Category Archives: Pharmaceutical

It’s obscene

I didn't draw this, Martin Shkreli

Whomever drew this is a minor diety…

I know this is old news, but whenever I trip over the fact that in America pharmaceutical companies are legally allowed to jack up prices on medications that keep people alive by over 5,500 percent without warning… It kinda torques me off a bit.

Martin Shkreli is still an immoral, unethical, pathetic excuse for an American in my opinion.


A Conversation


“Yeah, Little?”

“I think I’m old enough to start to figure this stuff out now.”

I stared at the embers for a moment. The warmth of a rare fifty-degree day in northern Iowa in November had lost it’s battle with the evening chill, but I was loathe to give up the day just yet. I pulled my coat a little tighter, wishing I could pull the picnic table a little closer to the fire pit.

“What stuff, Honey?” I took a sip of my beer, wondering if we’d reached the point where the cooler was keeping the last can cold or if it was by now keeping it from freezing.

There was a pause from the other side of the table, then, “I’ve seen this happen before. I know I don’t have the best attention span, but I have a good memory. This happens every year, doesn’t it?”

“What happens, Little?”

“The trees. They look dead. But they’re not, are they – they’re just sleeping. They’ll come back again, won’t they, Papa.”

“Yep, the trees will come back in the spring,” I answered. Bonfires give a person a sense of calmness and patience that is increasingly rare in today’s world. “They always do.”

We sat together for a few moments, listening to the sound of nothing, the darkness gathering its strength from the shadows. We’re normally content with a comfortably silent companionship, but after a few minutes Little stirred again. “Papa?”


Slowly, “When the trees come back in the spring… Do you think we’ll all be here to see them?” She stared at the fire.

Another sip of beer. “What do you mean, Honey?”

“I’m old enough, Papa. I think I get it, sometimes. Things die in the winter.” She glanced at me, then back at the fire. “The trees, they come back, but some don’t. The plants, they come back, but some don’t.” She paused. “Every year it’s different.” A longer pause, then, “Will we all be here? In the spring?”

I took my gaze off the fire and looked at Little Buttercup. “Pretty deep questions for a five-year-old.”

She looked back at me, brown eyes wide in the firelight, “Some would say I’m almost 35.”

Papa and Buttercup

Papa and Buttercup

We stared at each other for a moment. I blinked first. “Am I really talking about mortality with a Golden Retriever?” Little Buttercup looked back at the fire, her silence an answer.

Bonfires, even in the chill of late November, bring a contemplative calm to conversations. We enjoyed a moment or two of quiet, thinking our thoughts. Then, from the puddle of fur at my feet, “I’m serious, Papa. I see what happens. I’m not as silly as you think. I need to know, will we all be here in the spring when the trees come back?”

“Oh, of course.” The words were uneasy.

“What about Nitty-Kitty,” she asked, lifting her head from her paws. “I worry about her.”

“So do I, Honey,” I said, “but she’s a tough little kitty.”

“She is,” agreed Buttercup, putting her head back on her paws, staring at the crackling logs. “I try to play chase with her sometimes but she never wants to play.” The fire crackled. “She’s so very small, but she doesn’t know it. Every night she’s out in the woods hunting. I worry sometimes she’ll try to fight that raccoon that lives up in Butterfly Corner and she won’t come back.”

“Me too.” We picked up little Nitty from a shelter years ago knowing she was a barn cat. Her silky black fur is stranded with silver now, but the fierceness of youth is undiminished. “But what can we do? Nitty lives to prowl in the woods – it’s what she loves. If she’s not here in the spring we’ll be sad, but we have to know that she’s doing what she wants to do.”

“Nitty’s tough.” A pause. “I hope she’s here when the trees wake up.”

We stared at the fire, my Golden Retriever and me, letting time slip through us. Then…


“Yeah, Little?”

Little Buttercup never looked away from the fire. “Papa, why doesn’t Mama ever come outside?”

“What do you think?”

