Saturday, July 28, 2007


I saw Sicko a couple weeks ago, and while it did not contain any new information for me, it was still disturbing. There were things I felt could have been more fully explained--for example, I had some very long conversations with my host when I was in France about their healthcare system. She always complained about the high cost of their healthcare, via taxes, and how upset she was about the high level of fraud among illegal immigrants, the lack of security for their access cards, and how they were paying such high taxes to other people's advantage. Moore's film makes it look like the French healthcare system is all peaches and cream.

But, that's to be expected. And I'm okay with that, to some extent. When making a point, especially in a feature-length movie, sometimes we don't have time to comb through all the ins and outs of a system. I think a better stance would be to think of it as like a marriage. Each system has its problems. So, let's say these problems are a human being's "foibles". My husband's foibles, which I find irritating but can live with, are not the same foibles that my friends could live with. In fact, I'm sure some people wonder how I can stand to live with him at all! But, that's what marriage is about--finding the person who has the foibles that you are willing to deal with. Because, we've all got them, those foibles. Except for me. I'm perfect.

Seriously though, the hard part for our country over the next few years is going to be negotiating a healthcare system whose primary foibles we are willing to live with. And there will be foibles--a lot of them.

Anyway, while I was at work and had a slow moment, I was trying to catch up with my New Yorker reading and read Atul Gawande's take on the movie. In the penultimate paragraph, he brought up some points about government involvement and things like birth control, etc. This got me thinking...

I'm definitely a social liberal--I'm all for government programs that help people. AND, more importantly, I'm willing to pay more taxes for them. But, I don't trust our current government, specifically, the judicial branch in the form of our Supreme Court. If we give the government more control over our healthcare system, what's to stop them from limiting abortions, birth control, morning after pills, etc.? We're already seeing this with pharmacists and some doctors. We're seeing the attempts to overthrow Roe v. Wade. Or the recent partial-birth abortion ban that is really only used in this day and age if the pregnancy will eventually put the mother's life in peril. That ban says the procedure can only be done if the mother is in immediate danger. Aside from issues of body ownership and if a fetus has more rights than the vessel/mother, this has, for me, major implications for a universal healthcare system over which this particular court would have some semblance of control.

The big problem I have is that I do want more government involvement with healthcare, but only of a certain type. A type which I'm not sure our government can really fulfill, especially with many citizens' inability to separate their moral beliefs from the rights and choices that everyone should be able to have under the tenets of our government.

I don't expect a perfect solution, but I certainly do not want one which is yet another platform for religious conservatives, or anyone for that matter, to restrict our choices in healthcare. Can this be done?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Fire Season

Nice sunsets. Not nice air quality.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Explaining my Absence with Pics

I've been sort of busy lately what with birthdays and anniversaries, planning trips to other continents, planning trips to our friendly neighbors to the north, and planning trips to states with active volcanoes. Getting my computer fixed was also a big one as my optical drive died and I got my topcase replaced for discoloration (yay!). Oh, and of course, living the high life for one night here. (Pics to come another day for that last one).

Speaking of pics, we also bought a new camera! We've finally replaced our old 2 MP (yes, you read that right) digital that had full manual controls--the reason we've kept it for so long--and got a new ultra-compact one!

You must admit, however, that the old camera could take some nice pics:

Anywho, one of the awesome things about our new camera is that it has optical image stabilization, particularly helpful in macro and night shots. And it's not that digital IS crap that just changes the ISO making the shot really grainy.

So, I did a little test on my 5th wedding anniversary flowers:
New Camera:

Old Camera:
As you can see, the image stabilization makes a big difference because my hands were clearly shaking from the lack of martinis in my blood. Oh and the color is better too. I'll put up the cool Color Accent photos I took on flickr.

But most of all, I've been obsessing about my damned tomato plants. I bought 6 this year with the hopes that I'll get a fully ripe tomato from at least one plant, even if I kill the rest or those damned devil rabbits from Night of the Lepus eat our entire garden like they did last year (including my ripening tomatoes!). Oh, the destruction they caused.

I've watched as the first round of blossoms just fell off. I've only grown early variety tomatoes so this was a new thing for me and it freaked my shit out: was I watering them too much? was it getting too cold outside at night? WHY?!? Then, I noticed that the blossoms would open widely and then close, something that my early tomato varieties never did--the blossoms just stayed open and the little tomato grew out of that for everyone to see.

Just yesterday, we went to the garden to water it and I will share with you the marvels of our garden (because it is so utterly exciting).

The tomatoes are the newest thing:
Note that I didn't plant the seedlings until early June, so I'm a bit behind with the maturation of the garden.

But, can you see it??? There's a tomato there! Well, I learned that the non-early variety tomato blossoms do close back up (I assume to protect the fruit from the heat/sun) and then the little tomatoes eventually peep out. Meanwhile, I've had about 2 weeks of thinking I had a black thumb for tomatoes.

In case you don't believe me:

Yep! That there is a tiny baby tomato.

We also planted bell peppers:
A baby bell pepper. This is very exciting.

And lettuce, which likes it here:
And the arugula that bolted because it hasn't been as foggy as normal:

And finally, the cucumbers (well, just one in this photo):

I'm liking the new camera--especially how portable it is.