First for the trivial stuff. I’ll write well-crafted, important prose later.
Things are calm in the Radloff household at the moment. I’m sitting here quietly listening to MP3’s randomly play. (Credence Clearwater Revival at the moment, their version of “Midnight Special,” which was originally recorded by Leadbelly, I believe, in the early 20th century. I guess Mr. Leadbelly was incarcerated for some reason, and heard the other inmates singing a song about the Midnight Special – a train that would come along the tracks next to the prison. Rumor had it that if the light from the Midnight Special reflected into your cell you’d have good luck, or you’d escape, or something. It’s a good story and I’m sure I’ve mangled it beyond all recognition. It’s early and my brain is fuzzy.) I’ve been going through the hundreds of digital pictures I’ve taken in the past week. I’ve been too busy to tweak the color and file them away properly, so I’m doing that this morning whilst the songs sing gently.
My beloved bride of five years is snoozing in the other room. Judging by the way she’s snuggled into the blankets, just her little nose poking out, it looks like she’s got her morning plans well under way. (Or is that phrase supposed to be “under weigh?” It could be a nautical term, I suppose. Oh well. I digress.)
Ooh – Jethro Tull’s “Bungle in the Jungle” just came on. Good song.
The cat, Fruitloop, is curled into a fuzzy little ball at my feet. He occasionally pokes his pink nose up and squints at me, making sure I’m still here, and to verify that there still isn’t any nice tuna fish nearby.
“Catfish Blues” just came on. Not the Hendrix version – a live Chris Duarte recording, nineteen minutes and forty-nine seconds long. If you like Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, you’ll like Duarte.
Anyway, I’m gonna make a cup of coffee and get back to tweaking and filing my photos. I shall be back in naught but a nonce. Meanwhile, here’s what my computer’s choosing for me to listen to (thought it’s not a truly random selection, I’ve got the hard-core punk and funk and country filtered out):
- JRZ System – R.R. #1 (JRZ used to play in Sioux City a lot, they’re from Omaha)
- Link Wray and the Wraymen – Jack the Ripper (good old surfesque music)
- The Radio Flyers – Let’s Go Out and Play (my buddy Steve played bass for the Radio Flyers)
- Offspring – Original Prankster (kind of a shock after all the nice blues)
- Blue Habit – S.O.S. (I was in a band with Blue Habit’s sax player/singer for a while)
- Steppenwolf – Twisted (live)
- The Odd Squadd – Skinny Girls (I was in a folk band with the drummer, oddly enough)
- Buffalo Springfield – I Am a Child
- Led Zeppelin – Black Dog (so THAT’S how it’s supposed to go…)
- The Yardbirds – Rack My Mind
- Jimi Hendrix & the Experience – Stone Free
- The Beatles – I’m So Tired (I’ve never been in a band with anyone from the Beatles)
- The Radio Flyers – I Wanna Talk to You (I wonder how my buddy Steve is doing…?)
- Cream – Sunshine of Your Love
- Led Zeppelin – Since I’ve Been Loving You
- Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode
- The Kinks – All Day and All of the Night
- Pearl Jam – Running with the Devil, live (wow – they sucked at this song)
- Michael Hedges – Rock & Roll Part II (done with an acoustic guitar)
- Blues Traveler – You Reach Me
Odd how I have 2,897 songs in that particular playlist and it repeated several artists in that short time period.
Interesting photos (I had a lot more, but Blogger is having trouble with their photo upload thing again. It’s frustrating.):
If you look behind it, you can see Mr. Bacon himself.
(This is not PhotoShopped – it’s actually a real picture.)
The Puffy Man
My beloved wife has stirred. “Ve need to talk,” she said to me in that nifty accent of hers. I turned the computer down (“I’m Tired” by Savoy Brown was playing). Coffee in hand, I wandered to the living room, where she was perched on the couch. It should be noted, by the way, that the trip from the computer/dining room/library to the living room took two steps. Big house. “What’s up, Buttercup?” I said.