The pup was quiet for a moment. “I don’t know. I remember her coming outside once. You were working by the garage and Mama came outside with her walker to talk to you, but she fell in the driveway on the rocks and hurt herself. I tried to help her, but she cried and you ran over and were all upset.” She sat for a moment. “The only time Mama comes outside is when you push her out in her chair and she gets in the car and you take her away. Then when you come home she gets out of the car and goes straight inside again in her chair. She never stays outside to play.” Two big brown eyes looked up at me. “I think maybe being outside hurts Mama? But how can that be?”

“You’re pretty smart for a dog,” I said. I picked up my beer. Empty. I reached into the cooler for the last can, hoping it wasn’t frozen. A sip, then, “You’re right, sort of. Mama gets sick real easy and she always hurts, so it’s not easy for her to come outside. She can’t walk much because it hurts and sometimes standing is hard for her. She wants to come outside and play with you, but it hurts her too much and sometimes the air makes her sick.”

“How can air make someone sick? I breathe it all the time.”

Mama's Last Outing

Mama’s Last Outing

“Oh, she has some allergies,” I answered. A glance at the Goldie Treever was enough to realize she didn’t understand. “There are invisible things in the air that make her sick.” My mind ran ahead, trying to get the words right. “And she has a disease that makes her so gets sick real easy from other people. You and me can come outside any time, and we can play with other people if we want, but Mama can’t. If she is around other people the germs – more invisible things that everyone has – will make her very, very sick. Everyone has germs and they don’t bother most people, but they make Mama really sick every time.” I picked up my frozen beer and took a sip.

Buttercup picked herself up and moved closer, still not quite looking at me. “I worry about Mama.”

“I do too, Little Buttercup.”

She leaned her head on my knee so I could scritch her ears. “When you take me in the car we only go for a little ride,” she said. “But when you take Mama in the car you’re gone a long time and I get lonely in my kennel. If Mama gets sick being outside and she can’t be around people, where do you go?”

“She has to go to her doctors every once in a while,” I answered, pulling my coat a bit tighter.

“What’s a ‘doctors?'”

“Oh, I’m sorry, Cupsy. I forget sometimes… Doctors are people who try to make Mama so she’s not sick all the time.”

“They must not be very good. She’s always sick.”

“Well, they try,” I said. “They’re really very smart people, and they want to help her. But it’s complicated.” I stared at the fire as I continued, “They don’t really know why she’s so sick all the time, and they only have a few minutes to see her so they don’t have time to really think about it much. But they do the best they can.”

“I wish they could do better. I wish Mama wasn’t sick. I wish Mama could throw the ball for me like you do sometimes when you’re not busy.”

Nothing hurts quite like honesty from an innocent you love. She continued, after a pause, “I wish you weren’t so busy all the time. You’re like those doctors – you only have a few minutes to see me.”

She let that hang in the air while she scratched her ear and I sipped my beer as time whirled inkily about us.

“Yeah, I’m sorry, Honey,” I said. “I wish I could spend more time with you, but I’m just busy.”


“Why what?”

“Why are you too busy to play with me?”

“Well, someone has to pay the bills,” I snapped. “Those damned doctors aren’t cheap. I have to keep working to pay for this you know.”

She sat up sharply. “Wait. You mean to tell me that there are people who can help Mama, but they’re too busy – and you have to pay them? So you’re too busy to play with me?” She paused. “WAIT A MINUTE!”

I waited whilst my pup cogitated.



“Okay, Papa. Explain this. Mama’s sick. People can help her, but they won’t unless you give them money?”


“So you have to ignore me – and Mama too! – to work to make money to pay these people?”


“If they want to help her why do they need money? Why don’t they just help her?”

“I wish it were that way, Honey,” I said. “But they need equipment and tools to help her, and they had to go to school for a long time to learn how to help people and that’s expensive.”

She flopped down on the ground. “But you said they don’t have time to help her much.”

“They don’t – they only have a few minutes to see her. They have to help a lot of people every day to make enough money to keep helping people, so they can only see people for a few minutes. Mama’s illness is something they can’t really help, but they try.”

