You Keep Using That Word

I do not think it means what you think it means.

Hello dear reader(s)!

Today’s word is not “inconceivable”, like in the awesome movie The Princess Bride, from which I took the title and first line of this post.

Today’s word is “ally”.

And for this post, “ally” is specifically referring to those who claim to be for equal rights for LGBTQAEIOU and sometimes Y people.  (Yes, I do not indulge in petty arguments over letters.  Feel free to add or subtract your own.)

You see, last month was Pride month.  And last month, a lot of people had their rainbow flags (some of whom argued over colors), and all kinds of posts about how they were an ally.  How they think that who people love should not matter.  And that’s great.

Except I know how some of these people voted.  These people are not allies.

You can not be an ally if you voted for a Trump/Pence ticket.  I could possibly forgive you for falling for Don the Con’s lip-service to the gay community, but his choice for Vice President was made before you voted.  And Mikey “Mother Lover” Pence is not exactly a friend to the gay community.  He is an enemy.  If you voted to advance his career, you are, in fact, the exact opposite of an ally.  Jeffyboy Sessions (KKK trash) was pretty well-known to be unfriendly to anyone who was not a rich, straight, white male.  Trump himself was pushed heavily by outspoken evangelical enemies of the gay community and it does not take a rocket scientist to know that he would be supporting their hateful, freedom to discriminate agenda.  You can’t be an ally if you are in league with the enemy.  And I don’t care if you are gay, or bi, or trans, or pansexual, genderfluid, queer, intersex, alien, mermaid…if you voted for these clowns, you need to have your head examined for your self-loathing selling-out of your rights.

Allies, provide mutual defense.  Allies come to the aid of those attacked.  Allies sure as hell do not prioritize another issue over the safety and freedom of those who they ally with.  Allies don’t justify the loss of rights of their allies from some empty promises and other rhetoric on other issues important to them.

Being an ally doesn’t just mean posting a rainbow flag on Facebook.  You can’t be an ally and still vote for people looking to take away the rights of your allies.  Greg Abbott voters are not allies.  You can’t justify people’s discrimination as religious freedom and call yourself an ally.

You can’t knowingly support certain discriminatory businesses and call yourself an ally.  Allies don’t get give material support and aid to the enemies of their allies.

When I say I am an ally, here is what I mean:

  • I will never set foot in a Chik-fil-A or any business that I KNOW contributes to the denial of rights or fights to discriminate against others using “religious freedom” as an excuse  This shit was supposed to be settled when racists argued their religion allowed them to discriminate against black people.  I am certain I unwittingly consume from hateful-ass companies, but I try.
  • I will call out anyone and everyone as hateful when they support hateful legislation  Like when I blasted the Mormons for opposing Prop 8 and lost friends as a result.
  • I will defend my allies from attack as vigorously as I would defend myself  And if you fuck with one of the allies who are close to me, even more so.
  • I will vote for the candidate least likely to deny people’s rights in any election ever  Nothing is more important.
  • I will do my best to make my voice heard whether it is June, or July, or any time.  That means showing up to marches when I can, or spreading the word when I can’t.  It means posting about it here.  It mean calling my representatives anytime I am aware of legislation that could potentially impact my allies.
  • I will not associate with any group that discriminates  I think it is hilarious that Christians often call-out Muslims for not stopping those who hate in their religion’s name, and those who commit acts of violence, but are unusually silent when a much higher percentage of people in their own religion hate and commit violence against gay people.  I am surprised when I see people attend churches that are opposed to gay rights while claiming to be an ally.

I am an ally.  Some of the people close to me are in constant danger or losing their rights or being harmed.  I am their ally though, and if you want to attack them, be prepared for a war.

 

 

Friends With Benefits

Hello dear reader(s)!

This post is not about fuck buddies.  I am talking about the kind of benefits you might get from a job.  Benefits like good health insurance, 401K, a pension (if they still have those, and won’t sue to get out of them later), short and long-term disability benefits, a large coke, and a side of onion rings.

I remember when I didn’t have any benefits.  I had friends with benefits, that I was very jealous of.  Having no health insurance sucked.  I was always scared something catastrophic would happen if I were to get sick or injured.  I racked up a lot of medical debt during that time, from the non-catastrophic but still emergent things I needed done.

