February 2nd, 2010
|05:48 am - These three songs seem to share something...|
though I doubt Pandora would group them together.
There was a time when I wouldn't have liked these three songs. Today, however, I do.
They're so — subdued, noisy, muffled, muted —
I also am a little obsessed with this one other song, though it doesn't fit within this grouping. I suppose it doesn't fit with the others because it's too melodic - sing songy. The melody goes up and down and the arrangement is much more sparse, whereas the others are fuller and lack the up and down-ness.
December 16th, 2009
|07:16 am - Guantanamo|
Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Closing the Guantanamo Bay prison is utterly superficial, aesthetic, substance-less if the U.S. is to keep a policy of indefinite detainment.
An integral part of the United States of America is justice. It is simply not just to hold humans indefinitely without trial. Period. This is not a radical idea. It's not complicated. I'm beginning to sympathize with third party advocates, the politically-disengaged and the cynics.
December 14th, 2009
|04:50 am - Health Insurance Exchange|
I. Reducing Health Insurance Costs & Improving Quality
In the health care debate, there's one provision I feel should be relatively non-controversial, because it's a free-market idea, and conservatives and Republicans are supposed to be in favor of the free market.
Here's a piece Ezra Klein wrote for The Washington Post back in June:
Here's an excerpt:
Imagine that you decided you didn't like your current health insurance and you wanted to change it. Your employer very likely doesn't offer any alternatives. If you do have a choice, it's almost certainly not between more than three different plans.So, yeah,...
You could, of course, spit at your employer's offerings and go buy insurance on your own. But the individual insurance market is a scary place. You're on your own, so you have no bargaining power with insurers. Providers can simply refuse to sell you health insurance, or they can jack up your prices because of past illness. They can sell you a plan that's insufficient for your needs and that's thick with loopholes and technicalities. A favored trick, for instance, is to sell plans that don't cover any preexisting conditions: If you go to a doctor complaining of back pain, but it turns out you've felt back pain before, they don't have to cover any costs relating to the ailment.
I don't know why I've been hearing more debate over a public option than over this insurance exchange. It seems this insurance exchange potentially has more power to lower costs and increase quality than introducing a public option, particularly the watered-down, opt-in or out, with triggers attached options being considered (and then ultimately thrown out because the Democrats want to get all 60 Senators in on it rather than using Reconciliation to pass the bill with 51).
II. Reducing Health Care Costs
This Consumer Report report breaks down health care costs:
52% of health care costs = Doctors & Hospitals
CONSIDERING our health care costs around double that of other wealthy nations (per capita) and half of that cost goes to doctors and hospitals, I believe it's worth examining.
I think people are extremely reluctant to reduce compensation to doctors & hospitals because a reduction in compensation is viewed as a reduction in quality. They hold doctors & hospitals sacred, untouchable; they never question what they ask for in compensation. It's just accepted. THAT RIGHT THERE — FAITH — IS NEVER A GOOD SYSTEM. With that in mind, this is interesting:
Adjusting provider compensation – The current system of provider compensation pays physicians a given fee per procedure or test, for example as dictated by the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule guidelines for the value of over 10,000 physician services. Currently, there are proposals to revamp some provider payments to ensure that fees paid to physicians reward value and health outcomes, rather than volume of care. This is meant to eliminate unnecessary care and thereby decrease costs. Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is being increasingly emphasized as a means to determine which treatments are most effective for given conditions, in order to provide doctors with the necessary information to make the best choices for patients’ care. kaiseredu.org
Why do we pay twice as much as everyone else?
Our research found that wasteful spending in the health system has been calculated at up to $1.2 trillion of the $2.2 trillion spent in the United States, more than half of all health spending. Defensive medicine, such as redundant, inappropriate or unnecessary tests and procedures, was identified as the biggest area of excess, followed by inefficient healthcare administration and the cost of care necessitated by conditions such as obesity, which can be considered preventable by lifestyle changes.http://www.pwc.com/us/en/healthcare/publications/the-price-of-excess.jhtml
October 8th, 2009
|05:36 am - Letterman|
I really, really hate how people make judgments based on prejudice. At least we pretend to have a justice system whereby people are "innocent until proven guilty." I'm glad we've founded a social structure based on that principle, because human nature, by all appearances, appears opposed to such a system— of withholding judgment till proof is assessed.
It seems that people are assuming knowledge of the nature of the relationships based on circumstance alone without regard to any testimonial from anyone involved. Personally, I'd be embarrassed to make & argue that assumption, but I guess I come from a different school of thought that places a higher premium on evidence above intuition. In many ways, intuition is little more than a euphemism for prejudice.
September 16th, 2009
|11:39 pm - World's Tallest Man|
"Up until now it's been really difficult to find a girlfriend. I've never had one, they were usually scared of me. ... Hopefully now that I'm famous I'll be able to meet lots of girls. I'd like to get married."