“Monkeys are confusing,” said the canine. “These ‘doctors’ must be really poor and live in tiny shacks if they have to work that hard. Why don’t people just give them more money?”

“Oh no,” I replied. “Doctors are usually very rich. They have much, much more money than we do and usually live in really big houses.”

“I don’t get it. If they have a lot of money, why don’t they help people like Mama so she can be healthy and play with me?”

“I know, Honey. It’s confusing.” I sipped the last bit of my frozen beer. “The doctors want to help, but they can’t. Mama’s illness isn’t something anyone really understands. It’s expensive, but we have to keep seeing the doctors because insurance makes us.”

At this point the Golden Retriever named Little Buttercup stood up and stared me right in the eye. “Okay, monkey, what’s an ‘insurance’ and why won’t THEY help Mama?”

This is going to be difficult… “Okay, Honey. Insurance is something people buy to help when they’re sick. You pay in a little bit every month even when you’re healthy, then when you’re sick they give the money back so you can pay the doctors. It’s like a savings account in a way.”

She stared at me with a steadiness that was unnerving. “So this ‘Insurance’ thing make you take Mama to the doctors even though the doctors are expensive and can’t help Mama?”

“It gets worse, Cupsy.” I replied. “When I take Mama to the doctors she’s around other people. Remember how I said being around other people makes Mama sick? So when I take her to the doctors, they don’t help her much AND it makes her sicker every time.” I shivered as the fire waned. “But the insurance people won’t give Mama her money if she doesn’t go to the doctors because if she doesn’t they think she must not really be sick. So she has to go to the doctors and get sick and I have to work to pay their fees so insurance will believe she’s sick and will give her her money.”

She blinked at me. “Who in the world made up this system?”

“Beats me.”

“But wait! You said these insurance people give Mama the money she paid them when she’s sick.”


“So why do you have to work so hard that you don’t have any time to spend with me or Mama?”

“Because the insurance people took Mama’s money and decided to keep it. They say she’s not really sick so they shouldn’t have to give her money back. So we have a lawyer to fight the insurance people for us, but we have to pay the lawyer. So I have to work to pay the lawyer to get the money from the insurance people to take Mama to the doctors that can’t help her.”



“My head hurts and I’m sad now. Can we go inside?”

I shook my empty beer can. “Yeah.” I put my hand on her head and scritched her ears. “I hate to say it, Little, but there’s more. Tomorrow we’ll talk about how people around us elected a government that wants to take a different kind of insurance away from us altogether so Mama can’t have any medicine.”

“I hate to say it, Papa, but I think you monkey-folk are really weird.” She stood up with a yawn, picked up her tennis ball, and headed for the house. “At least wolves look after their own and care for their sick.” A pause as she trotted up the stairs and stood by the door, waiting for someone with thumbs to let her in.


“Yeah, Little?”

“Do you think Mama will see the trees? Will Mama be here in the spring?”

“Yeah, of course she’ll be here.”


“Yeah, Little?”

“Why are you crying?”

“Let’s just go inside, shall we?”


A Few Facts About CVID

We found a rather concise explanation of CVID on Yoni Maisel’s blog. I’ve altered it just a bit, but he did the work:

What It Is: 
Common Variable Immune Deficiency – A rare, genetically determined, immune-system disorder. The cause remains unknown.

Is it common:
No. Approximately 1 in every 50,000 individuals have the disease according to the National Institutes for Health.

What People With CVID Lack:
Life-saving and life-sustaining antibodies. Those with CVID simply do not produce them in sufficiently effective amounts or at all.

Living in Fear:
People with CVID fear pathogens of all types: bacteria, fungi, parasites, protozoals, and more. They realize that pathogens which might only affect others mildly have potentially life-threatening repercussions for them.

Conditions Associated With CVID:
There are numerous secondary auto-immune diseases and a highly-increased predisposition to various types of malignancies associated with CVID. Lymphoma, for instance, has an 11-fold increase in CVID – that’s 1100%. Those with CVID often have respiratory problems as well, such as severe, uncontrolled asthma. 

