Americans- this is a dark time for our country. We come together today- Republicans, Democrats, Independents from all walks of life- drawn together by our horror of what's been happening to our country, and our terrible trepidation of what the signing of this "health reform bill" will mean to life as we know it. We want one thing only- for the government to say OUT OF OUR HOMES (riotous cheers), OUT OF OUR POCKETS (wild screams of approval) and most of all OUT OF OUR LIVES AND HOW WE MAY CHOOSE TO LIVE THEM" (thunderous applause)

"Did any of us ASK for the Government to be our baby-sitters?" (HELL,NO!)
"Do any of us WANT any Government handouts?" (HELL,NO!!)

"ARE WE MAD AS HELL?" (resounding YES from all)

"ARE WE GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE??" (earth-shattering NO from same)

"WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO???" (as one voice- "TAKE BACK AMERICA- DAMMIT")

(full five minutes before the room is once again quiet enough to continue)

"I can see we're all agreed here- every one of us a rugged individual- proud of our ability to care for ourselves and those around us and needing NOTHING from some Government-spawned noose-around-our-necks "social programs"- thinly veiled traps to lull us into complacency before snuffing out the last vestiges of FREEDOM and plunge us en masse back into the very pit of bondage our Founding Fathers bled and died to save us from".

(sustained combination of outrage, jeers and cheers)

"Before we really begin, I just want to be sure everyone here is truly in the right place- strong enough and tough enough for this challenge. And please, when leaving tonight, take a copy of the handouts on the table by the door. Now-"

"Anyone here who are themselves or who has a family member who receives Social Security- either in the form of disability or retirement- please leave. The Social Security system was a total bastard spawned by evil Socialists. Ronald Reagan said so".

(sound of a great many people leaving the room)

"Anyone who has ever taken their children to a public clinic for vaccinations, received AFDC food, cashed an unemployment check or FOR SURE ever used food stamps- please leave. These programs encourage people to stay dependent on Uncle Sam when they should be getting out and working like the rest of us worthy Americans".

(many feet shuffling out the door)

"Public schools- those liberal-run dens of Communist iniquity- NO ONE here condones, much less uses these tools of Satan, do they?"

(lots of people head for the door- including many small feet who were brought here by their parents to see How Democracy Works)

"All our Veterans here- you are our Pride, our Heroes- you know more than anyone how precious Freedom is and how the Government screws up everything it touches- making any government-run program a complete boondoggle. You know firsthand the shoddy care you receive at the VA clinics and hospitals, right? I mean, they're there, but I know you'd never in a million years USE them- you're too proud and independent for that".

(the room begins to have a hollow empty feel to it)

"And finally, although we here- those of us left, anyway- are the lifeblood of the American Dream, we remember that our great Nation, and most of ourselves by our very family trees, are Melting Pots of all the nationalities and races of the world- and we celebrate the strength that comes from that and will not tolerate any sort of bigotry or prejudice. We renounce any persons or groups who condone such behavior and agree that even to turn the other way, or 'let slide' such behavior from others is to do our great country a grave dis-service".

(the silence in the room is deafening)

"Hello? Hello?"

(smiles, turns out the light and closes the door behind her)

"I thought so."

One lone flier remains on the table-

Dear Fellow American,
I apologize for Going All Tea Party on your ass, but you weren't listening to anything else and things are really getting out of hand.

If you are reading this, you have left the room because you have benefited from some social service program that our country offers- and each and every one was hard-won and hotly contested at the time they were enacted.

I AM a proud American, and that to me, means loving and caring for the heart of America- its people.

While I worked 2 jobs to afford surgery for my home-schooled little boy because we couldn't afford insurance and didn't qualify for aid, I paid for your AFDC, public schools and Medicaid to help you through hard times.

While my husband worked at a horrible job all through cancer treatments and surgeries just to keep his insurance, he paid for your Medicare, unemployment and Veterans' services.

Did we ever once resent one penny of that even though we ourselves struggled?
No.
Not even for an instant.
Ever.

You're welcome.

The Health Care Reform bill that just passed is not perfect, but it goes a long way towards making our civilization more civil. It's not the end of the world, it's not a signal that the End Times are upon us, and what I DO resent is the uncivil and hateful way its opponents are behaving.

