Friday, April 29, 2016

Not-So-Little Goose Lost?

This Canada goose showed up all alone at the mall near our place a few weeks ago. At first, we thought he was injured--but he seemed all right and had a healthy appetite. As you can see, he's certainly not shy! He not only cheerfully accepted food from people waiting for the bus, he was only too happy to let Collin take his photograph. 

I contacted the World Bird Sanctuary, but was told they only work with birds of prey. They referred me to a wild bird rehabilitation group. But by that time, our feathered friend had  tired of life at the mall and moved on. Or so we thought. The other day, we were out and about...and spotted what I believe to be the same goose, all alone near the Metrolink station in Shrewsbury eight miles away. Normally, in fall and winter there are maybe a hundred geese at that spot along the River des Peres (a rather fancy name for a large combination sanitation and storm sewer). Monday, there was just one.

Makes me think of Igor in the movie Fly Away Home.

I wonder what happened to him or her. Did he sustain enough of an injury that left him unable to fly, to return to Canada with the rest of the geese? If so, why isn't he headed home now? If he's stuck here, maybe we should just adopt him....

Friday, April 22, 2016

Can Humanity Survive If This Species Goes Extinct?

According to the Wall Street Journal, United Healthcare is withdrawing from the Affordable Healthcare Act exchanges in many states due to heavy financial losses on the low-cost policies. I can't say I'm surprised by this news. The way doctors treat their patients these days suggests to me that insurers are paying out a lot of money that doesn't always seem necessary.

Funny...but true!

Example: I have an excellent doctor, board certified in internal medicine. When I last saw her, she gave me referrals to a number of specialists: a dermatologist for a rash on my arms...a gastroenterologist for the colonoscopy I've already explained won't happen (after five failed attempts, isn't it time to give up and try something else?)...a ophthalmologist...and I'd already been seeing a neurologist, an orthopedic surgeon and a cardiologist. Then there are the tests, lots of tests.

This has got to be expensive for my insurance carrier. Not to mention a big ol' pain in the rump roast for me.

The last thing I want to be doing is spending most of my time in doctors' offices, but it sure sounds like that's what's in my future. Is all of this really necessary? Why can't my primary care doctor handle most of this, uh, stuff?

Whatever happened to the family doctor? Are they extinct? Are primary care doctors now little more than traffic cops, directing their patients to the appropriate specialists?

Years ago, we had a family doctor. He took care of Mom, Dad, Collin and me, and he did most of it himself. Mom and Dad had a cardiologist, and I had an ophthalmologist, but our family doctor handled everything else. I liked it that way. I could take care of almost any problem I had with one office visit, not six or seven. He prescribed everything, including my seizure meds and ordered any tests I needed. If I had a problem, I didn't have to stop and think about which doctor would be the right one to call for a rash or a sore throat. I called Dr. Zink. He knew me and my medical history, so he was more than prepared to deal with anything that was needed.

Yeah, right. I've found the later the appointment,
the further behind the doctor is going 
to be by the time he/she gets around to me!
 And don't get me started on rush hour traffic!

I felt comfortable with him. When I had an appointment, I saw only him--there were no residents coming in first to make the visit take twice as long and make me feel like a guinea pig. Just him--or, occasionally for a follow-up, his nurse practitioner. Once, Mom was in the next exam room when I was getting my annual pelvic exam. She couldn't figure out why I was laughing during the exam. I explained that we'd gotten into a conversation about where we were when Star Trek first aired back in 1966. I was in junior high. He was in the Peace Corps. He said I'd made him feel old. I thought that was funny. Never mind that I was in a very uncomfortable position, exposed for the most part. I was comfortable enough to be able to have a laugh at his expense.

I miss that. My old family doctor is retired now, and I find myself wondering if the family practice even exists anymore.

Friday, April 15, 2016

But Not the Final Hours for These Special Promotions!

The special promotion for Angels at Midnight has ended, but as of Tuesday, Final Hours began a special promotion that will end on the 18th. On Wednesday, Chasing the Wind began a special promotion that will end on the 19th. If you haven’t read either of them but would like to, now is the best time to buy the ebook editions. Sorry, the paperbacks never go on sale.

Final Hours cover - newCTW 2014

Final Hours is featured in Tuesday’s issue of BookSCREAM‘s newsletter and Chasing the Wind was featured in Wednesday's edition. If you’re not already a subscriber, it’s a great way to find free and discounted books!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Just When You Thought Politics Couldn't Get Any Dirtier....

Picture this: a President and his First Lady. They've been married a long time, almost thirty years. On the surface, it seems like a perfect match, but theirs is not a love match by any means. It's a partnership rooted in shared ambitions. Throw in affairs on both sides, machinations that would have made Machiavelli proud, and you, not the Clintons. But it does sound a little like them, doesn't it?

Actually, it's Francis and Claire Underwood, the political power couple from the Netflix series House of Cards.

The series had already completed four seasons by the time Collin and I discovered it a couple of weeks ago, while he was off work recovering from a stress fracture in his left ankle. We binged our way through all four seasons in a matter of days and are now anxiously awaiting Season 5--which, unfortunately, won't come until next year.

 I'm not sure I really want to
know the answer!

It all starts with House Majority Whip Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a South Carolina Democrat who's been promised the Secretary of State position by the newly-elected President. When the President decides Underwood is more useful to his political agenda in Congress, Frank hatches a plot to rise to power by manipulating the players in the political game like pieces on a chess board. Among those stepped on in his climb up the political ladder are Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), an ambitious young political reporter to whom Frank feeds information she in turn leaks when it will most benefit Frank; Peter Russo (Corey Stoll), an alcoholic congressman from Pennsylvania; Rachel Posner (Rachel Brosnahan), a Washington call girl; Zoe's colleagues Janine Skorsky (Constance Zimmer) and Lucas Goodwin (Sebastian Arcelus); and Secretary of State Catherine Durant (Jayne Atkinson). One by one, Frank eliminates everyone who stands between him and the Presidency.

Claire's (Robin Wright) own political ambitions eventually threaten Frank's, first when she demands he appoint her US Ambassador to the United Nations, even after Congress has rejected her nomination, and later when she wants to be his running mate in the 2016 election. When she announces she's leaving him, Frank agrees to make her his Vice-President.

No way were the character's name--and
those initials--a coincidence!

The pair will stop at nothing to get what they want. Murder? Not above them at all. Using the beheading of a hostage held by Islamic terrorists to gain public approval? No problem. Facing off with a Putin-like Russian President (Lars Mikkelsen), Viktor Petrov? Certainly! Starting a war? Why not!

We enjoyed the series tremendously, but it made both of us think. If behind-the-scenes Washington DC is really this bad, is there anyone there worth voting for?

Friday, April 1, 2016

I Confess...I've Been Secretly Supporting This Guy....

Our next President....

April Fool!

Oh, come on. I slept until almost noon. This was the best I could do, under the circumstances!