Eventually, I got a job with good benefits.  It came right in time as only about a year later I really started showing signs that I had cancer.  I was extremely fortunate to have had that job and those benefits when I did.  My company self-insured, but used a major insurance company to administer their plan.  It was a great plan, much better than any of the standard plans you see on the exchanges, or even with a good Medicare Advantage plan.

Now class, pay attention, because here is where I propose a plan for healthcare in this nation that might actually be feasible.  Ready?

Start by taking away the exchange and individual insurance markets from the health insurance companies, and give everyone not on a group plan Medicare.  We will not get a Medicare-for-all system as long as these companies are buying our politicians.  Even taking away the individual markets will require some strength on the part of those in power, but it will make those officials hugely popular with their constituents.  In exchange for losing the individual markets to Medicare, they can open their Medicare Supplemental and Medicare Advantage plans to those new Medicare recipients, provided those plans closed the donut-hole for prescriptions.  Some revenue for them would be better than none to them, which is the only other viable alternative.

In the meantime, the insurance companies can continue to insure and administer group plans, but all ACA requirements on plan quality must remain, and the plans must cover at least what Medicare does, for less cost to the employee, so that those plans are not seen as punishment for working.  Health coverage from a job should be an actual benefit.

Medicare should be allowed to then negotiate with pharmaceutical companies and other provider groups to lower healthcare costs.

My proposal would be paid for by lifting the payroll tax cap, a cut to the growth rate of our defense budget, and by folding the VA into the new Medicare system, and selling the facilities and assets to private hospital groups to be privately run, provided they agree to all of Medicare’s rules.  Our veterans will no longer have to wait and be neglected at some sub-standard facility.  Veteran’s Medicare would not have coinsurance but would be administered by Medicare rather than having a separate department and more overhead.

I would attempt to phase out the insurance companies from group plans as well, allowing those companies to reconfigure and find other ways to remain in business, but that would likely be a non-starter until automation has made employment obsolete and most of us are on a universal basic income.

Any representative who wishes to advance this or a similar proposal in order to fix the broken healthcare system in this country is more than welcome to do so, and can take all the credit for it.

The only thing I ask in return is that I have healthcare when I need it.

 

 

 

Game Of Shutting The Fuck Up

Hello dear reader(s)!

Look, I am not writing this post to take issue with how people like to have fun, or anything about the show itself.  I am sure it is a good show, and once the fucking hype dies down, I might actually want to watch it myself.

And no, there is nothing wrong with talking about something you enjoy online.  To a point.

But please, for the love of all that is good and unholy, shut the fuck up about Game Of Thrones.  Honestly, there are other things in life.

It would be one thing if I was on a dedicated Game Of Thrones fan page.  It would be another thing if it were only on social media.   But for weeks now, all I have been hearing about anywhere in any media or overheard in public is Game Of Thrones.

“Season 7 will be the last!  Oh no!”

“It’s almost here!”

“Kalisisisisiiisiiiiii will be queen of Underoos!”

And on and on and on.

I am a Westworld fan.  I can not wait until it comes back.  I have had conversations about that show with other people who have seen it, or who I am convincing people to watch it with me right before I start it On Demand.  If I were on the Westworld page, I might even have conversations about it with other fans who are strangers.  But I do not post random shit about it on my Facebook like it is somehow important to my life or the lives of other people on my friends list, particularly those who I do not know have seen it.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying something, and doing what you have to do in order to relax and enjoy some things in this world.  If that for you is Game Of Thrones, well then good for you.  But there is something wrong with the obsession about a fucking TV show as if it is somehow central or important to the lives of others.  I don’t give a shit if your character is killed, okay?

It was the same way for The Walking Dead.  After some of that hype died down, I watched it.  It was pretty good.  Not great, certainly not worthy of all the hype, but pretty good.  I even enjoy some of the funny memes made from it.  But do I feel the need to let everyone I know that I am wondering if something will ever happen besides Rick finding some place to stay for a while that seems perfect, but then isn’t due to (insert threat here) before they fight and roam again, rinse and repeat?  Do I update my Facebook status with how much I can’t wait until it starts?  Do I tell people when and where I am watching it?  No.