Delay in Diagnosis:
According the the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF), there is an average delay in diagnosis of 12 years from the onset of symptoms, with nearly a quarter of patients experiencing a delay of over 20 years. This, unfortunately, represents a very protracted period of being ill with nobody knowing quite what is wrong, and can lead to permanent, irreversible damage. It usually takes a very perceptive and proactive physician or specialist to connect the dots and follow up with diagnostics.

What Keeps CVID Sufferers Alive:
Regular intravenous or subcutaneous infusions of immunoglobulin (antibodies).

How to Remain Healthy:
People with CVID depend upon antimicrobials: antibiotics, anti-fungals, anti-parasitics, etc. They tend to be on these agents quite often and for longer durations than our “normal” counterparts. (This can often lead to even more health issues.) 

Who Figured This All Out?
Dr. (Colonel) Ogden Bruton (1908-2003) – pediatrician and Chief of Pediatrics at Walter Reed Army Hospital. Although he discovered the related PI disorder “agammaglobulinemia,” Dr. Bruton was the first researcher to uncover Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders.

The Face of Immunodeficiency
David Vetter, the Original “Bubble-Boy”. Although what David suffered from, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, is somewhat different than CVID, David has become the everlasting face of Primary immune Deficiency.

Daily Lifestyle:
Aside from suffering more frequent illnesses than the normal population, CVID patients probably don’t live much differently than most others… but with far more caution and awareness of risks and dangers to our immune-system health. When our immunoglobulin levels are high (post-infusion) we tend to be rather “normal.” When they are down, we tend to be fatigued and very susceptible to illnesses.

Life Expectancy:
According to the Mayo Clinic, with proper treatment a 20-year survival rate is 64% for male patients and 67% for female patients. 

Where Does The Future Lie:
Probably in adult stem-cell technology which has already made significant inroads in the treatment of the Primary Immunodeficiency Disorder Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID).

FedEx is inferior

What’s Wrong with FedEx?

This is a picture of Mick, our UPS man, showing how it’s SUPPOSED to be done. 

The Photography Shipment

Last October we finished the last of our wedding photo shoots for the season. As is standard I ordered a custom DVD case and DVD as a presentation piece for the couple. I’ve done this many times with no problems. I placed the order and received a confirmation saying the order would be delivered a few days later on that Thursday. Great, no problem. I e-mailed my customer and said I’d have the photos ready for them by the end of the week. They were very excited and anxious to get their pictures!

The next day I received an e-mail from the photo lab saying I’d made a mistake on the order and they couldn’t start the processing until I fixed it. No biggie, I fixed the problem, and called them to upgrade the shipping to next-day to ensure the product still arrived in time to meet my deadline in spite of my goof. It cost me about thirty bucks, but I’d rather lose the money than have a product go out late and lose a customer.

The photo lab always shipped UPS in the past, and both the lab and UPS had always been very, very dependable, so I was surprised with Thursday slipped away into evening and there had been no delivery. I checked the tracking info – for some reason the lab had shipped the order FedEx instead of UPS. My heart sank. FedEx has a nasty habit of delivering our packages to a post office in a town 25 miles away and letting the United States Postal Service make the actual delivery. This would be fine, except when FedEx hands the package off to the USPS they mark it as “Delivered” and claim the package was delivered on time, yet it may take the Post Office several more days to get the package to us. It’s very, very inconvenient when you’re trying to plan something. Sure enough, the package was marked as “Delivered,” yet I had no product.

I e-mailed the photo lab and told them the shipment hadn’t arrived, even though I’d paid quite a bit extra to ensure it would get here on time to meet my commitments. They never answered me. I e-mailed FedEx as well, but I received no response from them either.

The package finally arrived in the mail the next Saturday, and my customer was very understanding about getting their order a day late, but it wasn’t a fun experience for me to explain to them that I couldn’t meet the deadline.

