Friday, August 31, 2012

Health care for Americans who can't afford health insurance

Of course all 50 U.S. states and possessions each have their own health services for the indigent, both alone and in concert with the federal government, depending on the program, but often we forget the biggest and oldest provider of all, the U.S. Public Health Service, under the Surgeon General, Department of HHS.

The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is a team of more than 6,500 full-time, well-trained, highly qualified public health professionals dedicated to delivering the Nation’s public health promotion and disease prevention programs and advancing public health science. As one of America’s seven uniformed services, the Commissioned Corps fills essential public health leadership and service roles within the Nation’s Federal Government agencies and programs. Officers serve their country in communities that are most in need by providing essential health care services to underserved and disadvantaged populations.

If you have unmet medical needs because you have no insurance and low income, seek help at the nearest USPHS hospital, clinic, or field facility. 

Learn more about the USPHS services, and also how you can find a career as a civilian medical professional or uniformed PHS officer with them here.

Native Americans receive medical care without cost to them, regardless of income, through the Indian Health Service (IHS) and, if low income, also are eligible to participate in all low-income programs offered by the states and federal government. Native Americans do not pay for doctor visits, surgeries, hospital stays, wellness care, emergency care, maternity and pediatric, prescriptions, or medical equipment. Medical, dental, vision, hearing, addiction, and counseling services are available free of charge to Native Americans through IHS facilities and clinics.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Learning you

Two housewives, Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel, who had been investigating human personality traits around Katherine's kitchen table in the early 1920s, were excited when the psycologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung published his 1923 book on the same subject. They took his findings to a new level, extrapolating his theories to create a repeatable personality preference survey, finally producing the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator which is widely used in psychological and employment testing today. Katherine started her research partly as a result of being disgusted with the waste of war, during WWI, thinking there must be a better way for men to resolve their disputes.

Katherine was home schooled and home schooled her daughter Isabel as well. Isabel's father, Lyman Briggs, worked in the field of physics, being director of the Bureau of Standards in Washington. Isabel grew up in Washington and later attended Swarthmore  College, earning a degree in political science, She met her husband of 61 years, "Chief" Clarence Myers. during college.

Like her mother, Isabel was concerned with stopping conflict among people, and intensified her research when WWII came. She was allowed to test over 5000 students at George Washington University, and studied the results for years, looking for patterns among dropouts and successful students.

I'm guessing she was an intuitive since she was so fixated on patterns.

Ok, so they were very educated housewives.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Prince's Panties

There was once a prince who acted strangely in that
He thought life was stupid and it was for him so
He made up a world in which he liked the things we liked
But he had different reasons why he liked them

He liked butter for its color
He would order toast and color
Waitresses, confused would utter
Sir, I've never heard of toast and color

He'd get angry and begin to choke them
The law would come, and they'd arrest and book him
So his life was a mess of trouble
Still he kept it up

He had dogs, a hundred cocker spaniels and he
Called them panties, 'cause they did that mostly, and he
Did not care at all if they would bark and fetch sticks
Run and jump, roll over, and play dead tricks

No, he liked them only for their panting
So he would run them ragged, but one day they got fed up
And chased the prince right up against the fence
And the prince was eaten by his panties
—Mason Williams

Those of you who can remember back to Classical Gas and bought the Greyhound album know that this song sounds much better with the strings behind it.

The Prince's Panties

Classical Gas:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Stalking Poetry

Is there a difference between metaphor and allegory? If so, what is that difference?

If I remember from my old high school American Literature classes correctly - and I probably don't - the difference between a metaphor and a simile is pretty straightforward in that a simile has "like" or "as" next to it, comparing two things, and a metaphor is simply a substitute for the actual thing in question.

Loose as a goose. Crazy like a fox. Two bad similes, but similes nonetheless.

I always fall back on the metaphor-rich poem "The Highwayman" when I scratch my brain for examples of metaphors: "The road was a ribbon of moonlight. The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas." Not "as" or "like" like similes - just a poetic substitute.

