Friday, August 28, 2009

Heath Care Read

Here's a good read on the health care systems from around the world. I'm personally in favor of a universal single-payer system, but there are lots of good ways to do health care; and almost the rest of the industrialized world has adopted a way which is superior to how we do it.

And that has to be the bottom line in the health care debate: we're way behind the rest of the world in both cost and quality. (Of course, I'd also like to see government payment for abortion removed from, and conscience clauses put into the Obama plan.)

We'd like to help you learn to help yourself

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Phickle 5

As I may have mentioned, I co-host a podcast. One of the features we do every week is a "Top 5" list.

Past lists have been all over the place and they promise to be all over the place in the future too. Fun stuff really. Very light. Popcorn podcasting if you will.

Anyway, I've decide that from time to time I'll put up the Top 5 list here. The idea of posting it here is to solicit comments and spur a fun conversation from time to time. List away, debate selections, have at it. You know, enjoy it. Nothing too serious. All light-hearted and phickle.

Today, I'll give you two, just to kick it off:

Top 5 Robots:
Honorable Mentions: Eric Cartman as Awesome-O (disqualified for not actually being a robot), Rosie from The Jetsons, Roomba

5. Optimus Prime
4. HAL (2001: A Space Odyssey)
3. Johnny 5 (Short Circuit)
2. Bender
1. R2D2

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Top 5 T.V. Series Cancelled Too Soon

5. Dead Like Me
4. Freaks and Geeks
3. Futurama
2. Firefly
1. Arrested Development

If I was John and you were Yoko,
I would gladly give up musical genius,
Just to have you as my very own,
Personal Venus

Friday, August 21, 2009

Phickle Thoughts

Posts are going to be less frequent here folks. That's just the way it goes with a baby on the way. As of Friday, when this is going up, we're 13 days away from our due date. Things are still looking good, the baby is healthy and projected at 50th percentile, Mrs. Phickle is doing well and still looking fantastic.
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You can color me as one Vikings fan happy we got Brett Favre. The QBs we had were abysmal. Even old, worn out Favre gives us a good chance.

That and Adrian Peterson.
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Speaking of Minnesota sports, Joe Mauer is currently closer to hitting .400 than he is to hitting .350.

That isn't to say I think he'll hit .400 because I don't. My eye is on .362. If Mauer can best that, then he will hold the highest batting average ever for a catcher. Since Ted Williams hit .406 only 3 players have had a batting average as high as Mauer this late in the season.

Oh, and he's got 25 home runs. Considering he missed a month of the season... Oh, and let's throw this one out there too: Mauer became just the fifth player EVER to be hitting .380 or better with 25 home runs. The other 4? Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and some fellow by the name of George Herman Ruth.

And none of those guys had the added challenge of being a catcher.
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I'd be remiss if I didn't say something about the passing of Robert Novak. I never met him, didn't really pay much attention to his work, and probably wouldn't have agreed with most of it. But he became a small part of my life during my time in law school and beyond. First, for a good while I attended the same parish where he was a member. As such, over the past year or however long he was fighting cancer, every week his name was on the parish sick list, and we would pray for him in church. (As an aside, I wonder... it seems like you hear the same names on the sick list week in and week out. Does that mean praying for those folks is especially effective or especially ineffective?)

Second, during law school I heard a rumor that I was Robert Novak's son. Apparently this had been going around for a little while when someone approached me to ask about my dad. They were disappointed when I explained that not only was Robert Novak not my dad, he wasn't even my uncle. No relation at all, in fact.
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After the earlier post about The Dead Weather, I have to admit that "I Cut Like A Buffalo" has grown on my some, and I no longer hate them entirely. I don't love 'em, or even like 'em, but they're certainly tolerable.
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Finally, we've been getting ready for the baby here. Mostly that consists of much talking about the stuff we still need to do, and little actual doing. But we've had a ton of people helping us out, giving much appreciated advice (but not too much that it would be a pain) and wonderful gifts, and we're really excited to have everyone meet our little baby. I just want to say thanks for everything everyone has done for us. It is a wonderful feeling to be the recipient of so much generosity. Thanks all!

I think of him when I'm doing the dishes

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hal Rules

Bryan Cranston is the greatest T.V. actor of our time. Discuss.

You're not the boss of me now

Monday, August 03, 2009

Classy. And Reuniony.

I had my 10 year class reunion a little over a week ago now (it synced up nicely with that job interview I had (still no word... I take that as a bad sign. Prayers and good wishes are still appreciated.)). I went expecting to have fun, to see some people I had missed, to catch up with old friends, etc. Generally, a nice time.

I way underestimated. I had an absolute blast.

There were people there that I had completely forgotten exist - people I really liked back in high school, and who I found I really enjoy now too. There were people who I was excited to see that I ended up having really good conversations with - far more than the "so what are you doing now" small talk you'd expect. I became excited to talk to everyone there, and was ultimately sad when I didn't quite get that chance (we had a very large class, a decent number showed up, and I talked to a lot of people, but alas...). And there were people who really impressed me with where they are in life, what they're doing, and most importantly, who they've become. Experiencing the ways that people have kept their best qualities and smoothed over some of their rougher traits was really exciting.

I didn't get as much of a chance to catch up with the people I still keep in touch with, though a breakfast the next day helped alleviate some of that (though my attendance was abbreviated because of a family reunion I had to get to (it was, as is typical when I'm back in Minny, a very busy weekend.)). Despite that, I still had just an awesome time. Two principle thoughts struck me from the night:

First, and this was really built on some things my folks have said, reflecting on their respective reunions: the thing about class reunions is that, generally speaking, the only people who go are the people who are happy with themselves. And I definitely found that to be true. Everyone there really seemed happy with their lives, no matter what they were or weren't doing. I think this might be more true for a 10 year reunion than other ones. In high school, of course, not everyone likes who they are. Heck, it's almost the opposite. So getting to experience the way people have grown to be happy with their lives was awesome.

Second: it's remarkable how sometimes where you come from can matter so much more than where you're at. I thought it would be a lot of small talk and catching up. I was surprised by how many real and meaningful conversations I had that night. We were all able to just slip right into a level of comfort that people don't usually achieve in that kind of setting. But there we were, the class of '99, just hanging out, like we'd spent the past 10 years being friends.

One of the people who impressed me most was a guy who has actually moved closer to the school in the past 10 years. I've moved across country. He works for a bank doing mortgage type things, I'm an attorney who fights the banks on their mortgage issues. He's divorced with no kids, I'm happily married with one on the way. Quite different on the surface. But on a deeper level, we really connected. Reconnected really, since we were friends early on in high school. And to me, that was just a real joy to experience. Even though we've gone very different ways, and are at very different points in our lives, we both understood where the other was coming from, because 10 years earlier we'd been there together.

I'm already looking forward to our next reunion.

When you love without desire
Then you know who you are