Monday, May 3, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Having said that — I watched the movie Kick Ass and it was brutally violent.
It’s about everyday people — teens and a father and daughter — who transform themselves into super heroes.
I read the rating explanation before I went to the theater. I understood there would be violence. The R-rating very clearly stated: “R:Strong brutal violence throughout, language, sexual content, nudity & drug use — involving children, 118 min.”
“It’s supposed to be funny,” I told my friend Julie.
We saw the movie Date Night the day before. Our options for a Friday matinee were slim. Her boyfriend wanted to see one of the other movies playing, so we couldn’t see that comedy. The rest didn’t capture our interest.
“Surely they don’t show it,” I told Julie.
We went and sure enough they did show the violence. My eyes were glued to the screen about two-thirds of the time. The story was very good. I just didn’t like the violence. Did I think it was too much? Yes. Did I watch it? No.
For one-third of the movie, I had one hand over my eyes with my head down. The other hand was rubbing my baby belly. I’m not sure if I just got tense or just became uncomfortable in those chairs, but I don’t think Enzo liked being at an R-rated violent movie with his mom.
The only saving grace for the violence was the music. I knew almost instantly when to look down and when I could return to the screen — all based on the musical cues that followed the action.
I only bring this up, because despite not seeing a third of it — I really liked this movie. I couldn’t sit through it a second time, but it was an interesting story.
A high school student with no super powers decides to become a super hero; because he’s tired of being robbed on the street by criminals and seeing other people just look away. Instead of just “existing,” he decides to do something.
My aversion to violence has made me miss many films. I’ve never watched No Country for Old Men despite its local connection to Del Rio. I love the tagline for this movie: “Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash near the Rio Grande.”
I’m told the sudden violence in that movie would probably put me over the edge. The moral of the story is “don’t pick up anything in the desert.” I can get that without seeing a lot of people die in grisly ways.
I compared Kick Ass to my movie experience with The Last Samurai. I only watched the samurai film, because my late husband couldn’t read the subtitles and I had to play interpreter. I’m glad I watched it too, because it was a moving story.
My movie habits won’t change, because twice in a six-year span I have suffered through violence to catch a good storyline. I lean more toward comedies, romantic comedies and crying dramas.
I might consider a movie, if I hear it has an interesting story despite the R-rating for “strong brutal violence throughout.” But, we’ll just have to see how courageous I feel that day.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
We say it every election cycle, but people seem to always forget this. An election with a close result is good reminder — every vote counts.
In Del Rio, the Republican party had a close election for the county judge candidate. This week, after an electronic recount Laura Allen was declared the winner with 693 votes. Her opponent Dr. Robert C. Overfelt had 691 votes.
Election day was several week ago and the numbers have changed a bit. I recall the initial tally had Allen ahead by a single vote. Yes — one vote.
Close returns are tough. What ifs abound?
What if more people had turned out at the polls on election day?
What if the losing candidate has just convinced two more people to show up at the polls and vote?
What if more people had turned up at the polls?
Our county seemed to have a low turnout. There were no lines at my polling precinct. There were no hot races like a presidential election or a county sheriff's race on the ballot. Those two tend to attract larger numbers to the polls.
This year, there were several gubernatorial candidates to choose from, but it didn't seem to create a large turn out on election day. There were plenty of county seats on the ballot, but this also did not motivate more voters to cast a ballot.
The election results are a good reminder that every vote counts. Literally, your vote could make or break a change in government. So, don't forget to vote in the next election.
I'm tired of all this back and forth about health care reform. I want a vote — whether through reconciliation, deeming or a rule action. I'm not sure what all those terms mean and I don't think half the broadcasters, reporters, bloggers or Congressional leaders do either.
There are lots of nasty buzzwords being used to describe these procedures and to discourage the use of them. There also appears to be historical data showing that each party has used these procedures in the past.
I don't care about the politics. I just want to see a few things accomplished.
I want to see lifetime caps disappear in insurance policies. It's really easy for a catastrophic illness to cost a million dollars in a short period of time. Those benefits run out way before the life of the individual with the illness, disease or stroke may end.
I want to see an opportunity for every person to have access to health care. I'm not talking about having access to the emergency room for a sinus infection. I'm talking about the ability to see a family doctor for preventative health care issues as well as infections and colds.
I want to see the health care bill streamlined. It would be nice to have it come in a smaller package, but I also understand it is trying to deal with multiple complex issues. It sets out some pretty lofty goals to be in place immediately and phased in over the next few years.
I want to see those kickbacks removed. I don't know what the Senate was thinking when they approved some of the perks for Nebraska and Louisiana. Who knows what other states benefited from these crazy deals? The deals need to go! They are not fair to other states.