“Do you vant to get dental insurance this year?” she asked. Since Record Printing Company, where I’m currently enslaved, changed insurance companies last year I’ve been on Dagmar’s insurance. Record Printing’s plan is poopy – they charge a hundred bucks a month, but the insurance isn’t really worth it… One of my co-workers can barely walk due to his aching back, but he can’t afford to go to the doctor to get it fixed. Insurance won’t cover it, you see, so he’s stuck being in pain. “You’ve been having dat visdom tooth,” my wife continued. “Maybe if we have insurance you can have dem pulled.”
“How much will it cost?” I asked. “It would be nice to get some work done on my pearly yellows.” My teeth are a bit brighter now that I’ve quit smoking, but the stains are probably going to last a lifetime, unfortunately. “And that pesky wisdom tooth does hurt.” I’ve been teething for eight or ten months now. Sucks. “It’s coming in sideways. It’s pushed all my other teeth over.”
“For to put you on the dental plan will fifty-eight dollars a month cost.”
I spit my coffee out. “Fifty-eight bucks A MONTH?” I asked. “Just for dental?”
“Well,” she said, “I get all my insurance free. We pay thirty-five dollars a month for your health insurance. So all we’d pay for everything vood be less than ninety dollars a month. Dat’s not bad. Some people pay four or five hundred dollars a month for insurance out of their own pocket.”
By now my mental arithmetic was crunching numbers. “Say sixty dollars a month, times ten is six hundred, plus another hundred and twenty… That’s about seven hundred and twenty dollars a year for insurance. What happens if I only get six hundred dollars worth of tooth-pulling done? Then we lose money!”
“Do you know how much they charge at the dentist?” my Viennese Honeybee asked. “You’re not gonna get your teeth cleaned for six hundred dollars. If they pull that wisdom tooth, that’s a couple thousand. Get the insurance. Go to the dentist.”
I have issues with insurance. I personally think that insurance companies are to blame for a lot of what’s wrong with society today. “Oh, don’t worry about it. Insurance will cover it.” There’s the obvious problem with insurance – namely that it’s mandatory. I don’t like being told I have to buy something by law. Why isn’t it a law that everyone must, by law, get business cards printed at the print shop I work for every year? I’d still have insurance, even if it weren’t mandatory, but I hate being told what to do.
Another evil of insurance is that the costs are hidden. Ever go to a doctor and have see the prices posted somewhere? No. Why? Because no one cares how much it costs – if you have insurance, it’s covered. If you don’t have insurance, you die. Why is insurance so expensive? Because the doctors and hospitals charge the insurance companies a gazillion dollars for the slightest thing (we almost got stuck with a six-hundred dollar bill for a simple blood test because the insurance company didn’t want to pay it).
But the worst thing of all is that I must, by law, have flood insurance and car insurance. But yet I have absolutely NO doubt that if I ever needed to use my car insurance, they’d find a way not to pay. They’ve gladly been taking my money for the last 20+ years, raising their rates every now and then even though I’ve never had an accident, but if I’d ever need them to replace my car they’d weasel out of it. Heck, my buddy (college educated professional) has been paying into insurance for years and can’t afford to go to the doctor, because the insurance found a loophole and won’t cover it.
My mother once got into a fender-bender in the church parking lot. She backed into the Sunday School teacher. He jumped out of his car, red in the face, and DEMANDED to know who my mother’s insurance agent was, and said that they damned well better pay. My mother calmly looked at him and said, “Why, you’re my insurance agent, remember?”
But I digress. Again. I was talking about the conversation Dagmar and I were having.
“So, I’ll put you on my insurance,” my beloved said. “Now, what are ve going to do about our health?”
“What’s wrong with my health?” I asked, sipping on my coffee, reaching for a tootsie-roll, eating popcorn.
“You get out of breath if you think too hard,” my wife replied. “You said you’re gaining weight, too. The doctor says you have high cholesterol.” She took my hand, held it for a moment, then looked at it critically. “You’re puffy,” she said, holding a swollen digit. “You’re a puffy man.”