- Sultan Kosen ("World's Tallest Man")
"If this title had given me more health or a few extra years, I would have taken it, but the opposite happened, I only wasted my nerve cells. If I have to choose between prosperity and calm, I choose calm."
- Ukrainian Leonid Stadnyk (refused to be measured for the record)
|12:08 am - :)|
I'm not a fan of the invasiveness of a family constantly being looked at and recorded, BUT I'm glad to have gotten this one glimpse and now wish to leave them alone.
What I like best is the beyond-obvious genuineness I see in all their postures and expressions. They're just good, happy people who love one another. You can't fake that. It's beautiful to see a person who's typically staged and careful about presentation in an unstaged situation. To have kids who love you this much to come home to must feel really satisfying.
September 15th, 2009
September 7th, 2009
I've been watching a lot of "X Factor" videos the last few days. It can be a cruel and horrible show. But I very much like the following clip:
September 6th, 2009
September 2nd, 2009
The reactions to this article on the evolution of skin color are interesting:
August 25th, 2009
Sometimes YouTube comments are alright— like this one:
my god man, this is perfection! abandon all other pursuits and activities in your life that aren't about making music! go...now....record albums. you can do it.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeKNkpZwF8c ("The Last Hour" - Elliott Smith cover)
It's like he's entered into the exact octave that Elliott Smith sang in (I don't know anything about music):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awT0QuNDf1o ("Baby Britain")
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlRO1aR4yLg ("Independence Day")
August 20th, 2009
August 19th, 2009
|11:56 am - Can Loud, Stupid People Stop Making The News Now?|
When will news organizations finally stop considering lowest-common-denominator, obnoxious rhetoric newsworthy?
August 14th, 2009
August 13th, 2009
August 11th, 2009
August 7th, 2009
I just swallowed (a jagged) part of a bay leaf.
Conan O'Brien's monologues can be pretty weak, but last night, he made a really funny joke...
M. Night Shyamyalan is celebrating his 39th birthday today. OR, will it turn out his birthday is celebrating him?I realize not everyone will be as amused as I am.
August 6th, 2009
|03:17 pm - "We shall defend our honor over land and over sea."|
I can't figure it out. The tone of Ray Davies' voice makes it appear as though the lines are spoken with irony/cynicism/sarcasm. But that just doesn't make sense; this song is about the men who lead the British for their country's very sustenance against the Nazis; Davies can't possibly lampoon that. But he just sounds so sarcastic. I'm legitimately confused.
August 3rd, 2009
"Must have been mid-afternoon. I could tell by how far the child's shadow stretched out."
Embedding disabled by request <-- I don't understand why people think it's advantageous to disable embeds.
The other day I stretched up my arms with the thought that my long sun-setting shadow would translate to long shadow arms. This is not the case with long sun-setting shadows; it's just not how it works— you get long, long legs; a pretty long torso; and comparatively, you get pretty much baby arms. It's a raw deal. My stretch felt unsatisfying & silly.
August 2nd, 2009
Here's a 2 min. video a friend of mine made as part of a scholarship competition. To help her out, double click & rate it 5 stars @ the YouTube url if you have a YouTube account. It's well-done; well worth watching. Spread it around if you like it; the more votes she receives, the better chance she has at receiving the scholarship award.
August 1st, 2009
I vastly, unequivocally, DEFINITELY prefer the first, though it's impossible to get better-looking than the second.
This is not to say the first is not beautiful. She is. The hopelessly flared nostrils are endlessly appealing. :)
"L-O-V-E" was written by Milt Gabler & Bert Kaempfert:
July 31st, 2009
July 30th, 2009
July 27th, 2009
|11:07 pm - Burton's Alice|
I like the trailer much better than the stills they released. I don't know why, but I was really disappointed with the image of Depp: http://stevenhartsite.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/depp-hatter.jpg
The colors clash; the image looks like garbage, like they're trying to do too much w/ too many dissimilar colors all at once. But in the trailer, it seemingly works alright; the colors are toned down, it seems— far less garish & clashing: http://www.freewebs.com/bestcreepypics/DeppHatter.jpg
I still haven't seen Burton's Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. One cannot beat Gene Wilder at anything. This is undisputed fact.
(embedding disabled by request)
July 24th, 2009
July 23rd, 2009
July 16th, 2009
July 7th, 2009
I know Sharpton has taken a lot of flack for various reasons; I don't know them all. Mostly, I know he's ridiculed for being a joke of a Presidential candidate. But God damn if he doesn't say the exact right thing better than anyone else at the exact right time. In his famous Crossfire appearance, Jon Stewart spoke of his admiration of Sharpton, saying he was the most impressive candidate of the lot:
CARLSON: Of the nine guys running, who do you think was best. Do you think he was the best, the most impressive?So, today, what did Sharpton say?
STEWART: The most impressive?
STEWART: I thought Al Sharpton was very impressive. I enjoyed his way of speaking. I think, oftentimes, the person that knows they can't win is allowed to speak the most freely.
