A few thoughts on health care reform in the US

Just need to vent a little here:

1. Bipartisanship is overrated. If you believe in something, pass it. It’s nice if Republicans and Democrats can all hold hands and smile, but that can’t always happen. Sometimes you have to choose your battles. If health care reform really matters to you, pass it.

2. No health care bill close to being passed has proposed anything like what the UK has in NHS. If we had something like NHS in the US, that’d be great, but that’s not what’s being proposed.

3. Highlighting health care horror stories in other countries makes no sense. Of course in countries with millions of people, you can find a handful of horror stories. In the US, there are tens of millions of horror stories. What is it—47 million Americans uninsured? And the rest of us who are insured are in danger of losing that insurance if we lose our jobs (especially if we have “pre-existing conditions”).

4. 1 trillion dollars over ten years sounds like a lot of money, but divided by year and by person, that’s $329 per year per person or about $0.90 a day per person. Meanwhile, we’ve spent about 900 billion dollars (almost a trillion) on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past eight years, and that cost doesn’t matter somehow (let alone the deaths of our soldiers and the civilians in those countries)? I’d rather go into debt to keep people healthy than to get people killed.

I’d love to see better health care in this country. Let’s see what happens.

Health Life

Let’s add this to the list of stupid things I’ve done

I used to do a lot of stupid things when I was younger. Fortunately, I don’t do stupid things quite as often as an adult, but I still do them.

My mother tells me when I was a toddler I used to climb on unfinished wood in playgrounds and then cry when she pulled the splinters out of my hands… and then I’d go back and climb on the same unfinished wood.

One time in middle school, I went to a camp, and a bunch of friends of mine and I decided it would be a great idea to prank call 911. It wasn’t a great idea. It was a dumb idea.

Then there was that time in college I was pulling weeds barehanded, and it turned out the weeds I was pulling were poison ivy. That was dumb.

Well, last night, I was cutting up an avocado. Usually I dig the knife into the pit, twist, and then remove the pit in one or two strokes. The pit wouldn’t move, though. It just broke in half. So instead of doing what a smart person would do (give up and realize the avocado was not ripe yet), I decided to dig into the pit with the point of a very sharp knife. I slipped and cut my finger. It was painful, and there was a lot of blood.

I’m an idiot.

You live and learn. Well, hopefully you learn…

Health Life

My first yoga experience

For years I’d been hearing about yoga, knowing my friends had done it and seeing TV and movie characters engage in it. I’d never done it before, though. That changed recently when my wife invited me to attend a “mellow yoga” class with her. It was an interesting experience, definitely. I wasn’t too keen on the poem-reading and om-chanting, but the actual yoga exercise was relaxing and fun.

Of course, I was also totally lost. The instructor kept telling us to do all these poses I didn’t know (the names I’d heard before but the details I had no mastery of), some of which were supposed to be done with our eyes closed (I had to peek to make sure I was doing it right). Not a big fan of the tree pose (in which you balance on one foot while the sole of the other foot is on your calf or thigh). There was this great reclining pose we did at the end that I thought I’d fall alseep in, though—that I could have done for hours.

In the end, I decided I may go to another yoga class every now and then, but it’s not my cup of tea for on-a-regular-basis-exercise. Squatting and twisting requires too much coordination and intense muscle pressure. I’m more of a runner/walker.

Education Health

Running with the track team again

I recently have had the opportunity to help assistant-coach my school’s track team, and it has been a wonderful experience. A wave of nolstagia has swept over me as I’m constantly reminded of the pain and fun of my own training in high school. All the workouts these students are grumbling about as they sweat through them bring back fond memories of my own grumblings. I just wish they knew what a rare opportunity they have—a chance to have physical training built into their pre-5:00 PM day. I think the lack of such a program is the reason why most adults (even ones who were serious athletes in high school or college) are out of shape (or don’t work out “enough”). All the working adults I know work at least nine-hour days, if not longer. That means if they want to exercise regularly, they have to wake up extra early to work out before their commutes or work out late after work and then have an even later dinner, both options being less than ideal if your workout is an outside workout (as it’ll be dark when it’s not during the work day).

So even though I’m not able to do all the workouts with these kids (I have to supervise them or time their splits), it’s great that I can use part of my work day to get some exercise. I just have to keep reminding myself not to tell these kids too many “When I was your age, do you know what we had to do for our track workouts?” stories.

Health Life

“Vegetarian” doesn’t even begin to describe…

Even though in most aspects of life I’m pretty easygoing, when it comes to food, I can be quite difficult. What movie are we going to see? Well, I’ll express my opinion, but if the vote goes against me, I’m not going to kick up a fuss about having to see Scary Movie 16 or serious-movie-about-the-Middle-East-and-Americans 20. What restaurant are we going to eat at? Well, then there’s only so far I can be accommodating.

I’ve met quite a number of liberals who became vegetarian for political reasons (humanitarian or economic) and then gave up after a year, five years, or even ten years. The taste of meat lured them back in… usually, for some strange reason, a hot dog. Well, I’ve been a practicing vegetarian for sixteen years and a wannabe vegetarian for twenty-five years. It has to do with taste, not politics, so I know I’m not going to be changing that any time soon. I’m just picky, and meat isn’t included in the limited repertoire of foods I eat. Without listing every single food I eat or don’t eat, the best way to sum up my diet would be (in order of preference) sugar, fat, dairy, starch, fruits, and cooked vegetables. I don’t like seafood (though if I’m stuck in a seafood restaurant, I’ll eat the shrimp—the least offensive seafood). I don’t like meat. I don’t like spicy food.

But when you don’t know someone well, it takes too much explaining to go into a huge list of all the foods I like or don’t like. The simplest way to sum it up is “I’m vegetarian.” I am vegetarian, but that’s just the beginning of the story. Those who know me best usually chime in to clarify shortly afterwards: “He’s not vegetarian. He’s just picky.”