The Gift

Beloved Wifey and I don’t have much money at the moment, but we did decide to treat ourselves to one holiday gift this year – a cast-iron stovetop grill that caught our attention. “Voodn’t it be nice to be able to grill up a nice chicky-breast?” she said in her neato Germanic accent. “Und you could make sandviches und grilled pineapple. Ve could eat healthy!” So we waited a few days for a sale, then ordered the $25 gadget online (originally $48!) from and called it a Christmas present for both of us.

About a week later I looked up the tracking situation on the griddle doohicky to see when it would be delivered. Hooray – it was to be delivered that very day! Yay! Then I saw who the shipping vendor was and my heart sank. FedEx. We’ve had very bad luck with FedEx in the past. “Well, the tracking software says the grill thing should get here today,” I told Beloved Wifey, “but they sent it FedEx, so it’ll probably be next Monday before it gets here.”

Sure enough, the day came and went with no sign of a FedEx van. We weren’t surprised. The only thing they actually deliver on time is Beloved Wifey’s weekly medical supplies (more on that later).

The next day I waited until past FedEx’s normal delivery time, noted that there still wasn’t a neat grill/griddle thingy sitting by my door, and decided to let know that the delivery was late, just so they know. I went to their website, clicked on the “I Haven’t Received My Package” button, and wrote a short note saying the package isn’t real time-sensitive and it’s not a big problem that it’s late, but FedEx hasn’t delivered the package yet. I turned back to my work and didn’t think any more about it. Until half an hour later when I noticed another tracking e-mail from in my inbox. had immediately shipped out a duplicate order, with rush shipping and a guarantee that the product would arrive the very next day (a Saturday). I was VERY impressed at how fast they handled it! But I was also rather embarrassed – I didn’t need the grill/griddle doohicky the next day, I just wanted to let know that their shipping vendor bobbled their order. I went online and hit the “Life Chat” button at and explained the whole thing to a very nice lady, “I don’t need the second order, I was just letting you know FedEx isn’t very trustworthy around here.” But I was too late – they’d already shipped the duplicate. (It had only been about forty minutes since I’d pushed the “Shipment Did Not Arrive” button. Amazon is GOOD.)

The next day, Saturday, came and went with no shipment. I e-mailed and let them know (this time explicitly stating I didn’t need them to do anything to fix the problem other than let their shipping department know that FedEx missed a “guaranteed” ship date).

I e-mailed FedEx to let them know I was not amused, and that Beloved Wifey gets very expensive medical supplies delivered every week. “It’s not a big deal that our Christmas present was delayed, but the medical supplies are fragile, perishable, and if my wife doesn’t get them on time it could mean some serious health issues for her. Please, when you say you’re going to deliver something to our door, DO IT. Don’t send it to the post office.” (I got a message back about five days later saying, in its entirety, “The package was delivered on the 17th. I hope this resolves the issue.”)

We did get our Christmas grill/griddle chingus the next week, and a duplicate a day later that we now have to ship back. I’ll ship it via UPS.

The Medicine

As I mentioned before, Beloved Wifey gets medical supplies shipped to us on a weekly basis. We were sad when we learned the pharmacy was using FedEx rather than UPS, but there’s not much we can do about it. These shipments are the only time I have any interaction with a FedEx driver as most of the time they choose to send our shipments to us through the post office rather than do their job and deliver the packages to our door – but they must have instructions not to do that with Wifey’s medical treatments as they do deliver them personally.

When we order things that are shipped via UPS the delivery is a glorious occasion. We know about what time Mick, the UPS driver, will be by, so we can watch out the window for him. He always pulls up with a smile and a wave, hugs our dogs, gives them puppy treats, chats with me for fifteen seconds, then smiles and waves and off he goes!

The FedEx guy, on the other hand, has never once smiled. He doesn’t interact at all with our dogs and tries to sort of kick-push ’em out of his way (he’s not kicking our dogs, but he’s not being nice to them either) when he comes up to the porch. He doesn’t come at the same time of day, so I can’t be ready for him and have the dogs kenneled – which I hate doing anyway. He has to know that the packages with the big medical stickers all over them are important, but he just throws it on the ground anyway. Last week I saw him coming up the driveway, kenneled the dogs, and opened the door to see him standing there. He’s literally six inches away from me. He knocked on the door, looked me right in the eye, dropped the package, and walked away without a word. That could have been a $1,500 thud he heard when he dropped it. (The infusions were okay, but it worried me nonetheless.)

