Perhaps it’s the laziness borne of summer, or an overload of bad news on the political front, or even my daughter’s invasion of my physical and mental space these past few months. But whatever the cause, I haven’t been able to string together sufficient cohesive paragraphs to produce a blog post since my last missive (which was a reflexive diatribe brought on by the aforementioned overload of bad news on the political front). Regretfully, I haven’t been writing much in my journal – in fact, in a highly unusual circumstance for me, I’ve gone days without writing anything at all or, at most, a sentence saying how little I’ve been writing.
But occasionally I will have what I’ve been calling “common sense ideas,” which may ultimately end up turning into blog posts if I’m able to muster the sustained brain power. For example, I think every publicly held company should include in every employee’s compensation package a share or number of shares of stock in the company, so employees become shareholders and literally have a vested interest in seeing their company succeed. Those employees would care more about their jobs because the better they do, the better the company does, in a potentially endless cycle of success.
Another thought stream I’ve been entertaining (but I lack the capacity to get deep enough to write 500-1,000 words about it) is how I would fix the health care system in this country. First, it should be mandated that all hospitals and all doctors have to take all insurances. Second, all insurances should work the same way – same claims process, same reimbursement process, same referral process, etc. This will cut down enormously on the administrative burden. Third, the government should mandate that insurance companies cannot raise their rates every year, or ensure that any increases be linked to something like interest rates or cost-of-living. Finally, as the process becomes more streamlined and the overhead and premium costs go down, then there would be no reason why larger employers couldn’t afford to insure even part-timers and the 30-hour minimum could be eliminated.
Here’s yet another recurring theme I keep returning to, in my head and my journal: I don’t understand what the Republicans think will happen to the poor and the sick and the disabled and the elderly if they succeed in making Medicaid go away or cutting welfare and food stamps and school lunches, or when there’s no more funding for Section 8 public housing or public education. (And of course, no abortions or contraception, so a ton of unwanted children adding to the already overburdened system.) WHAT DO THEY THINK IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ALL THESE PEOPLE IF THEIR LIFELINES ARE TAKEN AWAY?? If they thought the “great unwashed” were a burden before, what do they think they’ll be creating if Republicans are able to fulfill their dark and cruel desires? Do they even care, as long as their own pockets are overflowing and they don’t have to actually SEE homeless or poor people? It blows my mind.
And one more: Elected representatives are supposed to do what their VOTERS want, not their DONORS. Money for campaigns should be taken out of the equation entirely and people should be elected (or, more importantly, RE-elected) based on their record, not on how much money they’ve raised; on what they have DONE over what have they SAID (words are cheap, especially in the age of Trump).
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So, those are some ways my mind has been wandering lately. Which reminds me of the Beatles song, “I’m Fixing a Hole” (“to stop my mind from wandering / where it will go . . . “), which in turn reminds me of that post that was making its way around Facebook a few months ago about the 10 albums that most influenced you as a teenager. A high school friend posted his list, and while I liked most of what he had included, my list would be ENTIRELY different even though it was from the same era. My list of LPs on which I wore out the grooves in high school and early college is as follows (in no particular order):
- Bowie, “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”
- T. Rex, “Electric Warrior”
- Elton John, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
- Leon Russell, “Carney” (one of the first albums I ever purchased with my own money, Elton John’s “Honky Chateau” being the other)
- Led Zeppelin, “Houses of the Holy”
- The Beatles, “White Album” (“Sgt. Pepper” was a close second, and I also loved “Rubber Soul”)
- “The Ramones”
- Jethro Tull, “Aqualung”
- Neil Young, “After the Gold Rush”
- Pink Floyd, “Wish You Were Here”
Queen, “Night at the Opera” (although my favorite Queen song, and the one that was our “let’s get crazy tonight!” theme, was “Tie Your Mother Down”)
Fleetwood Mac, “Rumors”
Rolling Stones, “Hot Rocks”
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Speaking of school, remember how every new unit in English and science and social studies would include a list of vocabulary words that would be featured in the unit, and the first assignment was to look them up and learn to use them? Well, in all the brilliant political commentary I’ve been reading lately (Washington Post, NYT, New Yorker, The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Esquire [I especially like Charlie Pierce, who seems to come up with all these obscure terms to describe the “vulgar talking yam” and his minions], to name a few), I’ve come across a list of words that were either new to me or I’d seen them before but wasn’t sure what they meant (sometimes I like to guess and then see how close I am to the actual definition). Some of those words (and their definitions, thanks to the Merriam Webster.com dictionary) are as follows:
sophistry: subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation.
mandarins (not the oranges or the Chinese): a pedantic official; a bureaucrat.
mountebank: a person who sells quack medicines from a platform; a boastful unscrupulous pretender. (See also: Trump, Donald)
anthropocene: the period of time during which human activities have had an environmental impact on the Earth regarded as constituting a distinct geological age. (An aside: I actually came across the word “anthrocene” in a song by Nick Cave, which may be a made-up word or a bastardization of “anthropocene”. Actually, the well-read Mr. Cave probably got it from the science writer Andrew Revkin, who used the term “anthrocene” in his book Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast to describe a new geological era dominated by the actions of humans.)
wry: bent, twisted, or turned, usually abnormally to one side; made by a deliberate distortion of the facial muscles, often to express irony or mockery; wrongheaded; cleverly and often ironically or grimly humorous.
redoubtable: causing fear or alarm; or, alternatively, worthy of respect.
mondegreen: a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung (e.g., “Hold me closer, Tony Danza”).
shebeen: an unlicensed or illegally operated drinking establishment.
oleaginous: I initially thought it meant oily, and I was right, but it also means marked by an offensively ingratiating manner or quality. (See also: Trump Cabinet meeting)
opéra bouffe: satirical comic opera.
numinous: filled with a sense of the presence of divinity; appealing to the higher emotions or to the aesthetic sense.
imperious: befitting or characteristic of one of eminent rank or attainments; commanding, dominant, domineering; marked by arrogant assurance.
I now challenge myself to use at least one of my new vocabulary words in my next blog post!