Friday, September 25, 2009

Why my belt is broken

In case you are wondering why my pants don't seem to fit any more, well, they got really stretched out in the wash...kidding. The real story is over here. It's also one more hurdle in my blogging life. Feel free to heckle, cry, laugh or better yet, encourage me on. My goal is to be much smaller to live a longer life and have more fun being a grandpa then anyone else has ever had. In case you missed the link, it's here. and here. And yes, for those counting, I do try and maintain 4 blogs. I am nuts.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I'm still such a sucker. Pearl Jam's new album came out today and I just had to race to the store to get it. I wouldn't want to go more then an hour without having every studio album they've ever released.

Any bands you still race to the store to buy?

Now, if you'll excuse me. I've got some new rock to listen too.

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Yes, but does it suck?

Videos like these crack me up. You get a lot of use out of superlatives at an Apple conference.

This one is pretty funny too...dude.

My two favorites of this genre are extremely NSFW and are all about the effenheimer (continuous swearing...if offended by hearing swear words for 4 minutes...don't click the links!). My all time favorite is F'n short version of Casino. The truly funny part, it's over 4 minutes long. Yes, if you condensed the movie casino down to just it's f-bombs, the move takes 4 MINUTES. By contrast, the Big Lebowski version is only 2 minutes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Funia

This serves no other purpose then to kill time. Go over to PhotoFunia and try it for yourself. I'm also quite sure that this is as close as I'm ever coming to having my face this close to Angelia Jolie's breasts.

I'd love to see everyone else's! Been a long time since I saw a meme going around...


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oh my. A book of fiction

You might be shocked to learn this about me, but I'll share it anyways. I rarely read books of fiction. I love non-fiction. But every now and then I let a little make believe into my library. (it could easily be argued that some of my non-fiction is indeed fiction. For the sake of the children...)

The last book I read cover to cover that was not from the learning to read series or Dr Suess was the Da Vinci Code. Here's my copy of Dan Brown's latest, The Lost Symbol.

Hopefully in the near future I'll have time to read this. You ever read these? Whatcha think?

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Thoughts from the back of the bus

I like sitting in the back of the bus. I think I know why too. From here, I get to watch people.

My post about insurance took some interesting turns. A friend mine shared it on her facebook account. Of course she's got nearly 30 comments already. Sigh.

The debate over health care reform rages on and I can't help but notice that suffers from the same problems that we always suffer from. I'm strctly talking about the debate itself here (and I'm writing this on the bus using my phone, thank you) is that people like use the same argument regardless of what the original point was.

The purpose of my post was to explain how insurance works. Not how greedy private insurance is or isn't. I don't really care. I'm a pragmatist and like to look at all options and out comes.

Besides that fact that I really do believe that government is just as greedy as the private sector (self-propetuating beauracracies tend to do that), that really wasn't my point. My point was that no matter who provides the insurance, it's a gamble that both sides want badly to win.

The public option is not going to want go broke.

It's with this in mind, I had an idea. I've been thinking about writing a series of posts about life lessons I've learned playing poker. Tying this is with a plain talk discussion about logic fallacies. If you don't know what those are, don't worry. It's basically how our political discussions work :-)

The bus is almost at the hospital so I should be signing off. Hey, at least I might actually post something more often. It could happen.

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i. Sorry about the typos. This screen is small and I don't have much of a spell check.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Testing the I need to blog system

Just downloaded the BlogPress app for my iPhone. Is this thing on? Can you hear me now? My bus driver is doing overpass circles. So weird.

Let me know you got this, um Kay?

By the way, this picture is from a new display in the entrance to the hospital I work at. It's one of the original elements from one of the oldest sections. I think shooting this with my good camera would be fun.

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Insurance's Dirty Little Secret (It's gambling...)

I find it really fascinating that most people really don't understand the nature of insurance. Most people just think they pay premiums and get free stuff if bad things happen. Kinda neat a cuddly, don't you think?

Insurance is really just gambling. It really doesn't matter what type of insurance, it's still just gambling. You are making a wager that your expenses will be higher then your premiums. You are also betting that you don't have the discipline to save the money needed to cover rainy days. The last part of the bet, is probably a sure thing for most people, but it always strikes me as odd that people just don't think about it this way.

