Monday, August 31, 2009

Post-Memorial Thoughts

Well, I am back from the memorial for my Mom. We held it Saturday in Phoenix. I am sure my Mom would have been annoyed at Ted Kennedy's attempt to upstage her...:D

It was a good gathering. I finally got to meet the rest of my cousins - Ashley, Allan and Sophia (Kristen, who I have met a few times before, started at Cornell this year and couldn't make it). Great kids! (I am 43, and my cousins range in age from 19 to 10...:D). And it was good to see the rest of the family and friends.

I've attached a scan of picture my sister found in my Mom's stuff. What you see is me on the left and my older brother Mike on the right. I was 3, he was 5 (so this was 40 years ago...oh man...). My Dad was in the Navy, so of course we had sailor hats.

It was also truly the last time I remember where I didn't spend a significant amount of time pissed off at Mike for some reason or another. I have to tell you, I miss that time. It's my theory that the problems started when I realized I didn't have to listen or necessarily believe whatever Mike told me, and when he realized that I wasn't going to follow him blindly like I had before. Its been downhill ever since.

Mike, I am willing to accept you for who you are. Are you able to accept me for who I am? I think Mom would want us to at least agree to disagree...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Health Care Solution!

I have devised the perfect solution to the health care situation, but first some back story.

Two areas related to health, in the last 15-20 years, have gotten more sophisticated, with better results and lower costs - laser eye surgery and plastic surgery. They did this despite their not being covered by insurance or any government program.

How did this happen? Free Market Capitalism.

The market wanted ways to avoid glasses - radial karotodomy (that was the eye surgery where they cut into your eye) was invented. Initially it was only 90% effective. And it cost in excess of $10k per eye. As time went by, the surgery morphed into something with computer controlled lasers, hit 98%+ reliability, and dropped to as little $400 per eye. The free market wins again.

So, having said that, here is the solution:

Remove the government from the position of "paying" directly for health care. Remove insurance companies from that as well. Basically, remove the floor on prices that exists as a result of their involvement. Let the free market fix costs and prices.

As to the people who need assistance, fund a series of community clinics for those folks. And make it impossible for "undocumented workers" to take advantage of them except in life-threatening situations. How do we fund it? Pass a $1 tax per office visit and prescription sold in this country. And let people who make less than $30k per year claim those on their taxes as a credit/deduction.

That would solve the problem inside 12-18 months.

Why Don't They Call Them Liars?

I was thinking about this the other day, and I've noticed a tendency among politicians and the media - no one has the balls to call someone else a liar.

Opinion guys (like the Talk Radio hosts, and that idiot Olbermann) are more than willing to call someone a liar. But politicians and the main stream media won't. If a man stands outside and tells you the sky is yellow when its not, he's lying. What's so hard about that?

Another politician from the otherside will say "he's being less than truthful." The reporter will say that the comment was "misleading." Another will say that the politician was not "relating all the relevant details."

He's lying!

What has become of this country when no one will point out that the Emperor has no Clothes?

Nothing will change in this country until our elected officials and the allegedly impartial media decide to just say it like it is. If you can't be objective, please don't pretend you are. And lets all agree to quit lying, and pretending that others aren't.

Sometimes the truth is painful. Sometimes it only hurts one person. But by lying we are just "kicking the can" down the road for someone else to deal with, and putting off the pain.

"Health Care Reform" as envisioned by the Progressives is a Socialized Single-Payer Medical System.

"Cap & Trade" will only serve to stifle the economy and put more money and power into the hands of the Federal Government and a bunch of unelected bureaucrats.

And appeasing dictators get you nuclear weapons parked outside the White House.

So please, quit lying to people. Its beneath you.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Elizabeth Ross Lidberg (1943-2009)

Last Monday, Elizabeth Ross Lidberg, my Mother, passed away in the ICU at Tempe St. Luke's Hospital, surrounded by her family. All four of her children were there. She'd be been admitted early in the morning on 7/31 after calling 9-1-1. They found her, performed CPR, and rushed her to the hospital. She did not reawaken before she passed.

She was my biggest fan, my most ardent supporter, and often my harshest critic. No matter what was happening at this end, she was always there for me. She tried to help me see a way out of or around any problems, and never let me give up. And she did this despite her own problems which were not insignificant. Between a series of health issues including Pulmonary Fibrosis and Breast Cancer, her health had been in a steady downward slide for several years. She was on constant oxygen and couldn't walk more than 10 feet without getting winded.

The most important part of her, though, was her mind. It was always sharp, all the way to the end. The last time I spoke with her, I helped her research who ran her apartment complex because she felt they were treating her unfairly (which they were). She never wanted a handout, she just wanted to be treated fairly.

She was very proud and never like to ask for help. She was embarrassed when others had to help her with simple things like taking out the garbage or getting groceries. Sometimes her embarrassment would come out in strange ways, and she came across as being a cranky old lady.

My siblings deserve a lot of credit for helping her where I couldn't (I'm in Texas while they are all in Arizona where she was). Annmarie and her fiance Jason were there as much as they could, helping her in any way possible. Chris drove up from Tucson as often as he could and gave her non-judgmental assistance as well. And Mike stepped up to help, too. Thank you all for your part in making her life as comfortable as possible.

I am proud of my father, who despite having been divorced from my Mom for several years, stepped up to help with rides to the doctor and the store. Toward the end, it appeared that the animosity between them had faded considerably, and I was very happy to see that.

