See If I [Health] Care

Faith in politics is silly.

Faith in politics leads to despair.

Faith in politics is no faith at all.

I voted for W. and then for McCain.  I don’t regret either choice.  What I regret is so often being restless and fearful about what might happen.

Where is the faith in that?

Dems and Repubs alike frighten me in their own unique ways.

The change Obama promised? I wasn’t entirely opposed to it but I did have my reservations.

The idea of a “government takeover” of health care alarmed me in a Glenn Beck sorta way.

That some expressed a “by any means necessary” willingness to pass the legislation did not make me feel any better.

I rejoiced at junctures when its defeat seemed imminent.

But now that it has passed I long to rejoice as well.  God remains in control and there are many ways in which my family and I will benefit.  This is good.

I imagine many hard-working families are thankful tonight for these provisions.

I understand though that not everyone is pleased.  That’s okay.  I wanted to offer some consolation.

U.S.A is not Soviet Russia yet.

In the tradition of Alec Baldwin and other grand standers, Rush Limbaugh promised to leave the country in the event that ObamaCare became law.

We shall soon see if he is a man of his word.

For anyone contemplating the same move, this handy link will help you determine where to go.  It shows countries with universal health care of some kind, countries attempting to pass it, and most importantly those without it.

Most of Africa is without it so you might consider going there but then they don’t have clean water either.

But weigh your options, I guess.

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Blanche Devereaux and the Woman at the Well

We’re watching the Golden Girls tonight like most nights.  This episode was a rare treat-one I hadn’t seen before.

Once in college, I admitted to a friend of liking the program.  He could not have been more disgusted, “It’s just a bunch of old women talking about sex.”  Perhaps, but I couldn’t help that I thought it was funny and that the show was comprised of good stories.

Sometimes I wonder if Blanche Devereaux has any shame.  Usually, she talks openly about and seems very impressed with her own sexual exploits.  This is a running joke over the series run.  The other characters laugh at her expense.

I wondered what would Blanche say if she were the woman at the well.

This episode was a little different.  When the new man in her life won’t even touch her, she immediately presumes there is something wrong with her-that she has lost her spark.

She enters the kitchen and announces, “I am a cheap, tawdry slut” prompting Rose to answer, “Is it Blanche?”

As it happens, the man is widowed and has not gone out with anyone in the few years since his wife’s passing.  He and his wife had been together since high school.  After several days during which time Blanche throws herself at him a variety of ways despite his resistance, they have a serious conversation.

She discovered that he was an old-fashioned romantic and that he thought first kisses were special.  She thought he was putting her on, at first.  He told her that was what he wanted with her.

It was like he spoke a foreign language.

After he left Rose asked what happened.  Blanche told her about him.  Incredulously, Rose inquired of how that made Blanche feel.

“Like a lady.”

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Dear Mom & Dad (An Open Letter Regarding Glenn Beck)

Dear Mom & Dad,

There’s something I have to tell you.  I don’t think you’re going to like it.  You may even cry but I know you’d rather hear this from me.  I wanted to keep this from you, to protect you, but I’ve been outed: I AM A COMMUNIST!

Glenn Beck, renowned voice of clear thinking, super patriot, and defender of the people, broke the story this week that churches who use the term SOCIAL JUSTICE do so as code for COMMUNISM which by my estimation means that Christians who use those words are communist.  Well, color me PINKO.

I know, I was surprised too.  I thought I was as American as ice cream sandwiches and goofy golf and you, mom.  I played little league and swung for the fences.  I sang “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” in the church choir.  I was in the scouts where I learned to tie square knots and assist old ladies across dangerous intersections.

Remember when we used to watch Andy Griffith reruns and the Atlanta Braves on TBS?  Remember how much I liked shooting aluminum cans with bb guns, and how we used to play with firecrackers, and ride go-carts?  Remember how I used to go exploring all in the fields behind our house and how whenever I got upset I ran away to my tree house?

I guess a communist would do all those things and probably in exactly the same way, except maybe for the Andy Griffith show but would a communist learn the art of the deal at the flea market?  Would a communist scope out the best deals online before buying in store?  I thought I was a capitalist except, well except, Mr. Beck is a very smart man.  He is in the know.  I talk about social justice a lot.  I must be a communist.

Now, I don’t want you to feel bad about this but I think I know where you went wrong.  I say this out of the hope that maybe it isn’t too late for Josh.  Your big screw-up?  You taught me to love people and to do what I could for them.  You never preached to me that the government should pay everyone’s bills.  We had our share of hard times but you always did what you were able to do for people.

I guess you are communists too.  Glenn Beck wants to save America from people like us.  I can’t blame him, America is a pretty awesome place but I don’t know that there is room for charity in a land of consumer gluttony.  People like us are against everything THEY stand for.  We are not united with THAT America.