"I have fallen through a trapdoor of depression," said Mark, who was fond of theatrical metaphors. (An example from my dictionary.)

Some of my most favorite metaphors and similies escape into the air from the lines of the poetry of American poet Carl Sandburg: "... a voice like a north wind blowing over corn stubble in January." "Sunday night and the park policemen tell each other it is as dark as a stack of black cats on Lake Michigan..." And - my favorite, I think - "Mamie beat her head against the bars of a little Indiana town..."

I feel rather silly speaking of these things here, since there are several people who write and even teach these things for a living, who might pass by here and chuckle at my pained explanations. But remember, this blog is mostly me talking to myself, trying to interpret, trying to become clear.

Now, as to "allegory," I think it is much like metaphor except there is often a hidden meaning (or perhaps moral) that makes the reader think a bit about what the writer is really saying. Underlying meanings, sometimes, these allegories. And sometimes longer stories in themselves. For example, I think a lot of the old fairy tales are allegories of good vs. evil. Certainly Aesop's Fables are meant to suggest some moral. Jesus often spoke in parables, another form of allegory, meant to convey a complex subject in more simple terms. Poetry, of course, uses all these forms as tools of language, but usually in a shorter space.

All of this ties into poetry, the fun of poetry, the satisfaction of poetry; and I intend to learn more about it. If not to actually write it, at least to be better informed so as to enjoy it more.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Deism, Deist

A deist is a person who believes in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. According to my dictionary, the term was used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.

Studying American history - what little there is of it, of course - one finds many people who claimed to be deists, including many of the so-called "founding fathers" of the United States.

"Accepting the existence of a creator on the basis of reason" - I assume this means they felt the universe around them was too complicated to have occurred without some sort of rational plan. This, of course was before the enlightened theories of Darwin and like-thinkers. Atheists, of course, do not believe in the theory of the universe coming into existence with some sort of intelligent design.

Darwinism, I should make sure I add, does not preclude the existence of a Prime Mover; he was more interested in making connections between the various species. I don't know how much he was concerned with following them back to the point of actual origin (the point where a "life force" existed where there was none a second before.) I don't see anything wrong with his reasoning as far as Natural Selection goes.

If there is life in the universe besides our own, and it would seem almost ludicrous to think there is not, given the astonishing number of possibilities, then one might assume there are also other ways those life forms could have arisen, other than by applying Mr. Darwin's assumptions to them.

Anyway, that is off the track. I only meant to define what a deist was because I was reading about Thomas Jefferson, supposedly a deist, saying all men were created equal, and pondering what he meant by that. Men are obviously NOT created equal, nor is equality (to a person who thinks like I do) any proper goal of humankind.

I am starting to like that word, "humankind."

•Do you think Thomas Jefferson was a deist by his actions and writings?
•What do you think he meant by "All men are created equal?"
•What do you think the definition of "life" is? (i.e., something is "alive".)

I find it odd that the reverse side of the "Great Seal of the United States", pictured above, shows the "eye of knowledge" or "eye of Divine Providence" or "God watching over mankind" if most of these intellectual folks did not believe in the sort of God who intervened. Or even cared, one assumes.

Friday, August 17, 2012

View from the back porch, shotgun on my lap.

Buy this print here if you want to

I seldom speak of politics. You all know that. And even when I do I am restrained. Respectful. Tolerant.  I am a diplomat, you see, and I mind my own business. It is all I can do to bring myself to blog publicly. Or at least as publicly as 3 regular readers will get me.

I visit a lot of liberal blogs. I have always preferred to read liberal blogs over wingnut blogs. I can't think of much to comment on many, but I still read them. I used to read conservative blogs but they are too repetitious and predictable. Ho hum. Liberal blogs are lying, narrow-minded, holier-than-thou idiots who think they have life all smugly figured out too, but they are MUCH more creative than the silly Republican blogs. Republican blogs make me want to puke with their stupidity. Democrat blogs make me laugh out loud and you can't get mad at an idiot if he makes you laugh. Not me, anyway. So give me the Liberals any day. It goes without saying none of these blogs I'm talking about are owned by the intelligent and discriminating three people who read MY blogs. Obviously they are smart if they do that.

