Friday, January 02, 2015

Jinxes and Silly Superstition

It's amazing to me how people can believe some of the silly things they say. I think most people are simply parrots who repeat what they hear from their families and society "Go to college and get any degree, and they have to pay you money". "One vote can make all the difference!" "Be a girl's friend and she'll eventually fall in love with you!"

My wife made a comment the other night that gave me some material for a rant. We were talking about when to take the Christmas tree down. I don't care. I wouldn't have a problem just leaving it up all year. She said "It's bad luck to leave the tree up past New Year's."

I went on a light hearted tirade. "God, why do bad things keep happening to me?" "Because you left the damn tree up until Jan 4, idiot! If you'd taken it down on time, you'd be having a great year."

Our lives are not governed by doing or not doing stupid things, like tapping the dashboard when you run a yellow light. "Knock on wood!"

And seriously, you people who talk about Karma, look up what it REALLY means in the Hindu religion. It's not as simple as the Christian "you reap what you sow".

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Aaron Cleary: Before You Become A Doctor

One of Aaron Cleary's readers sent him a write up about what it takes to become a doctor in 'murca. No wonder there are so few good doctors out there. People like me who can keep appointment times and follow up aren't going to jump through those hoops.

When I went into delayed enlistment for the Navy in 1991, the military was hurting for doctors. Had I chosen that route, they would have put me through college and med school. I wasn't interested though. And I'm still glad I chose electronics instead.

The one military choice I regret is the Army has a flight program where they make you a warrant officer and send you to flight school to fly helicopters. The reason I didn't choose that one is because, well, it's the Army, and two, the Army can't guarantee you anything. The Navy will give you an mostly-inviolable contract. The Army could decide they need cooks or grunts and send you that direction no matter what the recruiter promised. When Ralph Nader was drafted during Korea, he was already a practicing lawyer. Did the Army make use of that? Hell, no. They gave him a spatula.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Problem With Christmas Music

... is they almost never make anything new.

I'm mostly burned out completely on the secular Christmas music. I can't stand "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree", with it's early era synthesizers and that chick's raspy voice.

Don't get me started on Bing Crosby. Way overdone. I'd love to get through the rest of my life without having to hear that again.

I went to high school in San Antonio, so "Feliz Navidad" is definitely out as something I can stand to hear.

But even among the Christmas songs I like in my iTunes library, it's basically different people singing the same songs. I put my iPhone on shuffle for my Christmas playlist last night, and got 3 versions in a row of "O Come, All Ye Faithful".

Of course, when they do make a new Christmas song, it's something like "Christmas Shoes", which got overplayed and I burned out on it within a year or two.

At least we have Trans Siberian Orchestra, which combines the best of Christmas with the best of 80's style rock and metal.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

How To Behave When You Encounter Somebody With A Name With An Obvious Insult Or Pop Culture Reference

You keep your damn mouth shut. You're not smart enough to be the first person to ever make that connection, and they're probably sick of hearing it.

I have a last name that is forever cemented into a connection with Ferris Bueller's Day Off, specifically Ben Stein's monotone repetition of it.

And yet everywhere I go, I deal with it. As soon as I give my name, some wise-ass goes off with "Bueller, Bueller".

A couple of weeks ago it backfired on somebody. I had to visit another office to get something taken care of, and I guess I got a little intense about it. Bad time to interrupt me. I was asked my name so the person helping me could access the database, and some fat guy sitting in a cubicle decides to launch into "Bueller, Bueller". As I said, I was a little intense about getting my issue taken care of, and he broke my concentration. Before I could stop my own mouth, I blurted out:

"You must be a freaking genius! That movie came out in 1985, and you're the first person in 30 years to make that connection!"

He turned his head and went back to work. I guess I hurt his feelings. I don't care. I've been dealing with that since the 6th grade.

See, it's one thing if you know somebody and have a relationship with them. A coworker of mine has a French last name, which I tease him about incessantly. But we've built a relationship, trust, respect and all that. I sure as hell didn't tease him about his French last name on his first day of work.