We have to be stopped.

If you love Josh, teach him to only think of himself, to hoard stuff into every cubby of his over sized McMansion, to clear a half dozen plates for every trip to the buffet, to deny the reality of suffering in the world, to shirk his responsibility, to reimagine Jesus as some Holy rolling slot machine, and to stand by his baseless opinions.

It’s for his own good.  If you fail to do this, you do so at his peril.



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A funny thing happened on the way to the dentist

I have dental phobia.  It’s something I gained this past year.  YAY 2009!

It all started last March when I had my first check-up in years.  I didn’t think that my teeth were perfect by any means but I was floored when the dentist said, “Do you want to save your teeth?”  I rationalized that he was speaking only of one wisdom tooth which was broken.  He had an overbearing quality and his tone did not help my feelings.  He couldn’t believe I didn’t have pain.  He ignored my comment that occasional minor sensitivity was related to sinus drainage.

I had to cancel my follow-up and when I returned in August I was nervous but not so much because we had already gotten the embarrassing part out of the way.  But then, as if March had never happened we repeat the earlier conversation including the awful, “Do you want to save your teeth” part.   I was already livid and livid is not something I am very routinely.  I had called Donna back into the room while waiting and suggested we leave.  He had the hygienist bring me a scrip and a new work-up for the damages.  It had been 9 fillings and/or repairs.  It jumped to 12.  I had come in expecting to get some work done but ended up just scheduling a new appointment.

I vowed to never return.  In October, I had my first meeting with the only other option in town.  The first dentist has a shiny office and staff ready to be filmed for commercial at any moment.  The second office looked like something the health department forgot to shut down or a place where you’d go to get your back-alley tooth extraction.  I went and the lady was exceptionally nice and didn’t make me feel like mountain folk.  I told her I had a lot of problems and about what had happened with the other guy.  She assured me that she’d take good care of me.  I believed her and exhaled a giant sigh of relief.

I still needed some work but her estimation seemed a bit more cost-conscious.  That’s because she doesn’t have to pay for ad space.  My follow-up was scheduled for December.  Similar to the previous experience, I went in braced for pain and discomfort.  I thought I was getting  a crown.  She asked me to reschedule because she hadn’t blocked enough time for a crown.  At check-out I protested paying the office visit.  The clerk explained the policy but said, “I’ll let it slide.”

Right before Christmas I had 2 temporary crowns put in.  During the op, she had mentioned that back wisdom tooth and that she was going to try to “save it.”  She assured me once more even telling me how she had gone the weekend prior to have crown-work done herself.  I suffered through Christmas dinner with a tube of Fixodent on the ready as the front one popped out every couple days.  I feared swallowing it in my sleep.  After the first of the year and another reschedule (they told me “everything’s froze up”) I got the permanent crowns.  That was a joyous event!  She requested I come back in for the other tooth.

So long as we’ve been going here, they’re only open one or two days a week. They don’t have an answering service and usually it takes them a week to call back.  Last night we decided we needed to reschedule.  If ever I call out of work or miss an appointment, I like to phone the night before so that I don’t have to speak to anyone.  At 2:37 I looked them up, dialed the digits, and after 2 rings on the other end was a sleepy, yet friendly, male voice.

I said, “Sorry. Wrong Number.”   Determined to dial correctly I double-checked the listing.  I entered the buttons slowly believing the late hour at fault for my previous misfire.  I declared, “If he answers again, I’m just going to hang up.”

The same voice answered.  The same, confused yet familiar, voice was on the other end.  Click.

I resolved to try again in the morning.  There was the thought that maybe they were being robbed but I went to sleep.

When I called at 8:30 this morning, I expected the voice mail to pick up.  My dentist answered.  I told her I needed to cancel and make a new appointment.  She explained that the office phone is redirected to her home and that she didn’t have her schedule book to look at.

The tone in her voice indicated she found something humorous.  It wasn’t the wrong number.  It was her home and that familiar voice?  He was the young man who works in her office, who I assume is her son.

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The Christian Olympics

(written with help from Donna)

With all the christian mock-ups of perfectly harmless secular activities and products, I’m surprised that Christendom has yet to produce its own Olympic games.

How many years has it been since Chariots of Fire?  Nearly 30? That should’ve been enough motivation.

Sure, there have been Christians in the Olympics but what great joy would it be to witness the awe-inspiring athleticism of amazing saints all-as-one running as if to win the prize?  Alleluia!  I get cardiomyopic just thinking about it.

The regular Olympics have the motto, “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”  I agree with A. Noble who said (regarding the Christian games), “The goal of every event is to come in last.”  Our motto would be, “First place is the first loser.”

