Saturday, January 12, 2013

What a great day!

Have you recently experienced such a wild anticipation for the day to begin that you couldn't sleep at all? Tossing and turning, constantly looking at the clock in disbelief that it's only been minutes instead of hours since the last look. That's been my night so far. I finally decided to get up, put on the coffee and accept my inability to sleep and hope I'll make it up next time. Despite the fact that TV is lousy this time of night, the songs played on the radio are repetitious and mundane and talk radio is limited to conversations concerning aliens, conspiracy theories and demonic possession on Coast to Coast AM, I am on needles and pins awaiting the crack of dawn. I can feel it in my bones. Something wonderful is about to happen. A new revelation, a breakthrough of immense proportions, untold wonders never before seen by the human eye. That's the feeling coursing through my very soul. Where does it come from? I have no idea. I didn't ask for it, no one told me to think that way. It certainly wasn't any sort of astrological interpretation. I can't remember anything in particular that anyone said. I simply feel this is going to be a wonderful day. I guess I'm OK with that.

So far it's stacking up to be something special, in a normal sort of way. While putting the coffee on to warm, (it is my custom to drink yesterdays leftover coffee. I like it, really I do) the cupboard opened just a crack and revealed a container of Mocha blend creamer. Whoa! I thought. Already it's starting. I love mocha! The smells of my discovery filled the morning air almost hypnotically. If nothing else this good happened all day, I had this to carry me through right? Then, rummaging around my reading pile for the day a previously unread comic section from the newspaper was uncovered. "Are you kidding me?" I love the comic section! Are you beginning to see what I'm talking about here? In disbelief of my good fortune I poured a cup of that delectable mocha and set myself down at the computer to see what I could see. There were business items I must tend to. However, a note was attached noting I had "mail". A friend had sent me one of the most hilarious little videos I've seen in half a year and maybe even longer. A truly wonderful experience, in my opinion, is to begin your day by almost falling off your chair in a fit of laughter. I'm beginning to wonder if I really did wake up but stopped just short of pinching myself. I'm not into self inflicted pain. I took a few moments to bask in the glow of a feeling of well being. A feeling (sorry, lots of feelings today I guess) of strength came over me and I dared to turn on the TV news. In most cases I dread the negativity of the news but not today. I stared in disbelief at the story unfolding before my eyes, apparently we are not all going to die from the flu! The economy, in spite of anything bad going on is still improving. Bob Segar is about to begin another tour. Again the thought of pinching myself had to be resisted. Then, to top it all off we were reminded that in less than 36 hours the 2014 Corvette will be revealed to the world in all it's glory. Phew! I just wonder how much more of this good stuff I can deal with.

I think it's time to get ready to take on the day. With all this good stuff coming at me from all sides it's probably a good idea to be wearing clean clothes and stuff like that. What if Publisher's Clearing House comes to the door? No wait, from what I've read about the winners and their problems, if this indeed is going to be a good day then I won't be winning. Yeah, that's how a good day works. I'm going to watch that hilarious email again. You have a nice day too OK?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snow in Michigan

