Carry On, My Wayward Son, Dust In The Wind, And Other Unpleasantness

We had a few beers after work today to celebrate another successful 24 Death Pool, and to my astonishment the future Commish took the position that Kansas was a great rock group and Carry On, My Wayward Son and Dust in the Wind are great rock songs. I have to admit this caused my considerable respect for the future Commish to plummet, because any right-thinking rock music fan knows that those are two of the worst songs ever recorded by one of the most overrated rock bands ever to feign a power chord. The pompous lyrics, the droning music, the uninspired guitar work featured in Dust in the Wind and Carry On, My Wayward Son are like the ’70s “power rock” equivalent of the worst George Harrison sitar songs of the ’60s. There’s a reason that Dust in the Wind was mentioned to Socrates in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and it wasn’t because it was a great song — it was because it was a joke, then and now.

I hated Kansas albums, Dust in the Wind, and Carry On, My Wayward Son back in the ’70s when they were first released because they were like a stereo tooth drilling, without Novocaine. They haven’t improved with age.

Man vs Food – New Season

August 5th marked the start of the second season of one of my favorite shows on cable, Man vs Food on the travel channel. The star of the show is Adam Richman who travels around the country taking on different cities toughest food challenges such as the 13 lb carnivore pizza, the 72 ounce steak and a dozen atomic hot wings to name a few.

In the first episode of season two he visited Las Vegas, Nevada and went to the Nascar Cafe to take on the B3 (Big Badass Burrito) challenge. Needless to say he was not able to down the six pound burrito and had to put on a shirt that said “weenie” across the front of it.

Too Much Money for Too Much Medicine

I’ve been a subscriber and avid reader of Money magazine since I graduated from college back in the late 70’s. I have continued to renew my subscription because I feel that Money has always tried to give a fair and balanced point of view to the major issues facing our country over the past thirty years.

The August edition of Money had a very interesting article on health-care costs based on a report done by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care. The article pointed out the the findings in this report have gotten alot of attention within the Obama administration because the report suggests that America could spend less on medicine and end up just as healthy. That spending for Medicare would fall about 20% if everybody practiced medicine the way the lowest-spending fifth of the nation does !

The article/report mentions that higher volumes of care do not produce better outcomes for patients and that patient outcomes can suffer because having more doctors involved increases the likelihood of mistakes. The article also mentions that regions with more hospital beds show that patients are more likely to be admitted to the hospital.

The article also says that we need more accountability so that doctors and hospitals work together to provide better care at lower costs and we need to reform how providers are paid because under the current system providers are rewarded only for doing more stuff, not providing better outcomes.

I think that this is what President Obama is saying when he talks about waste and abuse and the need to reform. I always believe in looking at the glass half full as the article says, we have an incredible opportunity to make american medicine the envy of the world and cover everybody. I know that we can do much better !

So the question then becomes who is going to be responsible for handling such a task ? We have seen that since Hillary Clinton tried to reform the health care system nothing has changed and deductibles, co-pays and premiums all continue to go up. Health insurers are not going to do it, drug companies are not going to do it, hopsitals are not going to do it ! Someone needs to take the lead and the government is the only entity that can take on such a task !

Technology, Timekeeping, And The King’s English

Big Ben

Big Ben

The standard clock — with its hour hand and minute hand, its twelve Arabic or Roman numerals, and its soothing metronomic ticking — is quickly becoming an endangered species. Think for a moment about how often you see a standard clock face any more. To the extent that commercial establishments have any kind of timekeeping device (and many of them don’t any longer) it is as likely to be a digital device as a clock. Many younger people don’t wear wristwatches; they use their cell phone, or I Phone, or Blackberry to tell the time. No doubt digital clocks are more precise than old-fashioned clocks.  They don’t need to be wound and there is no doubt what the exact time is. With a digital clock the time is not “about 7:30,” it is 7:28, or 7:32.

This is one of those small cultural intersections where technological changes are altering society in subtle and unexpected ways. We are quickly becoming a country in which different generations talk about time in different ways. Every person above, say, 25 years of age learned to tell time by the hands of clock and describes the time through that frame of reference; many younger people didn’t learn those same lessons and don’t give the time in that way. Tell a teenager that you will meet them at a quarter till 8 and you may well get a puzzled expression and a follow up question asking you to explain what the heck you are talking about. If you meant 7:45, why didn’t you just say so?

We may be seeing he passage of the standard clock into the mists of time, but we can salute it for having left our language a bit richer. “Clockwise” and “counterclockwise” are very useful concepts if you want to tighten or loosen a bolt. Who hasn’t said some hyperactive person was “wound up,” or that they wished they could “turn back the clock”? We wonder what “makes something tick,” and we marvel at a well-built car that “runs like clockwork.” Would Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon be as memorable without the ticking clock or the rich, resonant gong of Big Ben?