This morning Beloved Wifey got a call from the pharmacy in Omaha. It turns out FedEx says they may not be able to deliver her package this week (no explanation), so the pharmacy is sending someone to drive the package up to us in person today. That’s a round trip of about 260 miles that someone has to make because their preferred shipping vendor can’t handle the Christmas rush.

When we use UPS, we never, ever, ever have any problems. The packages are delivered on time, every time. But when we see we’re getting a shipment from FedEx it’s always a crap shoot…

Curmudgeonly Thoughts

TV Woes

Amputations Are Forever

Having spent the last few days on the couch, holding on to my aching tummy, watching TV through a haze of fevered illness, I’ve come to a few conclusions.

The diamond people are evil. Having known about “Blood Diamonds” for the past few years, I find it morally irresponsible and borderline criminal for TV stations to accept advertising money from diamond companies until there is an international organization in place to ensure a diamond’s provenance. Blood, or “conflict” diamonds were declared illegal by the United Nations way back in 2000. If you go to a website sanctioned by the diamond industry (like this one), you’ll quickly learn that according to their statistics, 99.9% of the diamonds on the market are “clean.” I don’t trust this fact, simply because it comes straight from the diamond companies themselves, who stand to lose millions, if not billions of dollars. They also point out that hundreds of thousands of people in Africa are better off due to revenue from diamond sales, and that many of them now have health insurance.

If, however, you go to an independent website (like this one, or Wikipedia) you’ll learn that the diamond industry is funding several intense wars in Africa, and profits from the diamond industry may be linked to al-Queda. In 1996 Sierra Leone’s president asked people to “join hands for peace.” In response, Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front began amputating people’s hands, arms, legs, lips and ears, mutilating over 20,000 and killing over 75,000 people in the last ten years — all in an attempt to control that country’s diamond trade.

Diamonds are pretty things. But please don’t buy them with impunity – do some research to find out where the diamond came from. And don’t trust the salesman! Or the brand name! Canada has some diamond mines…

Another thing that bugs me about the whole deal is how the diamond commercials try to make men feel like they’re failures if they don’t buy their wives or girlfriends $20,000 worth of diamonds for every holiday. Personally, I think that if a woman demands a man to buy her trinkets to prove himself, she has issues. I’ve bought Dagmar a fair share of jewelry, flowers and greeting cards over the years, but never because she expected me to, nor because I felt obligated to do so, and almost never on a holiday. “Every kiss begins with Kay” implies that if I don’t buy my wife a diamond from Kay Jewelers I’ll never have sex again. I resent any company assuming that my wife is that shallow.


My esteemed blog colleague Steakbellie pointed out a while ago in this rather salty post that prescription drug commercials are flooding the airwaves. I don’t blame him for using strong language – I often holler language like that at the TV myself when I see dangerous commercials.

The danger of pharmaceutical commercials is that when people see an ad saying “do you have trouble sleeping?” all of a sudden they think they have a medical problem that causes them insomnia, and all they need to be happy is that particular medicine. “Are the toenails on your left foot sore from two to four on Tuesday afternoons?” Well, now that you mention it…

The problem is that we, as a society, are now telling our doctors what medicine we need rather than letting our doctors diagnose us properly, and that’s dangerous.

No one wants to have heartburn any more. It’s more dramatic and romantic to have an exotic problem like acid reflux disease… So we’re pushing our doctors to give us medication we don’t need — a shot of Pepto-Bismol would probably cure the problem, but we’re happier if we have a $75 bottle of pills that need to be refilled every month. (I’m not trying to downplay acid reflux disease, either. I’m just saying that there seem to be lots of people out there who claim to have the problem when their problem really is the pizza they eat.)

