Mother Goose & Grimm isn't one of my favorite comics, but every once in a while they do something I really like. Maybe this is only impressive to a select few, but my nephew is one of them, so....
Are Grossmutti and Grossvater ready for guests from Florida? Who knew there was a secret passage from Diagon Alley, Orlando to Basel-Land?
It takes a rich, greedy capitalist to grind the poor into the dust, right? Certainly over the years many have done a very good job of that. Our recent viewing of the documentary, Queen Victoria's Empire, drove home the disastrous consequences of both imperialism in Africa and the Industrial Revolution back home in Britain.
However, the same video also revealed the devastation that can be wrought by someone with good intentions, even against his will (e.g. David Livingstone), and especially when combined with the above-mentioned greed (e.g. Cecil Rhodes).
Which brings me to the point. I cannot count the hours and hours of struggle Porter has put into getting us health insurance in these post-retirement times. Without a doubt, I am personally grateful for the choices the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) offers us, as much as I philosophically fear its negative consequences. Some of those negative consequences are personal, too: e.g. the colonoscopies that had been covered by our insurance in the past no longer qualify for coverage because of new rules instituted by the ACA. And we can't afford to get sick until after the end of January, because the "helpful" phone contact assigned us the wrong Primary Care Provider, and the fix won't go into effect till February 1. However, I admit to no longer hoping for repeal of the ACA, because the damage has been done. Too many people, including us, are now dependent on it. I doubt we can put the genie back in the bottle.
While I freely acknowledge that the passage of the ACA had at its heart noble ideals and good intentions, I'm not convinced it's really helping the poor, or at least not as much as it's helping people who get rich off the needs of the poor. Porter, being retired, has the time to put into navigating the complex and exceedingly frustrating waters. He also has a degree in economics and a mind well-suited to financial calculations. Which convinces me that the truly impoverished will (1) throw up their hands and settle for a much less than optimal health care plan, or (2) fall prey to those who would profit from doing the paperwork for them, while charging inordinate fees and still coming up with a less than optimal plan.
Nonetheless, the purpose of this post is neither to start a political discussion nor to depress you. It's to honor my husband, for whom Sunday's Animal Crackers comic could have been created:
No doubt about it: I married the right man.
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Thanks to Katie of Peace on Birth, I bring a simple smile to your day. This is especially for those dear to us who are expecting their fourth child and live in a two-bedroom apartment, and for those who passed the family-of-six point quite a while ago. :) He's a little too hard on fathers, but you can tell he doesn't really mean it, just poking fun at himself to make a point. I'd never heard of Jim Gaffigan, but that's a name I'll be alert to from now on. There are some things he gets that few commedians do. I do wish he'd stop with the singular use of "they," however. I mean, he's talking about mothers. I think he could use "she" without excluding anyone.
You'd be shocked at the number of people who think our daughter and her family live in Sweden. Just as homeschoolers know that they will inevitably and repeatedly be asked the S Question ("But what about socialization?"), the Swiss know that much of the world will always think they live in the land of IKEA, ABBA, and free health care. Thus I was not surprised to see the following in an article on the Cooking Light website.
First Up: You'll love this Rösti Casserole with Baked Eggs. We have whittled down the calories in this traditional Swedish dish and added our own spin with Greek yogurt and artisan spices. This dish embodies the alluring qualities you'd expect from rösti—shredded potatoes that are cooked until browned and crisp on the edges. Serve with a colorful mixed greens salad.
At least the Swiss won't have to be annoyed at the alterations to their traditional dish—they can blame it on the Swedes.
Forget Area 51, the NSA's invasive civilian spying, and anything else you may think the U.S. government has tried to keep up its sleeves. Edward Snowden has nothing on me. I will now reveal to you the government's greatest secret:
The United States Post Office has discovered instantaneous transport!
Here at Lift Up Your Hearts! we have obtained a copy of the official government record of a small package sent between the United States and Switzerland. (Not to CERN, but to what our sources indicate may be the home laboratory of one of its top up-and-coming scientists.)