You may have guessed by the completely unreasonable tone of this post that this isn’t really about Game Of Thrones or The Walking Dead.  It isn’t about any television or leisure activities that people choose to engage in when they need a little escape from the all-you-can-eat crap buffet that is modern society.  It is about distraction.  It is about unhealthy obsession with those escapes that keep people from being engaged in reality.

A break every so often isn’t just good, it is necessary.

But so is living in the real world.  And when people are more concerned with the fate of the corrupt ruler of some land in the world of fiction than they are of the corruption within our own land that affects their lives and the lives of others, something is very wrong.

“The people will not revolt.  They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what is happening.” – George Orwell, 1984

Don’t let your escapes become your reality.  Take the time to enjoy the things you love, but then go back to the world and fight the fights that matter.  Shut the fuck up about Game Of Thrones and anything else until you educate yourself on what is happening in our world, and act accordingly.  Turn off the television long enough to learn the issues, call your representatives, vote, and participate in reality.

Or maybe I really am sick of hearing about it all the time, so even if you don’t do those things, please just shut the fuck up about Game Of Thrones.  😀

– A Grumpy Old Man

 

 

For-Profit

Hello dear reader(s)!

Watch any sports lately?  How about a cooking show?  See any commercials?  Were any of them for alcohol?

In a few minutes, I am probably going to have a special (cannabis infused) brownie.  (Tomorrow I have shit to do, or else I might tomorrow too.)  Part of it will be for my chemotherapy-induced neuropathy pain that is acting up.  Part of it will be to help my anxiety that is so strong this month.  Part of it will be to give me the appetite I need to eat dinner tonight.  Part of it will be because it seems to (seems to because I have no actual studies that show causation) keep my blood counts a bit higher than they are when I have not had any in a while.  Part of it will be to try to prevent some of the nightmares I get this month from coming tonight.

But part of it?  Part of it will just be to help me relax a bit.

And yet, on the federal level, this is a crime.  Jeffy-boy and company do not care for it one bit.  That’s fine, they don’t have to have any.  More for us.

Why is this a problem?

Do you know what I have never seen?  I have never seen a person under the influence of marijuana (and only marijuana) hit their spouse.  I have never seen a person under the influence of marijuana start a bar fight.  I have never seen a person under the influence of marijuana think they are invincible and can drive one hundred miles per hour even though they are too drunk to stand.  And most importantly, I have never seen a person turn yellow and die a slow, horrible death from liver failure because of marijuana.

Guess what I’ve seen from people under the influence of legal, advertised alcohol?

I use cannabis for pain.  I use it to help me relax.  I use it for many reasons.  Because of that, I don’t feel like I need many prescription drugs I would have no problems getting legally.  I had a prescription for heavy opioids before I started realizing the full benefits of cannabis.  You will never catch me at a park with a needle in my arm.  You will never catch me with a brown bag over a bottle.  I have something much safer that is so much more effective with fewer side-effects.

I think it is hilarious that the supposed free-market loving Republicans are against legalizing marijuana.   Taking money from the alcohol lobby and the pharmaceutical lobby to keep it illegal in order to protect the inferior products that are marketed and pushed to us like all the processed crappy food was when I was growing up.

And let’s talk about that food.  Remember when people thought butter was horrible, and margarine was the healthy way to go?  Or the “Low Fat” food was a good thing?  Or avocados were bad because they were fatty fruits?

We are living in an age of capitalism out of control.  When the need for more money puts a large number of people, even entire societies at risk, maybe there needs to be a different way.

It’s no secret that I have considered myself a Democratic Socialist long before I knew who Bernie Sanders was.  But as I see the horrible things companies are doing with our food, our medicine, our healthcare, and housing all in the name of profit, I am digging in even more than ever.  I wonder how these fucking pieces of shit sleep at night.  Maybe on all those dangerous drugs they bribe your doctor into prescribing.

I am not anti-medicine.  I do not believe cannabis cures most things.  I do, based on my own experiences and the studies that have been able to be conducted, believe that it treats and can help prevent many things.  And I am certain that it is only being kept illegal at the federal level in order to protect the profits of industries that trade off of inferior substances.

