Monday, July 13, 2009

Miss Elainy

There has been much in the news recently that deserves comment. Reams have already been written about certain people and issues. You may think that all pertinent information on the following topics has made it into the public domain and that any additional perspective would be redundant. Of course, you would be wrong. In my review of available information on these stories, there is a glaring gap and that gap is the perspective of an aging white guy transplant
from the mid-west who is currently living in the deep south. This is a gross oversight that must be addressed.

So, without further ado--and there has been a gracious plenty of that--I present said perspectives.

Michael Jackson. From all indications, Mr. Jackson is still dead. As a business model strategy, one that closely parallels that adopted by The King his-own-self, Elvis Presley, when your act is popular primarily because you have become a parody of your own-earlier-self, death is an excellent career move. Reportedly, there is a large cache of unreleased MJ recordings which will now be packaged and relentlessly marketed via Infomercials. These new recordings, along with collections of MJ's "Greatest Hits", MJ's "Mediocre Hits" and MJ's "B Sides" will continue to create millions of dollars of revenue. The most interesting aspect of this looming marketing juggernaut is the question of who, exactly, will benefit. My prediction, given the early indications based on recent child custody discussions, family comments to the media and such, is that the scramble for a place at the MJ lucre trough will make the family squabbles over Dr. MLK's money-producing legacy look like a pillow fight at a Brownie Scout pajama party.

Sarah Palin. For my personal entertainment dollar, Ms. Palin is still the most interesting nut job in the Republican party, and recall, this is the party of Governor Mark "I love your tan lines" Sanford, Newt "Hey, here's yet another new idea" Gingrich and Nevada's Senator John "The wife and I joined the Promise Keepers (wink, wink)" Ensign. These are tough acts with whom to compete but the Thrilla from Wasilla is more than up to it. It helps, of course, to have an entire family, a daughter's former main squeeze and a hairdresser at the Beehive Beauty Salon who are attracted to media mics like liberals to Birkenstocks. Some say that Ms. Palin is "crazy like a fox" and, in part, I agree. If you want to sharply focus your mind, imagine that Ms. Palin, given the right set of circumstances, could eventually have access to the U.S. nuclear arsenal codes; David Letterman should watch his tasteless remarks.

Swine Flu. This illness is now officially called the H1N1 virus after a well-orchestrated outcry from the U.S. pork industry claiming that the handle "Swine Flu" was a pejorative, reflecting poorly on pigs and, more to the real problem, ruining bacon sales. The moderately serious influenza has spread worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. It is thought to have incubated and first spread from porker to human in rural Mexico. Apparently, pigs are no longer needed to spread the bug and neither are Mexicans. One could assume that if the bug can jump from pigs to humans that it can also jump back, a possibility that the Chinese government is suppressing lest its population of 2 billion pigs becomes restive and takes to the streets like unhappy Uyghurs. Ironically, a report out of Michigan this week indicates that out of 10 cases of H1N1 in one hospital's ICU, 9 of the patients were obese. This medical observation is another PR body blow to pigs in general and swine in particular.

Global Warming. Al Gore missed the fact, probably because he was born several million years too late (a fact about which Tipper is somewhat conflicted), that Earth has had significant warming(s) in the past. Thanks to these earlier warming cycles, Hollywood has been able to create blockbuster releases bases on the flora and particularly the fauna of those epochs. (I am still working on the difference between "epoch", "eon", "age" and "era". I mean, why do we say, "The Jazz Age" instead of the "The Jazz Epoch"? Huh? Huh?) Anyway, without those warmer days of yore, we could not have enjoyed such classics as "1 Million Years, B.C." with Raquel Welch in that really, really fashion-forward one-piece animal skin (PETA approved) or "Jurassic Park" in which Laura Dern proves that the acting gene isn't necessarily passed from father to daughter. It seems to me that the most important reason for reducing greenhouse gases isn't the warming impact, it's that we're all breathing this crappola into our lungs!

Health Care Reform. According to the pundits and experts (rarely the same people) there are "billions here" and "trillions there" to be spent, saved, squandered, applied, acquired and/or taxed, all associated with U.S. health care. The Democrats push for this or that reform, the Republicans push back. For all of the pushing and pushing back, it seems inevitable that some legislation is going to pass, but it isn't likely to help much. Here's why: unless a majority of Americans and their representatives are willing to admit (1) that it is not an appropriate use of the innovative free market to let that market set the agenda for national health care (as the providers do now) (2) that paying providers for procedures, regardless of the potential and actual outcomes, is a poor way to run the rodeo and (3) that it is a fallacy to assume that the payers--government, private insurers or patients--are going to rein in the cost associated with items (1) and (2), which are now ordained by the providers plus flawed policy. If we don't address the primary reasons why health care costs in America are unsupportable and climbing, those rising costs will continue to eat America's corporate budgets, America's family budgets and America's federal budget. Both parties are dodging these realities. If you were looking for a chuckle in this final item, sorry. I'm as serious as a colonoscopy prep about this one.


Observoid of the Day: Cats are needy; they just refuse to let on.


  1. You know, we actually had pretty good health care in this country when I was a kid. My father was a specialist and surgeon, charged fees for service, never asked for money from people who didn't have any--and that was the way most of his colleagues practiced, too. We didn't have a Cadillac or a swimming pool. Then the government and insurance companies began to dictate what he could do to whom and how long people could stay in the hospital, and they made these pronouncements without ever seeing the patient. He argued with insurance companies for a while and then retired. I don't think a return to the good old days is possible, and we do have better data now about what works and what doesn't, but if we could return to strong doctor-patient relationships not mediated by anyone from the outside who has no knowledge of the case except what's in a file, I think we'd all be better off.

  2. Bruce-- Nice piece, except you forgot Kate and what's his name. On the other hand, maybe you didn't. As for me, I'm really worried about Sig on "Deadliest Catch" having a sudden death experience or coughing up a lung.

    Miss Elainey? I confess I didn't get it until the second time, you sly fox.

    B-side? You really did grow up in the Pleistocene, didn't you?

    I am disappointed you couldn't think of any funny satirical licks about health care reform. There's millions of them out there. Gotta be. As soon as I think of one, I'll email you.


  3. "Observoid of the day: Cats are needy, the just refuse let on."

    ^In other words, cats are passive-agressive, much like the stereotypical Manipulative Woman of Ill Repute (TM).

    As for the health care rant that seems to take up a majority of your blogspace, I will say that while government inefficiancy is a constant thorn in the side of eternal human civilation, there are in fact two ways of doing business in a truely free market.

    Plan A: Build a nifty bread box, becasue you want a nifty breadbox to exist. Your hypothesis about the niftyness of your breadbox should speak for itself in terms of sales and demand. Putting the idea of Reinvestment into the business ahead of the idea of your personal yacht should eventually lead to a better breadbox, thus repeating the above cycle at an exponential improved scale.

    Plan B: Build a breadbox of dubious or inattentive quality; lots of them. Come up with creative and equally dubious ways of cutting costs of production, removing considerations of long term or external impact, and convincing unsuspecting consumers that they "need" this crapbox through devilish marketing and obscurantism. Pile up the revenue regardless of supply or demand concerns, take the money, and run. Preferably to the nearest luxury yacht dealer.

    Obviously, you take issue with the free market when Plan B shows up in what you consider to be absolutely essential areas of the economy and society. I have to say that on this point agree with you to within limits, especially in the realm of scientific research and engineering. My two cents is that its thus not always the free market itself that is problematic but rather people who abuse market invectives in whatever industry they are a party too. Just like "Guns don't kill people", etc. It bombs the party for the rest of us.

    -your Nephew, A.P.B