Revamping our health system will be a work in progress and can be fine-tuned as needed. How can you believe "leaders" who tell you "This will destroy America- there will be no going back once it's signed" in one breath and "This isn't over yet- we CAN still repeal it" in the next?

How can you admire those who scream that the entire thing needs to be scrapped and started over line by line? Where the hell WERE they this whole last year?

Give it a chance. See what happens. Because the way you are currently behaving is embarrassing, unseemly, and infantile.

And MY vision of America is none of those.

Thank you for your time.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fwd:Fwd:Fwd:EVERY AMERICAN NEEDS TO KNOW THIS

Dear (Huge block of names and email addresses I've never heard of and one at the very tippy top who I think I recognize),

Thank you for caring about me so much that you have added me to your blindly-generated email list of people you consider your closest of friends.

Unfortunately, you don't know me well enough to understand that my political views and yours are wildly different. Wildly. Different.

Maybe you do know that and are just trying, tenderly and lovingly, to bring me around to the Right way of thinking (pun intended- although there's no emoticon or LOL after it to assure you understand that).

My views are such that I respect yours. I will not call you a small-minded, ignorant, dangerous puppet of the Machine. Please refrain from calling me or anyone who thinks like me a commie, socialist, America-hating abomination. (And if you do- please take note of the spelling of "abomination").

I believe in your right to your own beliefs- political or religious. Please do the same.

I believe that what I believe in is what's best for my own family and the direction I'd like to see America (a country I'm actually very fond of) travel in- both for our citizens, and for our place as a member of the planet- one of many members, also known as "countries" or "nations" who are all really actual places with their own to-be-respected beliefs and dreams, not just little islands of putty full of throngs of people breathlessly and eagerly waiting for the day when they can be just like US (again- pun in the capitalization intended).

But here's the thing.

While I respect your right to believe what you like, I must make one request.

Just one.

Before you forward anything- to me, or anyone else- take FIVE MINUTES and check to be sure that what you are forwarding is true. Don't assume it is because it's

"been around the globe 3 times- don't stop it now"
"comes from (fill in the name of any organization or group or government department)"
"as seen on TV or website"

Actually, now it may take seven or eight minutes to verify the truth of something, since people are getting wise to the fact that it's very easy to go to Snopes and find out if what's being forwarded is true, or a steaming pile of shit.

I received an email last week that had had the Snopes logo pasted at the top, with a link posted that had the word "snopes" in it.

The link did NOT go to Snopes but directly to a racially charged site. Lovely.
A direct trip and search to Snopes did show that the original tidbit was true, but the email had "cut and pasted from Snopes" and then totally corrupted what followed- not surprisingly in a way that lined it up with the hateful message in the racially charged website.

If what you send me (and 1,000 of your other closest friends) is true- and you verify that, I'll be happy to look at it.

If you are passing on hate-mongering, fear-inducing bullshit, I'm going to have to assume you are a small-minded, ignorant, dangerous puppet of the Machine.

Have a nice day, may the god of your choice bless you and keep you, be proud to be an American, and go kiss your kids and dogs.

(smiley face, hearts, flowers, thumbs up)

sheri

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Insurance Companies Are Not the Bad Guys

Wow. Did I just type that?

Yes. Yes I did.

Aren't I the one who rails about the complete rat bastard insurance companies taking everyone's money with one hand while denying coverage, care and any service they can with the other?

Why, yes. That would be me.

So what's up with the above statement? Brain damage? Brain aneurysm?? Brain WASHING???

Nope. Just stating a fact.

And here's why.

Insurance companies, as much as they'd like you to think they are "With you for the journey" (the word "journey" is one of the most over-used and over-abused words right now- seems like every time someone changes jobs, partners, hell- goes to the bathroom they are undertaking the "next step of a journey") are really not there to take care of us and our families.

They are businesses, and their job is to make money for the owners.

In any business,to be successful, you provide decent products or services while spending the least amount of your own money. The more money you can avoid spending while still maintaining a modicum of quality, the better.

Although I'm sure that just working for an insurance company in the claims/customer service/dispute departments makes people jaded, callous, or truly sociopathic, I'm pretty sure they don't start out that way, and I know the burn-out rate is tremendous.

They are just doing their jobs- and outstandingly well- if they deny more coverage than they approve.