I choose not to participate.  I will do my own research, and I will try what I choose.  And if something works better for me, that’s what I will do.

I will not eat the artificial everything plus preservatives if I can find fresh and real.  I will not take the synthetic, physically addictive, mildly effective, side-effect prone pill if I know my natural medicine would do a better job of treating the condition.

My life is not for the profit of others.

A Revelation

Hello dear reader(s)!

How the fuck are ya?

I’m a bit better today.  If you read yesterday’s post (Why would you do that to yourself?), then you may have guessed I have been a bit down in the dumps lately due to my anxiety and some adjustment to the stresses that have occurred in my life recently.  A lot of big shit has happened recently, both good and bad, and unfortunately for me, the big bad shit has a tendency to get its stink all over the big good shit so that in my head they almost become indistinguishable from each other.

My feelings of self-worth have been very low.  Being unable to work and enduring a constant attack on people like me from those who are supposedly elected to represent us is taking its toll.  It isn’t just coming from them either (although I suspect that is coloring the opinions of others) as some former friends have also looked down upon me and taken advantage of my limited independence and the situations it has forced me to be in.

With my lousy financial outlook, my physical health battles, and my mental health battles, it has been hard to boost my self-esteem.  I have been feeling like a burden to everyone I know, and to society in general.

And so, in the middle of a massive bout with anxiety yesterday, I had a big, special brownie (Heck of a job, brownie!) and began thinking about myself from a mind that was quieted slightly.  With the replay of self-loathing turned down, I began to objectively look at the person I am, and I had a revelation.

So now, I shall read to you from the book of Special Brownie Revelations, 3:16.

And lo, Josh stopped to think about it, and saw that he is pretty kick-ass.  

It’s true, I am dependent on other people.  Likely always will be.  That does suck.  However, I bring a lot to the table.  Things I think matter a whole lot more than the list of cons that often causes me to feel like I am not good enough.

And now, I present to you, in the order I decided to type them out…

All the reasons I am fucking better than I sometimes think.

  • I am generous  I don’t have a lot, but make me care about you and you will get all I have.  I’d give those I love the skin off my back if that was ever necessary.
  • I am different  I don’t see things like most people. It has allowed me to treat people with respect and a kindness most people don’t expect.
  • I am generous  In bed too.
  • I am open-minded  Not hurting anyone that isn’t an adult who wants to be hurt?  Cool!
  • I am empathetic  This is good and bad, because it means I absorb all of other people’s shit, but it is good because I can relate and care about people and all they face, unless they are total hateful assholes or those who have betrayed me.
  • I have a sense of humor  So what if most of my jokes are cheesy?  At least I can tell them.
  • I am humble  Which is hard when I’m perfect in every way.
  • I am creative  Which is far better than being purely destructive.
  • I make lists of reasons I am better than I sometimes think when I am trying to pull out of bad head space rather than being a whiny piece of shit who decides life is too hard for them and so they get a gun and shoot up former co-workers or exes or some other poor people they blame for the fact that life is just sometimes hard and unfair.  

Anyway, long story slightly less long…

Thank you everyone who read and commented on yesterday’s post.  There is still a ways to go, but I am a bit better today and appreciate everyone’s kindness.

Have a great day and don’t do any mass shootings.

Real Healthcare NOW!

Hello dear reader(s)!

I hate health insurance companies.  So do my doctors.  So do most of the staff I have dealt with, even though I know that without the for-profit middle-men of the insurance companies interfering in health care, many of that staff would not be employed.

The simple fact of the matter, is that health insurance companies make everyone’s health care more expensive, and less effective.

Here is an example, from this morning.

I have a Medicare Advantage plan.   It usually picks up the other 20% Medicare won’t pay, (minus co-pays, deductibles, etc…) and also sets up yearly out-of-pocket maximums which makes it worth it.  It also has a decent drug plan.  However, that means you are subject to networks, and in my case (because it is HMO style), referrals.

So today, I went to an appointment with a PCP (Primary Care Physician, not the drug), in order to…wait for it…get referrals.

