Saturday, May 31, 2008


A few notes from yesterday...

But first, this morning, there's a marvelous picture of the Karmapa tasting his first cup of coffee on Chaplain Danny's blog, but the pic I like best is a portrait from the Boulder visit to Naropa U:

It makes me wonder about the quality we think of as "promise." When we look at someone and see something in them like kindness or intelligence (or impatience, yo!), it's not easy to say what exactly we see with our eyes that amounts to that impression. And here we have someone who consistently in photos I've seen, my impression is of so much promise. There is potential here that will be achieved. I could not break down, though, what particulars give me that impression. Monet could make waterlilies from snippets of color arranged just so. What has the Karmapa arranged just so to give this impression of promise, or he is not the arranger, just the medium, like the canvas dotted to reflect the waterlilies?

OK, and the oddities from yesterday, which aren't nearly as interesting:

There's this kid named Jesus, good looking young man, at the QuikLube, let me in within minutes of closing and then took on extra work above and beyond the oil change to keep my car running well this Summer (it was burning oil, ick). So it's not until Jesus asks me again if I'm "Buddha", do I worship Buddha -- because of the mala and the thing Khenpo-la gave me last year with Garchen on one side and Yama on the other, that he told me to hang from my rear-view mirror, so I did -- that's when I remember this kid Jesus has changed my oil before and asked me more or less the same thing. And this time he adds, so what do you do, do you worship that fat-bellied guy. So last time I just said um, yeah, but this time I tried to explain that practice is really more about improving qualities in oneself, and he said something quick about maybe being able to get into that, but immediately went to check under the hood again, so I didn't really have an opportunity to tell him where the center is or invite him or anything, but since he's noticed and commented on this twice now, maybe he's sincerely interested and maybe I should encourage him somehow. In two months when my car needs an oil change again, right? These things happen to me sometimes, where I notice too late that I might have helped someone if I'd been more alert to the possibility. I hate when that happens, but I suppose it's motivation to practice more, to be more alert.

The other thing just makes me feel silly: I get 3 DVD's at Blockbuster last night, Juno, The Savages, and 27 Dresses, thinking I've got a selection that's a range from fluff to seriousness for Mom & I to choose from, and she says OK for Juno and in it goes and the previews start, and the exact two previews before Juno are for 27 Dresses and The Savages. So it hits me, I'm a fricking target demographic! Not only has it been anticipated somewhere in marketing-land that someone who'd pick Juno would also pick The Savages and 27 Dresses, I've been able to remain brand-loyal myself even without the marketing messages. Wah! I'm a well-trained consumer.

On the plus side, Max called to remind me we're going to see Bill Kirchen next weekend. :) I told him I'd tell him where this new blog is when he delivered me some of his homebrew. He called that "blackmail," but to my mind it's more quid pro quo. (Granted, the homebrew's almost sure to be better than the blog. ;)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Things that make me go Hmm and other cliches

Since it turns out to be free and I've got way too much time on my hands that I'm not using for anything productive anyway (like stripping that wallpaper in the bathroom after how many years or fixing the deck light or staining the trim in the bathroom or hey, how about getting a job), I thought I'd start a blog.

Classic avoidance, right? My time would be better spent meditating on the four thoughts that turn the mind to dharma, and I know this, and yet here I am anyway.

OK, so I think my rant of the day and the auspcious inaugural rant, even, will be about the lack of recognition of universal access to healthcare as a public health matter, rather than just a healthcare financing issue. The Kaiser Weekly Health Policy report referenced a study about the health of children in various states being linked to their health insurance coverage. Turns out, children are healthier when they have health insurance coverage. I know this is one of those "duh" studies, but I am glad that someone is doing the research, since it's apparently necessary to validate the duh with numbers to get better healthcare access for the nation's children. And wow, guess what, when children are provided with healthcare insurance coverage so that they have access to healthcare, the per-child healthcare expense increases. (You know, like it costs more to feed them when you actually feed them rather than let them starve.)

I don't know how much political will it's going to take to get universal healthcare coverage in this country. There's just so much money being made from selling band-aids to people who can afford them, while the general health of the population continues to decline and the costs of that are spread out and subsidized in a way that makes it difficult to show how cost savings from having healthier people could be used to provide universal access to healthcare.

Goal 2 of Healthy People 2010 is to "eliminate health disparities". That's just not going to happen while 15% of the population has no health insurance. (I'm in the 15% right now, although fortunately and thanks to her father's state job and more stable work history, Angelina is covered.)

So one of my goals for this blog will be to gather information about how a shift in healthcare from for-profit-grab-fest to public health matter might become a reality. I'll also sprinkle in stuff about long-term care and epidemiology (my new toy) as the spirit moves me.