My Aunt Mary (Dr. Mary Ross Collis, to be technical...:D), Mom's sister, also went above and beyond. I know she appreciated everything you did Mary...I know it.

My Uncle Allan (Dr. Allan Ross, an anesthesiologist), her Brother, offered medical advice and other support to Mom as well. His knowledge in medicine is profound, and the whole family appreciates the help he gave Mom as well as to us when we were trying to understand over the weekend what had happened and where it was likely to go. She loved you a lot, Allan.

My role the last few years was to act as sounding board and moral support. Whatever she wanted to talk about, whenever she needed it, I was there. Long phone calls on all kinds of subjects. Times when she just wanted to complain about her health, other people, things, whatever she needed to. I didn't judge, and offered as much support as I could.

She was always a reader, and over the last few years she and I had found several genres we mutually liked. I was able to turn her on to Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and a few others. We had long talks about the books, the characters, and the authors. That is a sharing I will deeply miss.

Over the last few years, she apparently shifted her politics based on what she saw happening. I remember when I was still at home that she told me she attended a rally for Jesse Jackson at ASU once afternoon. This is in sharp contrast with the opinion I know she held about Barack Obama and his cast of cronies. My Mom was also a Bush supporter, and had developed very real conservative viewpoints on many topics. Good to see you found the right side, Mom...:D

One of the things that I know brought her joy and excitement were her granddaughters, my daughters Jordan (11) and Dorothy (4). Jordan recently received the President's Award for Academic Excellence (GPA 90% or higher and 90% or higher on standardized tests) and the school's Award for Academic Excellence (for highest GPA in the school!) and she was very proud of her.

Mom, I miss you all the time. I keep catching myself thinking I need to call you about something, or to check on you, or let you know how this or that situation has resolved itself. You were a big part of my life, and I want you to know how much that means to me.

I know the last few years were hard for you. It was painful, and you were always sick with something. I remember when you told me you had gotten to 5 years cancer free, and how excited you were. I remember how they told you (more than 6 years ago) you had 3-5 years with the Pulmonary Fibrosis left, and how proud I was that you showed them they were wrong. You are in a better place now, without pain, without medicines, without needing oxygen tanks and a scooter, and surrounded by people that love you. Grandma and Grandpa I'm sure were there to welcome you with open arms. Time to rest - you deserve it.

I love you...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Never Too Early To Indoctrinate...

It's never too early to Indoctrinate the little ones...normally I would write the jokes here, but I think the customer comments on Amazon do a pretty good job.

Playmobil Police Security Checkpoint

Playmobil Police Checkpoint

Oh, and could someone be sure and tell me when the Playmobil Political Prisoner Camp is released?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Racism in America

I had an interesting experience today, and I feel the need to share. With this wonderful economy we have now, I have found myself working a side job to help with the bills. I delivery pizza for one of the major chains (starts with a "D").

I normally do this at night, but the Manager asked if I could work lunch today, as they were slated to be busy (lots of Valentine parties at schools, etc.). Alongside those, there were the normal lunch deliveries.

On one of the deliveries, it was to an office, and it was paid with a credit card. I had to wait at the front (nearly 5 minutes) for the person to come get their food. When she came to the front, I could tell there might be trouble. She was holding her wallet, credit card and driver's license out, and also had a couple of bucks. She tossed the ID and credit card at me saying "Do you need to see these?"

"Yes Ma'am" I replied. "We're just watching out for y'all." (Yes, I devolve into Texan sue me...:D)

(I need to add that it is store and franchise company policy to see photo ID and get an impression of the credit card. Failing this, we have to keep the food.)

She snapped back and said "What did you say?"

I replied "We need to check on all credit card orders to make sure that its really you using it and not someone else. It's company policy, and it really protects you as much as it does us."

She was no longer listening, and she was mad for some reason. After I made an impression of the card, she signed it, zeroed the tip line, and took her food. No cash either. As she walked away she looked at me with a strange look.

"You have a great day!" I told her and she went back through the security door.

When I returned to the store, unhappy that I was stiffed on the tip, I got another surprise. She had put in Feedback through the Internet that I was being racist! She claimed I had said "We need to Watch you" which was totally untrue. I was stunned.

Oh, did I mention that I am a big ol' goofy white guy, and the customer was an african-american woman? I didn't because that is not the first thing I notice about someone. I don't care about skin color, I care about what they can do and what they say they can do. Her automatic assumption was that I was discriminating against her.

Racism is alive and well in the U.S., and its not coming from any of the "caucasian-Americans" I happen to know. It's coming from those that refuse to remove their victim hat and take life at its face value. Assuming ill when its not present will only make a person angry and bitter at others and the world.

I understand that there have been problems. I understand that there have been abuses. But *I* didn't do it to anyone. No one in my family was involved in the slave trade in America (we didn't even get here until starting in the late 1800s). None of my family lived in the South, and I don't know of anyone in my family that has ever said or done anything that qualifies remotely as racist. To take it out on me amounts to perpetuating the very thing they claim to want to end.

Put down the "Victim" hat. You'll be much happier in your life.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Avian Reign of Terror Must End!

As you all know, the Avian Liberation Front struck again yesterday when they caused the crash of US Airways Flt 1549 from LaGuardia Airport in New York, on its way to Charlotte, NC. All 155 passengers and crew were evacuated safely after the pilot heroically managed to bring the plane to a landing in the Hudson River.
This madness must stop. The ALF needs to know we mean business. There is only one way to stop this insanity...