You see, for me, with my history, every damn thing I need requires specialists.  A Primary Care Physician simply can’t grasp all of the different pieces of the puzzle that is me.  There are a lot of people like me.

Yet insurance companies work off of what is good for the average patient they are fleecing and know that most people don’t usually need specialists and that they can save more money just be being seen by Primary Care Doctors.

But not me.  And not a lot of other people.  My Primary Care Doctor really has no business being involved in my care.  Yet here I am, taking up an appointment slot, causing a doctor to get paid asking me questions on why I need the specialists I seek when I know damn-well why and could call them myself for the appointments if my insurance would pay.

It is always a fight too.  Despite being part of the same health group of my most recent hospitalization, the initial hospitalization of my first chemotherapy post-diagnosis, and some follow-up care and other hospitalizations, they still have to waste time asking me questions to justify the need.  They finally pull up a bit of records and then they agree, knowing that they have neither the time nor the expertise to treat me.  They bill my insurance company who spreads the costs out in terms of premiums and my insurance company receives money from Medicare.  It was a completely unnecessary visit, but people must get paid.

In addition, my Primary Care Physician always seems to believe they will uncover some truth the specialists will miss or are unrelated to my vast history and will order labs.  (As if the specialists won’t duplicate the same tests when under their care.)  Now I have to go do labs that will then be billed to my insurance company and the government, increasing costs.

The labs will come out abnormal (because it’s me) and the people at the office of the Primary Care Physician will not understand that is my normal and that only a specialist can really properly interpret the numbers.  They will panic and either have me go the ER or come back in for another appointment rather than give me the numbers over the phone or just send them on to the multiple specialists I am already being referred to.  Everyone will get paid.


It’s fucking bullshit.

These fucking death profiteers need to get their grubby-ass hands out of the game altogether.  They are not legitimately insurance, as insurance indemnifies against loss and they just profit while sticking their nose in your treatment.  Their profit margins are so high, as is their overhead, that costs are ridiculous.

Additionally, every hospital and provider group need to hire additional staff in order to deal with these scum which makes the costs of everyone’s healthcare increase.

Then the GOP turns around and blames the sick for everyone’s high costs, not even mentioning the obscene profits of those with their dirty fingers in the pie.  Real insurance, would be able to cover everyone, with lower costs.  Insurance is a pool, everyone pays into.  The money is available for those who need, on the likely scenario that people paying in will not all need it, but it is there just in case.  When people dip into that pool for insane profits and lavish lifestyles, it makes it seem as though that pool is not big enough even though without the unchecked greed and extra costs, it absolutely would be.

Canada does healthcare great.  Is it perfect?  Nothing is.  But the biggest complaints I hear about Canadian healthcare is the wait for elective procedures.   Our wait is growing here too, and we aren’t covering everyone.

Add to that George W. Bush’s gift to big pharma that Medicare won’t even negotiate for drug prices as a block, and it is no wonder people (not just the poor) are losing everything when a health issue arises.

Despite popular belief, a lot of the catastrophic health issues that arise have nothing to do with lifestyle.


My Medicare Advantage plan is better than Medicare alone.  Am I glad I have it?  No.  Because in most places I wouldn’t need it.  It costs money for the premiums and my income is already severely limited.

A lot of people do not like the politicians in this country.  I am one of them.  Just because vast amounts of money are thrown at someone, doesn’t mean they need to take it and let it influence them.  But a lot of people seem to miss that there are people behind the politicians trying and succeeding at buying their influence.  They claim healthcare is so expensive but throw vast sums of money at people who are supposed to represent you in order to influence policy in a way that brings them the highest possible profits.


We need single-payer healthcare.  Genuine healthcare that isn’t tied to a company’s stock price.  Until we have it, do not expect anything to get better.


If the people ever rise up, I would hope they remember that it is not just the government who is the threat.

 

 

Sex And Magick

Hello dear reader(s)!

Let’s start with a warning for those who freak out of over the concept of sex…

WARNING:  This post talks about sex baby.  It talks about you and me.  It talks about all the good things and the bad things that can be.  It talks about sex.  It talks about sex.  It talks about sex.  It talks about sex.  