I was just sitting here in my rocking chair wondering why anyone in their right mind would ever vote for Romney. I sure won't.

First off, he's a Mormon. That means he wears modest underwear and stores up food against scarcity. It also means he doesn't drink alcoholic beverages or even hot tea. Or anything else with caffeine in it. He seems to be honest enough, at least when compared to the usual lot of septic-tank-slurping politicians. He's required by his religion to devote one night a week to just his family. He's learned to invest for the future and seems to have made a lot of money. No visible tattoos. Clean cut (but that may just be a disguise.) I haven't heard anything bad about his kids. He's been married to the same woman for probably 40 years.

What a freak, right?

Why would anyone want somebody like this in charge?

Well, be that as it may, I won't be voting for Romney. I won't be voting for the Baptist beer guy, either. I don't really like politicians at all. Last presidential election I voted for the Green woman. Can't remember her name now. Jesus, what a mistake. Now I find myself leaning toward the Libertarian persuasion and might therefore vote for my old Governor Gary Johnson. He balanced our budget I think. Twice. Unless I was dreaming. Unfortunately he has always wanted to legalize pot and I make too much money selling it now when it's illegal to ever want to see it legalized. I would have to find something else to do if he legalizes the stuff. Not to worry though, Gary has no chance of ever becoming president even though he'll be on the ballet in quite a few states.

There's a song that keeps running through my head distracting my political thought. I will write it down in hopes of exorcising it so I can continue. Please don't think the lyrics below is the end of my post and just leave. I promise not to write it in its entirety. Thank you.

And I know a father
Who had a son
He longed to tell him all the reasons
For the things he'd done
He came a long way
Just to explain
He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping
Then he turned around and headed home again

God only knows
God makes his plan
The information's unavailable
To the mortal man
We work our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe we're gliding down the highway
When in fact we're slip slidin' away

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away
—Paul Simon

Those of you who really know me know that I would never REALLY sell pot, but I am adding this disclaimer for the newcomers.

Just a thought... I wonder if it would be possible to just go 8 years without having a president at all? Is there a way we could do that? Or are we obligated? I know the constitution outlines the qualifications and duties of a president, but it doesn't say we HAVE to have one all the time, does it? It may. Anyhow.

I have a dear blogging friend who thinks we should erase all the state boundary lines and just have one big happy central government. This friend thinks uniformity is where the future lies, and one big central government can insure that we are uniformedly uniform in all things. I think that would entail sending just about all our money to Washington and trusting them to do what's best for us. Each building would have exactly 14 handicapped parking places no matter what, even the private residences. But I guess there wouldn't be any more private residences left anymore, would there? So one less thing to worry about. We could put out forest fires in the West much more efficiently if we all did it the same way. Uniformedly. One at a time, based on the seniority of the fire. as verified by some government bean counter's tally. I don't know about the rest of you, but speaking for myself I can tell you I DAMN sure don't want to be bothered thinking for myself.

Did you know that Lyndon Johnson became a hippie before he died? At least he let his hair grow out and stopped bathing. Remember the hippies demonstrating in front of the White House, chanting, "Hey, Hey, LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?" Those were the good old days. Imagine if he had been a Republican, hey? - or if he hadn't signed all those Civil Rights laws? Zowie. His ass REALLY would have been grass if he hadn't done that. Anyway, he let his hair grow long and took to just hanging out on his ranch all remorseful-like. That's another liberal politician roasting weenies in hell tonight. I was lying about him not bathing. I guess it doesn't matter now that he's in hell right now surrounded by the families of 50,000 dead teenagers with pitchforks.