There it is, ladies and gentlemen: the Secret of the Century is out. And you thought only quantum particles could be in two places at the same time.
Next up for our intrepid investigative reporters? Digging into the dirty secret of why it still takes four days to travel the 250 miles from Altamonte Springs to Miami.
"Great goddess Athena, great god Apollo, we ask that you impart wisdom in these proceedings today," Jennifer Zarpentine, a Wiccan priestess, prayed at the town board meeting of Greece, New York, in April 2008.
"Help the board to make the right, informed decisions that will benefit the greater good of this community. This we ask of you." As board members continued to bow their heads in prayer, several other meeting attendees responded with the pagan version of amen, "So mote it be."
Thus begins a Christianity Today editorial from a couple of months ago (subtitled "Why we pray before public meetings—and let pagans do the same"). It's a serious article, which is no doubt why the location of this town meeting passes without further comment. To the writer, I suppose, it might as well have been Chili, or Brighton, or any of the other suburbs of Rochester, New York. Being from that part of the state, however, and under no compulsion to be serious, my own first reaction was that nothing could be more appropriate in Greece than prayers to Athena and Apollo.
From a Facebook friend, a facinating article on the schwa, which leads to this video on English as a stress-timed language. They mention Spanish and French as syllable-timed. I wonder about other languages, such as German and Swiss German, but do not have time at the moment to investigate. And I thought we were just being lazy.
Fifty years makes no difference in the susceptibility to parody of elementary mathematics education in America.
My apologies: I can't get the embedding to work on this Stephen Colbert video, but you can click on the link above.
Funny—with so much of the mainstream now celebrating Pi Day, I find myself less inclined to do so. But for the sake of our grandson, with whom a phone conversation is more likely to consist of recitations of pi to 36 digits, or of whether a given number is prime or composite, than it is of "what did you do today?" I will reprise the Pi Day video I posted in 2011. Enjoy!
I am so not ready to go back on Daylight Saving Time. The only good part about changing the clocks is the extra hour of sleep, and that only happens in the fall. This, however, makes the medicine go down a little easier. (Thanks, Tim!) (My European audience can enjoy it in three weeks.)
Although we missed our own Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner and burning-of-the-palms this year, I love this traditional prelude to Lent. After we left Norwood, Massachusetts, our friend Alan became vicar of a small church there. He has since written a book, and more to the point, produced this homage to Shrove Tuesday pancake dinners, inspired by Robert W. Service's The Shooting of Dan McGrew. As a fan of all three (Service, Alan, and Shrove Tuesday pancakes), I had to reproduce it here (with permission).
The kitchen crew was whippin’ it up
at the Redeemer pancake dinner.
The band that was playin’ the Bluegrass tunes
was pickin’ ‘em out like a winner.
There at the back was a man in black,
who was speakin’ of Israel;
And by his side was the love of his life,
the lady that's known as Gail.
The cause of all of this merriment
was the upcoming purple season;
And so the crowd was chewin’ the fat,
as if they needed a reason.
The following day would bring ashes and grief,
forty days of a somber tone.
But tonight they wore beads and sated their needs
by carvin’ the ham to the bone.
The vicar was telling the lamest of jokes,
as the vicar is wont to do.
They say that the Anglicans know how to drink,
and they surely know how to eat too.
These are the simple facts of the case,
and I guess I ought to know.
There was food and fun, and everyone smiled,
I saw as I watched them go.
There’s a time for Lent and a time to repent,
but the season goes down so much better,
If you start it off by gorging yourself
on homemade pancakes and butter.
When he was young, my father had a two-mile walk to work, and used the time to memorize long poems, including Dan McGrew and another Service work, The Cremation of Sam McGee. Later, upon request, he would recite them to his children and grandchildren. That pleasure cemented my love of the poems, and it came flooding back when I read Alan's verse. Thank you, Alan and Vivien!