I had to laugh. I love my wife. I truly do. But why does she have to tell me the truth ALL the time? “Puffy? I’m puffy? I’m a puffy man? I’m not puffy! I’m just retaining water…”
“Yes. That’s it. You’re retaining water…”
“I don’t want to exercise.” I said. “I won’t. And you can’t take my popcorn away from me.” I hugged the bowl to my chest. I eased my way over to the M&M’s and Tootsie-Pops and crackers…
“Ve need to exercise,” she replied. “You can keep your popcorn, but maybe not the M&M’s.”
“I don’t want to exercise.” I said. “I won’t.” I started to get out of breath.
“Vhy won’t you exercise?”
“Because I’m puffy. I don’t want people to see me. I’m a puffy man.”
“You can exercise with me,” she said. “We can prance in front of der TV along mit der exercise videos. I won’t look at you.”
“No.” I said. “Maybe I can ride a bicycle. I want a shiny new bicycle. I’d ride it and exercise ever day if I had a shiny new bicycle. And an iPod.”
“Where vood we keep a shiny new bicycle? Ve have no garage door, und the neighbors stole our weed-whacker last year.”
“In the living room, next to the lawn mower?”
At about that point I pretended to fall asleep to avoid further conversation. That’s my answer to confrontation – sleep. Unfortunately, I have problems sleeping, and my vunderful vife knows it. “Vake up, you,” she said. “Stinker.”
We did eventually get some exercise earlier this afternoon. Unfortunately it didn’t last as long as it used to, and I was indeed left panting and wheezing for quite a while afterwards. I miss smoking…
Why am I one of the very few bloggers to use my real name? I often wonder why people, given the chance to be anonymous, often do so – even if there’s no reason. Some of the best blogs around are written under pseudonyms, which is okay – most of them do have e-mail addresses that you can find if you want to get in touch with the author.
But what really gets to me are the people who comment anonymously. I’m not talking about the person who quickly dashes off a note saying, “Good post,” or “thought-provoking.” I’m talking about the anonymous (and hence cowardly) people who read a blog and leave anonymous comments slamming the author or the author’s opinions, often using obscenities, incendiary language and faulty logic. I see this most often from right-wingers leaving obscene posts on liberal blogs. (That is an admittedly skewed statistic, since I spend more time reading liberal blogs myself. If liberals are being rude on conservative blogs I simply don’t see it, since I don’t read conservative blogs very often).
If you have an opinion, have the stones to admit to it. If you don’t feel strongly enough to sign your name to your opinion, then your opinion is worthless.
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin signed on to Senator Russ Feingold’s proposal to censure United States President George Walker Bush for breaking the law regarding wiretaps. Way to go! Mr. Harkin just made me proud. Whether Mr. Feingold’s proposal is “timed right” or not, I’m proud that Mr. Harkin is willing to force the president to obey this nation’s laws.
On the other hand, Sioux City has been embarrassed again by Mr. Chris Rants, a republican in the Iowa legislature who blocked gambling legislation in the state for a few days “so we can go back and talk to our constituents,” (I paraphrase). Fine and dandy, but he didn’t come back to Sioux City to talk about gambling. Instead he and a lobbyist from the gambling industry flew south and spent a weekend golfing. That’s improper. So is Mr. Rants openly taking money from the tobacco industry and blocking legislation limiting the use of tobacco. It’s also improper for Mr. Rants to stand alone in opposing legislation to limit interest rates (there’s a company in Sioux City that charges something like 560% interest on short term loans) to 36%. Mr. Rants is the only one in the statehouse that openly wants to keep the poor people poor via high interest rates such as this. Mr. Rants is an embarrassment and should be removed from office.
I just heard an interview on National Public Radio with Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. President Johnson-Sirleaf is very eloquent, intelligent, gracious and open. From that brief interview, I’d gladly vote for her in any election.
Jon Stewart of the Daily Show made me laugh again. Talking about how exhausted Mr. Bush is, Mr. Stewart said, “You don’t know what it’s like, working 24 hours a week, seven months a year…”