If you don't have a relationship with someone, just keep your mouth shut. Nobody wants to hear it. You're not funny. You're an idiot.

So What Exactly Do Doctors Do All Day?

Recently, I wrote an anonymized case of a friend's hospital visit for pain. The pain was in my friend's neck. The hospital did heart tests, and deprived a diabetic of food for 24 hours. Then the hospital told my friend to consult primary doctor.

Friend goes to primary doctor. Primary doctor is late for scheduled appointment and spends less than 2 minutes with friend. Primary doctor thinks it could be muscle (this never occurred to hospital obsessed with heart) and says he'll prescribe a muscle relaxer. This was Monday. It is now Wednesday, and friend still does not have muscle relaxer. Let me explain:

  • Doctor calls in muscle relaxer to pharmacy.
  • Doctor does not include quantity.
  • Doctor doesn't answer phone.
  • Pharmacy can't fill prescription without quantity.
  • Almost 48 hours later, friend still has neck pain and no muscle relaxer.
  • Doctor finally calls in prescription with quantity.
  • Pharmacy has to order because it's not in stock.
I used to think doctors should be protected from "frivolous malpractice lawsuits". But most doctors are so inept and lazy, I'm starting to come over to the side of the malpractice lawsuits. I can count the number of doctors I've dealt with who were halfway competent on one hand. Most of them probably shouldn't be doctors in the first place.

I used to have a list of professions in which I automatically assumed the person was lazy and worthless unless proven otherwise. One was Information Assurance (IA)/Cyber Security. Another was HR. I forget what the third was. I'm putting Doctor in spot 3. Pharmacist is going in 4. Why does it take an hour to count 30 pills and put them in a bottle? That's 2 minutes per pill. It still takes an hour for 10. That's 6 minutes per pill. Hospital Administrator and Health Insurance worker are going on the list too. You're all useless unless you prove otherwise.

The biggest thing that sucks in western medicine is, you may be the PATIENT, but you are not the CUSTOMER. Your health insurance is the customer. And you're not customer to your health insurance either, the government is. When it comes to the health industry, we're just pawns in a really messed up game.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Another Excursion Into The American Health Industry

I recently watched all 8 seasons of House. I'd forgotten what a good show it was. A brilliant doctor, surrounded by over-achievers solving complex cases while spouting highbrow humor.

In most of our hospitals, those patients would have died.

I get tired of hearing people say "We have the best health care on the planet." No, we don't. We probably have some of the best TRAUMA care on the planet, but the rest of it sucks. They can re-attach your arm pretty good, but they're clueless outside of that.

Case study:

Friend was admitted to the ER with pain. They run the standard tests, which of course show nothing. ER doctor decided friend doesn't look "happy" (is that a diagnosis?) and admits friend. It takes hours of waiting in the ER for admission to happen. Among the standard tests was an X-ray. Is pain supposed to show up on a picture that only shows bone? By this point, I figured I was smarter than the ER staff.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Now the news is all abuzz about Cuba. The Obamessiah is restoring relations.

My thoughts on the matter: meh. Don't really care. It will probably affect my life little or not at all.

Now mass legalization of illegal aliens, $18 trillion in government debt and growing by billions a day, and the fascist health care system will affect me. Allowing megabanks to trade in risky derivatives under FDIC insurance is going to screw us all.

But I doubt Cuba will. Maybe I'll finally get to try one of those Cuban cigars I keep hearing about. Maybe we'll get a new line of Cuban Rum at the ABC store.

I was laughing at the news today. I usually ignore the news. But in the building where I was working, Fox News was on in the break room where I microwaved my lunch. First they had the Cuban Republicrat Senator on (can't be bothered to remember or look up his name because I don't care) criticizing the President. Then they had Sen Menendez (Demoncrat- New F'in Jersey) criticizing the President.

Then they had Gene Simmons in the room with 4 female Fox hosts. Gene Simmons? Is he some kind of political expert on Cuba?