Over the course of your lifetime, you pay premiums for all kinds of insurance. Car, health, home owners, travel, extended warranties. Why do you do it? I think most people do it out of fear.

What if the bad thing happens? I'll be screwed!
Maybe. Maybe not, but it makes you feel better knowing if it does, you win the bet.

Most consumers have become better shoppers when it comes to extended warranties. These are really nothing more then a wager on the quality of the item you bought. You are betting the price of the extended warranty that the item will break at an expense higher then what you paid for the warranty. Sometimes this is a stupid bet because the house is already offering a comp if it breaks under the normal warranty. You just made a bet you can't win.

Health insurance is no different then other insurances. A risk pool is everyone that pays into an insurance system. These people are making a wager that their expenses will be more then the sum of their premiums. Hopefully, by now, you are starting to see the problem. In order for insurance to work, the risk pool needs to take in more then the sum of the expenses paid by the policies associated with the risk pool. It really doesn't matter if this is private or public. This is just how it works.

I tweeted this morning about something that has always bothered me. The pundits are exposing statistics about the number of people that are not covered by health insurance. It is assumed that EVERYONE NEEDS health insurance. Like it's impossible to go through life without it. What these statistics don't tell you is that there are a number of people that chose not to play this game. The could have health insurance but chose not to buy it.

Why would people not buy it?

Let's say I'm 25 years old, a male, and rich. I'm rich enough to pay for most medical bills with cash out of my pocket. Why on earth would I pay good money for something that just a bad bet?

Sure, but what happens when he gets hit by a bus?

Good question. How many people actually get hit by a bus? What is the likelihood that a 25 year old male is gonna suffer a horribly expensive traumatic health incident? To the 25 year old, this looks to be a truly stupid way to spend their money. A bad bet.

Why do we care? The reason that most of us care is that if we added more people to the insurance system, it would lower the costs of premiums because we'd have more fish, um, I mean, more people whose premiums are higher then their expenses to our little ponzi, I mean, risk pool.

Fixing health care isn't just about forcing lower premiums. That's just stupid. The money to pay for health care has to come from somewhere. Adding laws that force insurance companies to take bad risks, people with preexisting conditions, is kind of a weird idea. You are telling the operators of the risk pool that they should add people that have a statistical likelihood to be a drain on the resources. A bad bet for the risk pool and the insurance company since their premiums will be far less then their expenses. Some of these people will not lead to higher expenses, but some will. Let's hope most are fish, damn it, I mean people that pay more then the spend.

What we, as a nation, need to figure out, is how we lower the cost of the entire industry. Health care is consuming a lot of our resources that we would like to use for other purposes. Insurance costs aren't the only problem. Turning the entire health care insurance into a government run risk pool isn't the answer either. We need to make hard decisions about what we spend our money on and what we get in return.

This country spends money on health care like crazy. Our poor, sit in emergency rooms for hours waiting to see a doctor to get asprin. They can't pay, so the rest of us do. Billions of dollars are spent doing amazing and heroic things to keep people alive. Costs be damned. DNR (Do not resuscitate) orders are ignored by people thinking they are doing the right thing, only to prolong the inevitable. Countless x-rays and tests are performed who's costs don't make it worth the information they get. The biggest problems we have are in the details.

Let's take a step back and look at this problem rationally. Premiums aren't too high because premiums are too high. Premiums are too high because expenses paid by risk pools are too high relative to their income and the value they recieve on that expense. This is a big problem and needs more then just a quick fix. It needs the right fix.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Summer's last breaths

Summer is winding down. Figured I would finish it the way I started
it. Sitting around the fire.

My thoughtful neighbor dragged his TV in the backyard so we could
watch the feabile Twins pitching look terrible against Cleveland. The
TV is that square glow you see.

Back to my bottle of Fat Squirrel...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Remember walking Wednesdays?

These feet didn't miss a Wednesday in 3 months.

Just felt like bragging :-)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

For the serious baseball fan

T-ball played by Kindergarteners is an acquired taste. It much less
about the baseball, the score or even the rules. It's all about
hanging with kids you've never met before and finding your new best
friend for ever.