Prizes to be awarded upon death.

We couldn’t call them the X games because 1. that name is already taken and 2. too many of us believe X is used to remove Christ (this is not the case).  Perhaps, we’d go with ChristGames or Holympics.

The pagans have their recognizable “5 Rings” which everyone knows is a giant endorsement of polytheism.  We’d go with a single ring with sprinkles.  It might look something like this:

We’d keep the ceremonial Olympic flame but with the acknowledgment that the flame represents the Holy Spirit.

The ideal location for the first year would either be Jerusalem or in Orlando near the Holy Land Experience.

Christian celebs like Stephen Baldwin, Mr. T, and BibleMan would serve as Olympic delegates.  The Christian Olympic Committee would meet in Nicaea whenever necessary.

Here are 10 games which might be included:

  1. Fruit of the Spirit Eating Contest
  2. Bringing in the Sheaves
  3. Shot Put (with mountains)
  4. Bible Drills!
  5. Backsliding Down a Slippery Slope
  6. Dunking Booth
  7. Jousting (with the full armor of God!)
  8. Water-walking (only for the most faithful)
  9. 100 m Sprint to KFC
  10. Interpretive Dance

Thoughts? Suggestions?

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Open-Faced PB&J Sandwich

Monday we joined Weight Watchers.  I don’t think of this as the start of a diet because I feel like we are always dieting.  However, we are tightening the reigns just a bit as is necessary for my training.

As funny as it may sound, I enjoy dieting.  Not in the fist-down-my-throat, wish-upon-a-Kate Moss sorta way (no, I like eating AND feeling FULL).  What I mean is how dieting makes one more conscientious and appreciative of what they eat.  Surely, this is why the Bible advises fasting.

For those who aren’t familiar, Weight Watchers is a point-based system.  I think its pretty cool.  Calories and fat are factored together with fiber to compute the value.  I’m not good with math so its handy they provide a paper sliding scale to do the math for me.

Last night, I had 4 points left.  I scoured the kitchen reading the backs of bread, canned spaghetti, pudding, and cereal.  What I really wanted was peanut butter on toast, a fact I would not have been as tuned into had I not been dieting.  I discovered the 98% Fat Free Hot Dog Buns and from there concocted a filling 5-point treat ( so, I went one over, weekly I have 35 to spare.)

Open-Faced PB&J Sandwich

1 Tbsp Peanut-Butter (2 pt)

2 Tbsp Grape Jelly (0 pt)

1 98% Fat Free Bun, Toasted (1 pt)

1 8 oz. glass of Skim Milk (2 pt)

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Beyond Eye of the Tiger: 20 Songs for Your Workout Playlist

I submitted this in January for inclusion in an online hipster music mag.  I’m going to go ahead and say it didn’t make the cut.  So, I’m not hip.  What else is new?

I figure if your like me now is a great time for this list.  I bet you’ve already broken and remade your resolutions.  Never fear.  I believe you can do it.  I really do.

The songs are in perfect order to sync with all phases of your workout.  Total runtime is about 45 minutes.  Don’t hesitate.  Don’t even sample them.  Just go to Amazon straightaway and download them.  You can thank me later.

If you make resolutions at all, it’s likely “getting fit” rests comfortably at the top of the heap.  It’s as if that resolution mocks you from its lofty pedestal.

But if you really listen, you can hear your own personal trainer calling to you from within.  He says, “Get up.” Then he says something more peculiar, “You’re gonna eat lightning and crap thunder.”  Wait a second…is that Mickey, the tough-as-nails octogenarian who so famously whipped Rocky Balboa into shape?  It is and if you let him he can do the same for you but you’ll need the right music.  Even Rocky had “Eye of the Tiger.” Just in case that song doesn’t inspire your meat locker workouts the way it once did, here are a few tracks ready and able to do the job.

“Wake Up” Arcade Fire

“Sleepyhead” Passion Pit

“Free Radicals” Flaming Lips

“Timebomb” Beck

“I’m A Wheel” Wilco

“The Distance” Cake

“Everybody Get Dangerous” Weezer

“Treat Me like Your Mother” Dead Weather

“Immigrant Song” Led Zeppelin

“The Sound” Switchfoot

“Dress” PJ Harvey

“Intergalactic” Beastie Boys

“Pump It Up” Elvis Costello

“Busy Signals” Pink Spiders

“Drumming Song” Florence + the Machine

“Electric Feel” MGMT

“Trashcan” Delta Spirit

“Old White Lincoln” The Gaslight Anthem

“Move by Yourself” Donovan Frankenreiter

“Stop Your Sobbing” The Pretenders

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