Living in lower, Western Michigan is a treat in all seasons. Beautiful landscapes, incredible sunsets, equally incredible lake shore, no end to athletic activities, cultural events, local award winning breweries, bike trails going just about everywhere, did I mention local award winning breweries and lately anyway plenty of mystery when it comes to weather. This year, instead of shoveling snow from my driveway, I am tempted to put vegetable seedlings into the garden. 50*! 55*! Holy Cow! It has been my custom to build a huge, 12 foot tall sled run in my front yard for family and neighborhood kids during December. January and February until the first really big thaw occurred in the last week of February or the first week of March. In the back yard I put a short snow wall around half the back yard and filled it with water that froze into a small ice skating rink. It worked well. Occasionally a two or three day warm up would put a skin of water on the surfaces of the sled run and the ice rink but that only served to make the surfaces faster and more fun. The thaw almost never lasted long enough to stop the fun. Three years ago, maybe four, we were inundated with three quarters of a dozen inches of snow driven by 20 mile an hour winds over the course of 2 days. I'm not wishing for that mind you, just stating facts. Aesthetically speaking it was a magnificent visual spectacle totally encompassing what the Michigan wintertime experience is. Skiing, sledding, tobogganing, ice skating and body shops overflowing with vehicle collision repairs. That's been my Michigan for most of my lifetime. Today 43*, tomorrow 53* Saturday 55*. It takes some adjustment. So much free time and money usually spent in shoveling, driving slow, delays due to accidents and high heating costs, extra gasoline to warm up the car, you know stuff like that. The other thing I've learned from living in Michigan: Don't get used to anything! Sure as the sun comes the weather will change and bring yet another surprise. So, in light of that wisdom, I guess I'll simply wait until the normal growing season to plant my seedlings. I don't pray for any particular weather, I've been bitten with undesirable results and now I simply pray for the wisdom and strength to deal with whatever comes and most of all, enjoy it to the best of my ability. Come to think of it, weather in Michigan and life itself have a great deal in common don't they?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Health care costs/unnecessary

The national news lately has been reporting how some governmental and private organizations have taken to banning smoking on the premises. Not just in the buildings, by the entrance ways or nearby sidewalks, but also the parking lots and associated property. Anywhere. Anyone caught smoking will be given a few warnings but if they continue they will be fired. In some ways this is admirable. In some ways it is an attack on personal rights regarding a practice, disgusting and injurious to one's health as it may be, as yet is completely within the law. Annual health costs related to smoking run around $97 billion. That's a lot of money. It also costs lives at an early age. However, there is another health hazard that is only spoken about nicely and almost ignored so as not to offend someone that has an annual health cost of at the very least, $197 billion.: Obesity! Especially among the folks in this country that live in poverty.

Obesity is a national disaster and is getting worse by the day. Just look around. Why aren't obese people forbidden to eat in those same buildings or on the premises? I'm not trying to be funny here. I take this seriously. Obesity is a national scandal in a country as educated and health conscious as the United States. Smoking is terrible. We used to think it was sort of cool. Cowboys advertised it, athletes advertised it, there were cute mascots that danced and sang the praises of smoking. Doctors recommended certain brands because they were so much healthier than other brands. Then came the revelation that smoking killed. It took some people decades to believe that something so prevalent in our culture was a bad thing. People quit smoking in droves. Not all mind you but literally millions quit and became healthier and, inevitably reduced health care costs and lengthened the life span of the average American. But, smoking remains legal and those that smoke pay a ton of taxes for the privilege. A pack of cigarettes is, by my best guess about 80% taxes.

Obesity on the other hand, kills more people than cigarettes ever did. Most food is available without taxes being added on to help divert the costs back to the offender. And adds double the health costs to the over extended national budget. Some health costs are hidden by calling them by another name: diabetes, degenerative heart disease, high cholesterol, high bloods pressure, heart fibrillation and many other health problems. But, because saying something or forbidding people from overeating may offend someone that is obese, nothing worthwhile is done.

I'm not saying that nothing should be done about smoking. My point is that if rights are taken away regarding a perfectly legal practice re:smoking. Then the rights of another perfectly legal practice re: overeating can also be taken away and because of the costs and damage to health very well should be. That's the point of government taking away our rights in the first place isn't it: Telling us what's best for us and backing it up by punishing us and embarrassing us into submission?

I guess there are various perspectives on these subjects but we may as well be discussing them at one time or another being as how the government is looking at how to lower the health costs that we all must pay now with the new legislation going into effect soon that is supposed to help us all. Of course it is possible that this has already been discussed and the agency may not pay for self induced health issues for either smoking or obesity. But then what about unprotected sex, drug reactions, bee keepers bites, mountain climbers accidents, oh forgive me, I do go on don't I. It'll never be a perfect world will it?
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