I want to see Senate and Congressional leaders pass health care reform. If it's a legal method that has been employed by Congress in the past to approve legislation, then I think it should be used today.
I sent e-mails this morning to my Congressman and my Senators. It took longer to fill out the contact information than it did to ask them nicely to support the passage of health care reform.
I know there are a lot of people who hate the idea of health care reform. That's fine. You need to let Congressional leaders know how you feel, too.
It's easy, go to this Web site and you can find the people who represent your district and state. Let them know what you think. Let them know if you are for it or against it.
Monday, March 15, 2010
I'm thinking about Georgia, because I'm a graduate of The University of Georgia and my immediate family remains there. I recently received an e-mail from the alumni association talking about past cuts and proposed cuts. The overall picture looks pretty grim as plans include reducing the freshman class, faculty, staff and programs.
Colleges all across the country are facing similar problems. The economy is still in recovery which means that tax collections are down. If state officials can't make their budgets, something has to give. This is where the human toll begins. Some universities are having to take a hard look at programs, fees and tuition costs. Georgians are lucky that lottery funds pay for some tuition costs. Lottery funds don't pay for all the costs associated with education, so this could mean that some students may have to drop out until it becomes more affordable.
I began thinking about college costs recently, because my husband and I are expecting a baby. We put a small amount into a college fund for our son. We aren't even close to the amount suggested to fully fund the account to pay for a college education in 18 years.
Some parents have told me that funding anything at this point may be a bad idea or worse — make me bitter. Yes, I was scratching my head, too. It turns out, parents who plan (i.e. create and put money into college accounts for their children) often get bitter when they see how not planning for college results in free money — scholarships, federal assistance and grants.
When I went to college some two decades ago, there was no trust fund or money set aside to pay for school. My twin sister and I applied for scholarships, grants, financial aid and received minimal student loans to fund our education. We worked part-time at school and at home to pay for the extras.
It seems normal for many students to leave college these days with a diploma in one hand and a student loan debt in the other. I've heard from graduates with minimal debt — under $10,000 — to those reaching $40,000 and beyond. The student loan debt often surpasses the recent graduate's first year salary, if he or she can find a job.
Bitterness is also at work for those who repay their student loans. I'm not sure how people do it, but some people apparently do not repay their student loan debt.
Higher education isn't the only area taking a hit in this economy. Last week, there was story after story about communities closing city and county schools, firing teachers and increasing classroom sizes. Schools are finding they can't operate like they have in the past. They have to do things differently.
While I cringe at all the changes (some good and some bad), I can't figure out what the alternative is. We all want our government to cut costs, but we don't want those costs to impact the economy, health care, education, children or the elderly.
I can't figure out a way around. No money seems to clearly equal a cancellation of some services.
We want it all, but I don't think that's possible. Many of us have already looked at the reset button and hit it. We've had to adjust or alter our plans, because the economy and our bank accounts didn't make it possible. Some goals have had to be put on hold. State funded education systems need to do the same thing and move forward in the best way possible in this economy.
Friday, March 12, 2010
I cringed, because I knew things like this would happen. I found this Tweet: "Harry Reid, a sure loser in the 2010 election, would rather be in DC forcing Obamacare thru, than to be with wife in hospital."
Forget the politics of health care reform. Forget that Reid is a Democratic leader.
Think about how each individual deals with medical emergencies differently.
When my late husband had a catastrophic stroke, I was able to stay with him at the hospital. I didn't return to work for four or five weeks. NOT everyone can do that. I had a supportive employer, co-workers and family.
When he was able to communicate with me, he said he didn't remember 99 percent of what happened in that ICU unit. He doesn't know what was said, done or who visited. It's a fog, because of his precarious condition and the environment. It's difficult for many to keep their days and nights straight. The machines and tubes often create noises that muffle and alter reality as well.
While Mrs. Reid has a broken back, nose and neck — all very serious — I understand why Harry Reid did what he did. It's what he needed to do. Once you observe a few medical emergencies, you'll see how each person deals with it differently. Think about it — some people cry and fall to pieces. Some people find an inner strength that no one has seen before. Some people become numb from the experience. Some people let the medical professionals do their job.
People will criticize you no matter what you do. Some people felt like I stayed at the hospital for too long. I was encouraged to leave and to begin moving ahead, but I couldn't. While I wasn't the crying, weepy type, looking back, I honestly needed that time in the bubble of the ICU waiting room to adjust to my new reality.
Money also plays a role in how many react. Some folks can't afford to buy gas for their car to visit loved ones in the hospital. Some can't afford to miss a day of work. After all, the ICU is taking take of your loved one — technically you are there for support.