Idiot Democrats. Idiot Republicans. Idiot politicians. Idiot us for electing them.

"Children and politicians are notorious for either not understanding the consequences of their actions or refusing to believe that the same actions will always result in the same consequences. It is fascinating to ponder why we punish children for not heeding the consequences of their actions, yet vote for politicians who promise to ignore history and repeat the mistakes of the past." —Robert Ringer

"If I desire a Rolls-Royce, that's my business. It becomes your business only if I arbitrarily decide that you have an obligation to buy it for me, on the grounds that it's a "need" and that therefore I am "entitled" to it. The fact that I may call my desire for a Rolls-Royce a need is, of course, semantic nonsense. I may just as well call it a want, because regardless of what word I assign to it, I still have no moral right to force you to help me acquire it just because I happen to want it." —Robert Ringer

Yes, he's a Libertarian. Not running for office, though.

Vote? For what? For whom? Obama? Why? Ryan? Why? Romney? Why? Biden? Come ON! How did we let this get so out of hand? Are these REALLY our best and brightest? We need Jesus to come back and clean out the temple again. Or something.

It's a good thing I don't write about politics much. Bad for the blood pressure. I just went back and deleted all the vile stuff, and this is what is left for you to read. Thank you.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thinking too much again

I’ve been reading about various types of governments and various theories for the best kind of societies. Right now, I am trying to absorb a bit more of Karl Marx’s vision for humanity. I can only absorb Mr. Marx in small doses, so it is taking me a while to get it. Personally, I don’t think Karl paid enough attention to human nature. That’s just my opinion. His ideas seem to be working well in Greece, of course, and well enough to where France is going to try it on for size now, I hear. The current batch of leaders in my own country want very much to play the Marx game too, have made a downpayment on it, would do more but for the pesky Republicans. It is working here too, slowly but surely, as more and more people begin to think that working is for suckers.

If one attempts to define an ideal society, or if one sets out to establish an “ideal” government from scratch, it would seem that the first thing one would have to do would be to come to an agreement about “human nature.” That is, you would first have to know what it is people want their lives to be like. Once you know this, you can begin working on inventing a structure that would meet the requirements.

It seems to me that if a survey were taken from a random sampling of 1000 people in varying circumstances, asking them to write down 20 or so things they would definitely want to see in a new society or new government, most of the things on that list would be similar. Certainly the survey-taker would be able to come up with a “top ten” concensus that the new society or government would have to include in its structure. Beyond that top 10 or 15, though, we would start getting more things on the list that were specific to the individual’s dreams or wants, and the list would no longer be general enough to define a society or government that would be workable or be responsive to the vast majority of the people’s most important wants and needs. You would have to draw the line somewhere as to what a society or government can or can not logically include in it’s basic framework.

The word “Utilitarianism,” when used to describe a particular political system or society of people, refers to the doctrine that “actions are right if they are useful to or for the benefit of a majority.” Some might go further and assert that “an action is right insofar as it promotes happiness” and “the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people should be the guiding principle of conduct.” Those things which only benefited a minority of people would have to be paid for by those who wanted those things. [Quotes from a dictionary definition of Utilitarianism. Non-quotes are my own words.] Of course, this concept would not allow for a zillion empty handicapped parking spots or costly ramps to places nobody ever goes in a wheelchair. No more Affirmitive Action, either. So Utilitarianism wouldn’t work in our society today.

I’ve thought a lot about my own idea of a perfect society or government if I were setting one up from scratch. My conclusion is very likely different than yours, but I think my idea would be an individual living free on his own land, taking care of himself and his family if he had a family, getting along with his neighbors and helping them when they needed help, pooling resources when some community project was needed. Whatever an individual wanted beyond this would be provided by teaming up with like-minded people who wanted the same thing, and otherwise leaving other people alone to work on their own life desires. In my mind I would see a society or government facilitating these desires, providing protection, and minding its own business on a larger scale. I don’t see a government or society which feels its duty is to compile a list of things it thinks would be best for “Its” people, and then forcing them to work and pay for the things on that list.