Contrary to what our Supreme Court recently ruled, corporations are NOT individuals- and the "bottom line" rules of running a successful business of this nature- taking peoples' money in with the promise of 'probably' helping them when they need services, then finding any way possible to deny that expenditure- will run counter to the rules of being a compassionate human being, but look absolutely stellar on the spread sheets.

Using that frame of mind, I can honestly say "Bravo insurance companies- you are doing a bang-up job and are truly one of the most successful stories in American Health Care".

So to all those people who scream "Government has no business running health care", I'd like to ask you, really, why not?

Our government, as I understand it- by the people, of the people, for the people- is supposed to loosely bind the states together and offer the security of safety within our borders by a standing military and local/state law officers. There is a national system for transportation systems and upkeep. There are social programs to assist the poor, disabled, young and old. We have a postal service. There is an education system.

For all of these services (and I'm sure I missed a few) we pay taxes. Most of the time happily. Because they help provide us with some very basic human needs- safe food, safe homes and neighborhoods, institutions of learning, communication via the mailman, roads to travel on, help for those in need.

Something's missing...oh yeah. HEALTH CARE.

Being able to receive good, quality health care both in need and preventively for ALL Americans.

"Good Gawd that'll break the bank!" holler the opponents, but see? It won't.

What are we already paying in premiums? Just my household pays $775 per month- $100 for Medicare that comes out of Ward's disability check,$160 in supplemental insurance to cover what Medicare doesn't, $126 for Alec and $389 for me.

We're paying out $9,300 yearly in premiums- wait- if we USE our health care system there are $4,618 in deductibles to be paid, we won't count co-pays for doctor visits, etc...So, if we were all three of us needing hospitalization or testing or something that'd total $13,918 for the year.

Our gross income is about $52,000. So we're already paying out 18% for premiums only.

Therefore, I say "Please- institute Universal Government Health Care and tax me 15% to get it. MY family will be ahead of the game just to be healthy- if we actually need to be hospitalized, we'll make out like bandits".

Because right now, the only ones making out like bandits are the insurance companies- not because they're nefarious minions of Satan (although that's a fun image), but because it's not their business to care for the citizens of this country- it's their business to be profitable, and that means taking in way more premiums than paying out in claims.

That's why the one place health care should NOT be primarily supplied is from the private sector of a capitalistic society, or we'll end up where we are.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Illegal Aliens are Breaking the Backs of America's Hospitals

Sorry. Let me amend that. It's not ONLY Illegal Aliens (of course for clarification, we need to have a tacit understanding that by "Illegal Aliens" I am talking about those shifty Mexicans who take the easy ride across our border for a life of pure joy picking our strawberries and manicuring our lawns).

Also to blame are those Crackheads and Welfare Mamas.

Here's the basic Myth, as forwarded ad nauseum throughout the interwebs-

*and it's a well-known fact that if an email is forwarded one million times it ceases being a mere puppet and becomes a REAL BOY...

Illegal Aliens are sucking our hospitals dry. They trip lightly across the Rio Grande, have the extreme selfishness to get caught up in some sort of agricultural implement and/or heavy construction equipment while supplying our citizens with food, roads and buildings, and then lie in a vegetative state racking up MILLIONS of dollars of bills- astronomical amounts that are then passed on to us hardworking Americans (always with a Capital A) in the form of higher health care costs.

In fact- while these lazy Mexicans are lie-about in our hospitals, Grandma and Grandpa can't afford their meds- because our country is too busy taking care of the Illegal Aliens. "Shush now", says our government, "Don't disturb this wonderful Mexican with your pain- go eat some cat food and be sick somewhere else".

Are hospital costs going up? Yes, of course. Costs are rising everywhere.
Are many hospitals on the verge of bankruptcy? Yes.
Is it the Illegal Aliens' fault? Ummm.....no.

Let me relay a little story.

Just by chance, both my husband and I had to undergo surgery within a month of each other about eight years ago.
We were both insured- but by different insurance companies.
We went to the same hospital for our procedures.

Here's how the charges played out, as shown on the bills that we received.
Because in our country, even if you have insurance and pay your premiums for years without incident, you must still shoulder your "fair share" of the bill.

Husband- Heart surgery. Hospitalized 10 days.
Total bill $100,000
Insurance paid $9,995
Our portion- payable upon receipt $1,314
Discount/write-off by hospital because patient was insured $88,691

Me- abdominal surgery. Hospitalized for 3 days.
Total bill $35,000
Insurance paid $9,995
Our portion- payable upon receipt $1,314
Discount/write-off by hospital because patient was insured $23,691

Really. No shit.