That’s protected by parody laws, FYI.

If you’ve been reading this here blog-type-thing for any amount of time, I feel very bad for you.  But that’s not the point here.  If you have been reading this here blog-type-thing for any amount of time, you know that I am someone who is proudly sex-positive.

Being sex-positive, I view sex positively.  It’s right there in the words.  You’d know that if you paid attention in class.  I think nothing is inherently wrong between consenting adults with full knowledge of everything involved.

What is really cool (besides me), is that in my spiritual path, sex is viewed positively.  In fact, Beltaine is coming.  And Beltaine, is a very sexual Sabbat.  Sure it is the halfway point of the year, but in marking the changes that are taking place at that time, sex is certainly a huge a part of it all.  The bees are pollinating.  Taking away the flowers by taking their pollen and fertilizing the plants that will bear fruit.  If that doesn’t bring sex to mind, then you are a far cleaner thinker than I and I feel bad for your partner(s).

In my path, you can even practice magick using sex, called…wait for it, sex magick.  (I know, right?  Who would’ve thought magick during sex would be called sex magick?  That’s just totally unrelated!)  Anyway, I am not going to go into the practice of sex magick.  I am not an instruction manual, unless someone specific wanted a lesson, and called me “teacher”.  Maybe just showed up one day, like today.  And said, “Teacher, can you teach me sex magick, pleeeeeease?”  Maybe then.  Maybe.  If she was lucky.

But you don’t have to practice sex magick or be pagan to know sex is a kind of magic in and of itself.   (Notice the change to just magic, without the K.  That was intentional.  See, things can be magical but not magick.  It’s an interesting distinction.  Like a square is always a rectangle, but a rectangle isn’t always square.  I am getting off topic here.  Shapes get me all worked up.  Mmmm.  Quadrilaterals…..)

Sex bonds most people.  (Better than duct tape, even.)  It can keep connections strong.  It can allow people to feel safe and comfortable.  It can allow people to explore what is inside of themselves.  (How did that get in there?!?!)  It can lead to a deeper understanding of your partner(s) and yourself.  (Nice and deep…)  It can be an outlet for your deepest emotions and desires.  (Butter pecan ice cream?!?)

And sex can hurt.  If used improperly, it is capable of great harm.  Sex is powerful, and must be treated with respect.  “With great power, comes great responsibility.” – The rice guy.

Anything so powerful is magical.

In witchcraft, the acts you do, the spells you do, matter far less to the determination of whether it is light or dark magick than your intent.   (Which isn’t to say that anything you do in the name of magick is acceptable.  Like, no playing Nickelback during a spell or something equally horrific like live sacrifice.)

The same could be said for sex.  The acts, while they can be wonderful, (very, very wonderful, if you’re with me, baby…), matter far less than your intent.

You don’t have to be a follower of my path or a believer in magic to know that sex is powerful.  Even if you are a member of a more puritanical system of beliefs, you know that much of trying to control sex is based on the power it can have over someone.  Or the power it can give them.

But it’s my opinion that there is nothing wrong with power if you use it properly.  Whether it is magical power, sexual power, political power (can we please get someone to use that properly?), or any other kind of power.

Taking power over our lives, our bodies, and our desires is our right.  It can lift us up and remind us that we are feeling, passionate human beings.  It can remind us of what is within us that makes up a huge part of who we are.  It can also make us feel really fucking good.

For as much as sex is shied away from in our society, it is important to remember that we are only here because of the magic of sex.  Just because the sex you have isn’t intended to reproduce, it is not accident that in the right combination it is literally why we are here.  Fortunately, not every type of sex or every sex act is intended to cause reproduction.  The world is overpopulated enough as it is, and not everyone is intended to reproduce.  That is magic.

Straight sex, gay sex, self sex, monogamous sex, poly sex… if it is something between consenting adults who are fully aware of the factors at play, you are feeling the magic.  (If you are not totally selfish, your partner(s) is/are too.)  If your intentions are good, rough sex, vanilla sex, whatever you like, is good, positive magic and you should be proud to be living a magical life.

I hope this season is very magical for all of you.   😉

I leave you with a little mood music.

Featured Image By Yoninah – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10216975