I feel this is a dangerous thing.

As Steakbellie pointed out, this trend is not likely to disappear soon. There’s simply too much money involved. The pharmaceutical companies are making a ton of money selling us drugs we don’t need (notice you never see commercials for generic or low-cost drugs), the advertising executives are living well, and the TV industry is making a ton of money selling ad space to drug companies. Think how much cheaper drugs would be if they weren’t buying half the advertising space available on the airwaves…

Looking At Yourself

Since when is a television show news? When did this start? I think the trend’s been around for a while, but it just now got past the threshold where I now notice it… I was watching a morning news show — the one with the jovial weatherman, one white woman, one minority woman, and one father figure, I’m sure you know which one that is (oh, wait, that does kinda describe all of ’em) — and was surprised at how much time in their “news” show they devoted to other programs on that particular network, treating the TV shows as if they were legitimate news!

I have a hard time picturing Walter Cronkite spending 15 minutes of his half-hour broadcast talking about the Beaver’s wacky antics.

The problem is insidious. There’s nothing technically wrong with any particular show choosing what they consider to be news and putting that up for our consumption, but it sure seems sneaky when they start to disguise propaganda as news. I’ve always wondered how much control corporations have over our news, now I worry even more. (Freedom of the press only applies if you actually own the press. Newspapers and television have to cater not only to their parent corporations, but to their advertisers. If “Ralph’s Cardboard Company” buys half the advertising space in the local newspaper, the likelihood that you’ll hear in that newspaper that Ralph’s Cardboard is carcinogenic is pretty small. This is a bit scary. Think of pharmaceutical companies buying television stations… Would we ever hear of alternative drugs or cheaper medications? Probably not…)

The only good thing about the situation is that it’s easy to avoid. There are so many media outlets these days it’s hard for anyone to corner the news market. If I hear something questionable on the news, I often check BBC to see if and how it’s reported there. (Not that they’re perfect or impartial, but they’re not subject to the same political pressures our news outlets face here in America.) More and more often I’m finding myself searching blogs to check on a news story as well. The point being, don’t believe everything you see. Check things out. Be critical. Take my word for it, you’ll be happier that way.

Those Annoying Little Graphics

Having spent two illish days on the couch staring vacantly at the tube, I’ve also learned that I really, really don’t like those little graphics that every station now has at the bottom of the screen. Most stations have their logo at the bottom left (like I’m too dense to know what channel I’m watching), and quite a few of them also fly advertising across the bottom of the screen at regular intervals. I’ve seen it get so bad that in one corner the ABC logo was covered by the local affiliate logo, which was all on top of some graphic telling me what show was on, while in the other corner there was some advertising blurb completely covering up the weather alert I was trying to see. That’s downright dangerous and irresponsible at that point.

I just don’t like ’em. I get enough advertising shoved at me in one day. I’m smart enough to know what channel I’m watching, and I know by watching the morning news show what shows I’m supposed to watch that evening; I don’t really need any more, thank you. I’m full.

Public Service Announcements

There must be a law that each local station must show a certain number of public service announcements. That’s good – we all need to be educated about AIDS, the benefits of staying in school and whatnot. The problem is that at least one station here in Sioux City runs ALL the public service announcements, nearly back-to-back, between 3 and 5 in the morning. I’m assuming that advertising is cheapest then, so it doesn’t cost the station so much in lost advertising revenue to run the PSA’s then. In any case, it’s pretty transparent, and I don’t like it. The whole point of PSA’s is to get them in front of lots and lots of people, and that’s not going to happen at 4 in the morning.

Continuing Woes

I switched to the new version of Blogger the other day. It worked fine the first time I used it, but I’ve had to re-write portions of this blog three or four times, as every time I try to “Save as Draft” or “Publish” it glitches out. Frustrating. Grrr… I had actually written a bit more on PSA’s, but it got lost, and so did my train of thought. I can’t remember the point I was making. Frustrating. Grrr…

If you’re reading this on Facebook, you can see the original blog at, click on “Blog.”