Our first thought was "Thank god we have insurance". And I didn't think much beyond that for a while. Because when you are personally in crisis, that's what you do- think only as far and as deep as you must.

But here's the thing.

The hospitals were paid $11,309 for each procedure. That's it.
My husband and I have been paying premiums of about $200 per month each for all our adult lives. I can't even pick up the calculator to see how that plays out. I'm pretty sure it's heavily stacked on the insurance company's side.

I understand, being a clinic manager myself, and being the one ordering supplies, paying the bills, and overseeing the billing amounts, that one important thing to remember when listening to whatever talking head is screaming about the ginormous bills being racked up by these poor (I mean evil) patients (usually lying in a comatose state without friends or family around to mess up the room and not really causing anyone any problems) is that

Bill amount does NOT = Cost

Read that again. So if we HEAR "Jose's bill totals 1.2 million dollars", the actual hospital cost, while still substantial, is NOT 1.2 million dollars.

But I also know full well that the salaries, overhead, equipment, drugs, etc. to perform the types of surgery my husband and I had cost well more than $11,309.

So, what gives?

What happens is, the insurance company comes to a hospital and says "We bring you a huge pool of patients. We will pay you $9,995 for any surgical procedure and you will be happy to get it because we wield enormous powers in high places. Good luck cutting corners to make it all work".

At the same time, they are telling the doctors "We bring you a huge pool of patients. Some of them will be unhappy with the outcome of your care, so we must charge you huge amounts of money for mal-practice insurance. Oh. And we'll only be paying you a smidgeon of your bill amount for all these patients. If you refuse to take it, you will lose alot of business because we are huge and powerful and pay for snazzy TV commercials telling people how much we care".

Meanwhile, back on the home front- the insurance company sends out letters to the insureds that say "Thank you for being an important member of our huge pool of patients. Unfortunately, because of the rising cost of health care, your premium must go up. Alot. Of course, this will only bring you better and better health care. As long as you never ask to use it. If you do that, we'll be doing our level best to find a way to regrettably deny that care".

Brilliant. If you are a fan of Dark Humor and Evil Genius.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Take Your Pill, Johnny- Mommy's Taking Fluffy to the Therapist...

I've had animals all my life. I love them, feed them, care for them, and consider them valuable members of my family. Not HUMAN members, but family all the same.

And lately I've noticed the huge influx of TV shows, books, all-around experts out there giving advice on how to relate to our animal friends. From the Horse Whisperer to pet psychics to Caesar the dog therapist, we're told that there are No Bad Dogs, No Bad Horses, No Bad Animals of any kind.

If an animal misbehaves, WE need to figure out if what we are asking it to do or conform to is appropriate for that species. If it is, WE need to change the environment or our way of communication with that animal so the behavior is changed without force or coercion. If we are expecting something from that creature that it's not mentally or physically equipped to do, then WE need to change/lower our standards of what to expect from our owner/pet relationship with that critter.

If anyone suggested that we use chemical intervention to get the animal to behave the way we'd like them to, there would be screams of Animal Cruelty and we'd be accused of treating another living soul as mere property and decoration to be bent and formed according to our own narrow desires.

However

We currently have entire school populations of children who line up at the nurses' office every day to take their Ritalin.

I'm not saying there aren't children who really need what Ritalin's got. There are.

I contend, though, that the great majority of children we currently medicate into intellectual submission could be better served if we looked at the same things the Horse Whisperer does.

Are their lives arranged to give them plenty of free time?- and that's NOT time in front of a screen of some sort. Children, like puppies, need alot of time to just run their little legs off, dig holes and smell the earth, feel the sun on their fur, stuff that has nothing to to with organized sports or staying clean.

Are they challenged at school?- or are they tossed in the mix and told to sit still and wait their turn all day long? On the one hand, our TV culture has given us children who flat can't concentrate longer than one commercial break to the next. On the other hand, 1 teacher to 20 students cannot possibly give the luxury of alot of one on one time, or time to delve into any subject too deeply. Is that a natural, fulfilling environment for our children? or are they so fragmented by the many other pupils and the school schedule that they're simultaneously bored silly and distracted beyond concentration?


What kind of a Society do we have when we take our pets' mental health more seriously than our children's?
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