Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More Important Than Usual

Here's what I gotta say about the health insurance debate. A public option is necessary. For-profit companies are already making decisions about who gets to live and die and how. My personal example does not deal with me, but with my friend Stacy. Stacy had Hodgkins, a lymphatic cancer. She was treated in conventional ways, via chemo and radiation. The time then came when her doctor decided that her best course of treatment would be a bone-marrow transplant. Her health insurance, however, denied coverage for the procedure, saying it was experimental.

You can read about her struggle with the insurance here and here. Fortunately, Stacy had the option to get married and go onto her husband's insurance, which covered the treatment. What I like best (and that's sarcasm there) is that her health insurance company told her that it was her choice to proceed with the treatment or not. As she so aptly put it, "To LIVE or DIE?"

I have no doubt that Stacy's story is not the only one like this. When I had my own cancer scare last year, one of the things I thought about was "Oh shit, I'm going to have to work at this job forever." The fact that this happens here, in America, is wrong and unacceptable.

Stacy eventually did have her bone marrow transplant, though the side effects eventually got her, too young and too soon. You can help people who have cancer in the Pittsburgh area by buying a print of Stacy's art.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Renting Textbooks

Two articles from the NYT about renting textbooks. The first concerns some startups that are conducting this business over the internet. The second is about the fact that some bookstores and textbook publishers have decided to join the rental trend.

All I have to say is "hit the bookstore early" and "used books are your friend." It's worth it to pick through the pile to find books that are un-marked up.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Long Term"

On this they were in agreement
everything that can happen between two people
happens after a while

or has been thought about so hard
there's almost no difference
between desire and deed.

Each day they stayed together, therefore,
was a day of forgiveness, tacit,
no reason to say the words.

It was easy to forgive, so much harder
to be forgiven. The forgiven had to agree
to eat dust in the house of the noble

and both knew this couldn't go on for long.
The forgiven would need to rise;
the forgiver need to remember the cruelty

in being correct.
Which is why, except in crises,
they spoke about the garden,

what happened at work,
the little ailments and aches
their familiar bodies separately felt.
by Stephen Dunn, published in New and Selected Poems 1974-1994, New York: Norton, 1994.


I promise to get better again at posting on this blog. (Yeah, yeah, that's what they all say...)

I am thoroughly enjoying both my new job and new living situation. How could life be bad when the commute was cut down from an hour and fifteen minutes to just over 10? A week and a half after moving in, my bedroom is sane, though my other room, "office," is not. It will get there, with some dedicated time. I am pleased that I live closer to fun things to do, like the movies and a bookstore, plus to one of my best friends from college. She and I went to IKEA so that I could get some more bookshelves since one third of my books cannot reside at school anymore. Then we went to see the new Harry Potter movie in IMAX, very exciting & 3-D for the first 20 minutes. After that, I have no idea if it was any better, but those 20 minutes were worth the extra $4 to see the movie. Inspired, I have begun to reread the series.

Some quotes for you from What Now? by Ann Patchett:
"There are too many forces, as deep and invisible as tides, that keep us bouncing into places where we never thought we'd wind up."

"Just because things hadn't gone the way I planned didn't necessarily mean they had gone wrong. ... The secret is finding the balance between going out to get what you want and being open to the thing that actually winds up coming your way."