"He created a comfort level, where people that felt they were separate became interconnected with his music. And it was that comfort level that kids from Japan and Gauna and France and Iowa and Pennsylvania got comfortable enough with each other till later it wasn't strange to us to watch Oprah on television. It wasn't strange to watch Tiger Woods golf. Those young kids grew up from being teenage comfortable fans of Michael to being forty years old and being comfortable to vote for a person of color to be President of the United States of America."
"There are those that like to dig around mess, but millions around the world, we gonna uphold his message. It's not about mess; it's about his love message. Sometimes as you climb up steep mountains, sometimes you scar your knee; sometimes you break your skin. But don't focus on the scars, focus on the journey. Michael rose to the top. He out-sang his cynics. He out-danced his doubters. He out-performed the pessimists. Every time he got knocked down, he got back up. Every time you counted him out, he came back in. Michael never stopped."
"I want his three children to know: Wasn't nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what he had to deal with."
July 4th, 2009
|08:01 am - Edward Hopper - Early Sunday Morning|
I wonder if Edward Hopper took photographs or if he just sat outside and painted for an hour or so at the exact time of day he needed to.
|04:03 am - Stars & Stripes|
"We're takin' those casualties so casually, so naturally, his flag, you see, it's on fire."
"Got a question for Lou Dobbs: If Mexicans do jobs that Americans don't want, who carries the blame? You call 'em criminals, but you would do the very same if it was you; listen Lou, you sit in your big house, tell 'em to wait in line, so we can take our time and pick and choose. Meanwhile, they kids missin' shoes and life's passin' them by, but you still askin' why they don't listen to rules. Well, if it don't make dollars, then it don't make sense, you don't really want a fence in any event. Let's be real: this country was built on cheap labor and greed for paper; you can try and send them home, but they gonna keep coming like __________. That's the only chance they coulda had at a better life. So, give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses. It's the American dream."
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
- Emma Lazarus (inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty)
July 3rd, 2009
Look at the size of that forehead; you can tell elephants are intelligent, have an awareness. Any animal that mourns its dead is intelligent in my book.
I thought turtles had separate compartments for the head & arms; I guess I was wrong. This one looks as though that front flap could pull all the way up to completely enclose the arms & head; I wonder if it can.
July 2nd, 2009
June 30th, 2009
|04:30 pm - My Art Website: Questions|
1. Should I include sections for graphic design, photography and childhood (though clearly these are not my strengths)?
2. Are you able to easily read all the text on your monitor?
3. Do you consider $200 per square foot a reasonable rate for an oil painting? Too low or too high? Do you know anyone who would be willing to pay this?
"You've got the butterfly part down, Brother Michael.
And you sing most sweet to complete the cycle.
But before you can sting people out of their wits,
You got to put on some meat and keep on eatin' your grits."
"Man, you cold. Bam."
"Tell Me More" has the most informative coverage I've come across:
And this channel includes the '93 Oprah interview & an '09 British documentary:
June 28th, 2009
"Oh, a lot can happen?! All of a sudden you can just quit believing in God?!"
"All of a sudden, there is no God?!"
"Well, let me tell ya, you wanna know there's no God? Then, you're gonna get absolutely nothing, nothing for Christmas! 'Cause that's what Christmas is about— is Jesus Christ!"
June 27th, 2009
June 26th, 2009
|04:29 pm - Trompe-l'œil|
This technique of painting is known as trompe-l'œil.
This image was taken from Ultimate Mural Gallery.
June 24th, 2009
|02:51 pm - Mark Sanford|
ONTD_Political: Where else are you going to find folks THIS interested in a breaking political news story?
(Scrolling down pg. 1 is how I found out what happened.)
(For those of you who don't know, Mark Sanford is the governor of South Carolina who went missing for about five days, without telling any of his co-workers, friends, associations, fellow politicians or EVEN HIS FAMILY where he was going OVER FATHER'S DAY WEEKEND. When Sanford finally emerged, his excuse was that he likes nature & he went hiking. But, TODAY, dude gave a press conference to further clarify the matter.)
June 23rd, 2009
|10:50 am - Um, Friends List? Help To Educate Me About The Ongoing Situation in Iran!|
I am NOT paying as much attention as I should to what is happening in Iran right now.
JASON JONES: You sound like a threat to me.
ALI ABTAHI: Which one is a threat?
JASON JONES: You are a threat.
ALI ABTAHI: Why?
JASON JONES: You are a threat to every caricature of an Islamic cleric I have ever seen.
(I <3 Jason Jones (& Ali Abtahi too).)
June 22nd, 2009
June 21st, 2009
Northeastern US weather patterns make no sense. Yesterday, clouds were moving in a clear West-to-East pattern. Now this morning, all the clouds are moving in a clear Northeast-to-Southwest pattern. It's like the movement of a tropical storm. I suppose it is hurricane season.
June 20th, 2009