Odd: it strikes me that is the kind of society that the settlers of this country wanted too, and why they fled Europe. I wonder if there is some way that original concept of personal freedom could be extrapolated over hundreds of millions of people? Probably not.

The original pre-white-invasion owners of my country worked out a system of living that served their own needs and strived to provide for their wants. Their society was a bit harsher for people who didn't want to work, I suppose. But, as any Native American will tell you, incoming numbers soon get hard to absorb. The individualistic kind of life I've yearned for above most likely is not going to work for 300 million plus people. At least not for the non-farming New Yorkers. I suppose that means we have no chance of starting over and doing it right this time, but perhaps we can make positive changes to what we have. The only way to accomplish that kind of massive change would be to, again, ask ourselves exactly what it is we want. Unfortunately, my own "survey list" includes things like taking care of the helpless and genuinely needy, so I am not one to preach. Call me an idealist. That's better than calling me bear snot.

I must admit that I do have daydreams of a government benefit office where all the folks seeking welfare assistance and fake disability checks were instead given access to a few acres of land, a bag of seeds, and a couple of hogs and told to work or starve. But that’s another story for another time.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Zeroing In on Soubriquet's Poo Wi-Fi

Soubriquet over at Grit in the Gears blog recently did a tongue-in-cheek post about a dog park in Arizona which trades Wi-Fi minutes for bags of dog poo.  At least I THINK it was tongue in cheek. The dog park was located in Gilbert, Arizona, a beautiful city in the Phoenix east metro area (we used to call these cities "suburbs" but today there is no longer any open land between them. Still, they have their own mayors and city councilors and crime and corruption.) I know Gilbert pretty well because I go there frequently to visit family, and I know the dog park - or at least I know where it is; the actual family dog frolicking is done by the younger family members.

Over the years I have watched the orange groves be bulldozed over for parking lots and more and more houses. No more big orange groves along north Gilbert Road. I've watched the corn fields and pasture land give way to more parking lots and more houses. The dairy cows are gone now and the morning air now smells like McDonald's french fries instead of, well, dairy cows. People still have orange trees and grapefruit trees and lemon trees in their back yards, and enough bougainvillea and tropical bushes along the freeways to gag a maggot, but no more huge groves of oranges to speak of. The citrus industry in Arizona has gone to the dogs, if you'll pardon the expression. I used to like the rows of orange trees in the traffic medians in Mesa, but these have long since given way to extra traffic lanes and more left-turn bays. The farmers are now multi-millionaires, so there's that benefit.

What up-and-coming city could make it without at least one dog park? Even my little city in New Mexico is building a dog park even as I type this. The city says we would be fools not to build one since it only will cost $56,000. Maybe they are right. Personally, I get a little bitter when they tell me I can only use the hose to water every other day for 45 minutes and to take out my grass and put in rocks, while they brag about how big the fountain is going to be in the new dog park.

Anyway, back to Soubriquet's post. It must have seemed to him a far-away oddity. The purpose of this post is to let him know there really is such a place as Gilbert (although Arizona State University is next door in a city called Tempe) and there really is such a dog park. Just enlarge the maps below and I'll zero you in to the wondrous dog park. I'll spare you actual photos of the park and sundry dogs jumping on me.

I like dogs. Don't get me wrong. It's not their fault, after all.

1. Overview of where Gilbert is. Can't yet see the dog park.

2. Closer. Zeroing in. Still no dog park. Per se. It's there.

3. Now we are at least in Gilbert. Are you excited? Who can spot the dog park?
(Lower right on above map)

4. DaDAH! Paydirt! Take any of the Irish-named streets up to the dog park. Enjoy.

5. Satellite image. The only thing missing seems to be... dogs. Maybe we should have the satellite zoom in a bit more. But I don't want to get bitten here. Or pooed upon. Even for free Wi-Fi.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


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