That's another big reason why I ignore the news. There is no line between "expert" and celebrity anymore. What next, George Carlin's hologram commenting on Cuba?

At least it gave me three minutes of amusement while I waited for my Pasta Roni to cook.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Review: Real Dissent by Thomas E. Woods

As I sat down to write this review, I started thinking about how exactly I came across Tom Woods. I can't recall. It's like he just showed up in my inbox and podcast app out of nowhere. I guess I heard him on another podcast and subscribed to his newsletter. I've been listening to his podcast since day 1.

Real Dissent is subtitled "A Libertarian Sets Fire To The Index Card Of Allowable Opinion". Woods' premise is that the gatekeepers in the media have what must be a 3x5 index card with a list of all the opinions you're allowed to have. If you deviate from that card, you're called all kinds of names. Racist. Sexist. Extremist. Even the "mainstream" libertarians participate in this limitation of allowable opinion. It's either Romney or Obama. There is no other option, unless you're an EXTREMIST! OOOOOOOOOOOOH! You don't want to be an EXTREMIST! do you?

Woods obviously doesn't mean there is a literal 3x5 index card, but there might as well be. I read a few "manoshere" blogs, like Vox Day, Matt Forney, Roosh, Roisy, etc. They're embroiled in something they call "#gamergate" in which they've run afoul of Social Justice Warriors (SWJs), basically internet millennial feminists, beta white knights, and other assorted emotional hypochondriacs (a term I got from Tom Woods) and control freaks.

Rather than a freshly written book, Real Dissent is a collection of articles, essays, interviews, and book forwards Tom Woods has written in the last 15 or so years. Normally I don't like this format. Most other authors do a horrible job of editing and tying it all together, (i.e. Aaron Cleary's "Top Shelf") but Woods excels at this. He groups his chapters by subjects that build upon each other.

The book is broken down into the following sections:

War and Propaganda
Capitalism and Anti-capitalism
Libertarianism Attacked, and My Replies
Ron Paul and Forbidden Truths
End The Fed
History and Liberty
When Libertarians Go Wrong
Books You May Have Missed
Talking Liberty: Selected Tom Woods Show Interviews
Back To Basics

Though Woods is an academic, he writes in an accessible style that's easy to read. The book is designed to show some of the common misconceptions of and attacks on libertarianism, and how to refute them. As an example, if you take a position off the Index Card of Allowable Opinion, such as, Lincoln wasn't as great as he's made out to be, the media will start screaming "You support slavery!"

Woods points out how fallacious this is, as well as how much courage it actually took to oppose slavery in Civil War times. Only a small percentage of the population were outright abolitionists. Most were attacked and humiliated, some were even murdered. It takes absolutely zero courage or effort to oppose slavery now, but that wasn't the case 160 years ago. Woods doubts that anybody who lives and dies by the status quo today would have gone against it at any other point in history. I concur.

The only complaint I had about the book is the selection of interview transcripts didn't seem to match the theme very well. They were interesting; no doubt. I think Tom should have included his interview with Christopher Cantwell, although that happened recently and he may not have had time to transcribe it.

Also, his earlier articles, pre-2007, didn't read as well as his later articles from 2013.

Real Dissent is Tom Woods' first self-published book. He's written and collaborated on several others, but those were conventionally published.

Real Dissent: A Libertarian Sets Fire to the Index Card of Allowable Opinion

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The Ivy League Is Really Knocking It Out Of The Park...

I can't think of a comment. Other than, this never happens at the University of Phoenix. I don't think I'll ever look at Harvard in the same light again. 

Monday, November 03, 2014

Matt Forney- Why American Men Should Refuse To Vote

Election Day is tomorrow. Matt Forney put up a post at Return of Kings about why American men should refuse to vote. I think he's right. I haven't been able to get excited about voting for a long time.

As Mark Twain said, if voting made a difference, they wouldn't let us do it.

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy.
- Carrol Quigley