aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, April 18, 2005
The house tour (name dropper edition)
Doug and I went on a house tour this past weekend - the photo is of our friend Revel’s house, which was on the tour. It’s a Folk Victorian house from 1835 that she had moved to the site from Devereux, GA and lovingly restored. Of note is that it is made up of three free-standing buildings connected only by porches; the dining room and master bedroom suite are their own units. It’s quite a house.
We went on the tour with our friend John and his friend Don, who was visiting from Phoenix and is, as it happens, one of the biggest stars in evolution. Some irony huh? Here we are in the cradle of creationist Georgia (some won’t even believe in dinosaurs) with Don Johanson, one of the world’s leading and America’s best known paleoanthropologists. Don’t get me wrong, I know nothing of paleontology. I didn’t even know who he was until sitting at Sonic over hot dogs John asked, “So what about those Leakey’s?”
Don explained that in 1974 in Ethiopia he found Lucy, “it’s interesting making a career of a 3 million year old dead woman.” Prior to Lucy the question was, in the path to becoming human, which came first, big brains or walking upright? Lucy, a hominid named after the Beetle’s tune “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” had a small skull and walked upright. Bipedalism, it seems, was the first step towards becoming human. Evidently, somewhere in there was a major spat between Richard and Mary Leakey and Don, but they lost me at “Hominid” so I don’t know what it was about (and a web search turns up nothing but creationist drivel).
Don’s quite a character. No fan of Bush ("the government just wants to put spies on your expeditions") he talked about how he wants to get God off our money. This caused John to quip, “you want God of our money, we just want God off our lawns.” (These lawn signs are everywhere around here.) At the last house on the tour we asked a nice Methodist church lady if she would snap our picture. She said yes, aimed the camera, and said, “Smile and say cheese.” To which Don replied, “I usually say double orgasm.” She didn’t blush, but lurched forward, ruining the framing of our group photo.
As we left we made plans to visit Don in Phoenix this December and John whispered to me with a wink, “This better turn up on your blog.”
How could it not?
The Flash Mind Reader
Then read how it works from Adrian Ziemkowski, “Let us take a look into the crystal ball that is math...”
Doug figured it out on his own, “I guess that’s why I’m a doctor.”
Nightline stays, Cronkite imagines a better nightly news
In a story on the challenges at ABC News there is this on Nightline:
On Friday, Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television Group, said in an interview that she had decided that the news division - and not the network’s entertainment or sports units - would be given the first opportunity to put a program on the air in Mr. Koppel’s slot.
While Ms. Sweeney refused to say how long that news program, whatever its format, would be given to succeed, her decision is the most public vote of confidence that the network has extended to Mr. Westin after months of internal wrangling over what exactly to do at 11:35.
“It’s not going to be radically different,” Mr. Westin said, emphasizing that, while it may evolve, the new “Nightline” would nonetheless retain “the DNA” of Mr. Koppel’s program.
And in TV news just isn’t what it used to be, Wlater Cronkite (who ought to know) says:
“It’s understandable, to me anyway, that the management should attempt to do what they can to get a lot of that audience back,” Cronkite said. “However, I personally - and this is purely a personal feeling - would rather see more devotion to the major stories in politics and the culture of the nation, rather than quite so much entertainment news, if you will, of crime, of less-important news...Let’s do the headlines at 6:30 or whenever,” he said. “And then when we come back for those (prime-time) magazines, instead of Hollywood and crime and all that kind of thing, we could do instant documentaries” on the news of the day.
Following up on his healthcare around the world post from last week, today Kevin Drum looks at healthcare satisfaction levels in America. This paper finds that among poor Americans it’s 45%, elderly Americans 61%, and everyone else 34%:
This is pretty remarkable. First, the elderly in America, who are covered by a state-run national healthcare system (Medicare and Medicaid) are way more satisfied with their healthcare than everyone else. As it happens, the elderly in other countries also tend to report higher satisfaction levels than other people, but usually by just a few percentage points. In America, where the elderly are covered by a national system and others aren’t, the elderly are more satisfied by a whopping 27 percentage points.
Second, even the poor are more satisfied with their healthcare than the rest of us. The poor generally rely on a combination of Medicaid, emergency rooms, and free clinics for their healthcare, a system that’s hard to beat for sheer inefficiency and appalling service. But even at that, the rest of us, who are mostly covered by employer-provided health insurance, are less satisfied than the poor. The system of health coverage provided to the vast majority of American citizens is so bad that we like it even less than the jury-rigged system the poor are forced to use.
Related: Angrey Bear on waiting for healthcare, “Clearly government financing of health care does not, in and of itself, cause waiting lists for medical procedures.”