Don't get me wrong. I strongly believe family contact is important for recovery. But, I don't want to judge a person for how he or she reacts. It's ridiculous to do so. That individual has enough stress. There's no reason to pile it on with snarky remarks.
My mom had a serious neck and back surgery last August. She's recovering nicely, but she has mentioned on more than one occasion that she doesn't remember my visit with her during the post-surgery phase. I was there. She knows I was there, but she can't remember it. It's just another example of where your loved one — may not even know what you're doing to help them.
Unfortunately, there will be nasty comments made about Mr. Reid and how he behaves while his wife is recovering. I think the best thing is to simply offer up a prayer or a nice thought for the family. Medical emergencies are difficult and often devastating. The last thing a family needs is a bunch of nosey folks butting in. Each family needs to make its own decision on what's best. No one else.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
- I write for food.
- I write to persuade public opinion.
- I write to help people!
- I write for release — to put an experience on paper and get it out of my head.
- I write for purpose — to focus on one story, one day and one year.
- I write to think new thoughts.
- I write to share my opinion.
- I write to challenge myself to do something different and to think something different.
- I will write for food.
Friday, February 12, 2010
The nurse faces up to 10 years for "misuse of official information." She wrote an anonymous letter to Texas regulators about a physician at her rural hospital.
She contends she had a professional obligation to protect patients from what she witnessed at the hospital. Prosecutors intend to show at trial that she had a history of making "inflammatory" statements about the doctor and intended to damage his reputation.
While reading this story, I couldn't comprehend that a medical complaint would rise to the level of a felony charge against the person making it. I have complained about medical professionals and facilities before. It's something that I believe as a patient and/or a caregiver I have a right to do.
It's simple. If something is bad, tell the people in charge. If they don't do anything, go to the next level, etc.
In Texas, it might not be that simple. This case is significant, because it's not a patient or a family member who has blown the whistle. It's a nurse. A nurse, who with access to medical charts and with a trained medical background, could provide a complaint against a physician or medical organization in greater detail than a patient or family member.
The nurse on trial and another one have lost their jobs over the complaints. If all this can happen to a nurse, what will happen to patients and family members who complain about the quality of their medical care and the people who provide it? This is one trial I hope the prosecution can't prove.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
"Wash your mouth out with soap!" It's a phrase we heard as children from our real parents and those perfect TV sitcom parents. It was typically a threat for saying something inappropriate like a four-letter word (you now a curse word).
Things sure have changed this century. In general, four-letter words are more common. I'm not sure they are more accepted, but they sure do surface a lot more on TV.
I may get embarrassed watching primetime programs, but it usually has to deal with the sexual content or context — not the words being said by fictional characters or by reality TV cast members.
With 2009 still not far in our rear view mirrors, there are several lists still making headlines for 2010. Time magazine reported on a list of banned words for 2010. It's not dirty words. It's a list of over-used words. The list came from Lake Superior State University folks, who have been releasing a list of words banished from the Queen's English for mis-use, over-use and general uselessness for 35 years.
While the list might not wield any power in 2010, it's interesting to take a look at the list. I don't think I'll be using No. 14: Chillaxin'. I never knew about this word before reading the list. Other words like transparency will most likely be used whether it's talking about health care reform or full-body scans at the airport.
The complete 2010 list:
7. Friend as a verb
8. Teachable Moment
9. In These Economic Times ...
11. Toxic Assets
12. Too Big to Fail
15. Obama as a prefix
Sunday, January 3, 2010
I served once on a county jury in a Georgia town. I was shocked then to be selected for service, especially since I worked for the county's only newspaper. It didn't matter. The county attorney was also selected for the same jury. I imagine there are a lot of factors attorneys and prosecutors go through during jury selection. I may not have been the best choice, but I'm guessing I was a better than someone else choice.
I suspect I was chosen for the federal jury last November, because I had a low juror number and a third of the people who showed up for jury selection knew the defendants. By noon, I lifted my hand to take the oath with 13 other folks.
I took the judge's instruction to not look up information about the case or talk to people about it very seriously. While at home, I checked my e-mail via my iPhone and didn't turn my computer on for the three days I served as a juror. I didn't watch the local news in case the court case was on some TV station's radar. It wasn't, but just to be safe no news for me.
I didn't think I was doing anything extraordinary until I read this Time article about jurors. Apparently, some folks can't stand to be away from Google, etc. I figured it was best to stay away from all the technology for a few days. Besides, I was exhausted after each day at court. Sure, we reported at 9:30 a.m., but we didn't leave until after 8 p.m.
Who had time to input any more data anyway? We were given all this information and we had no outlet for it -- we were not allowed to talk among ourselves and we certainly were not allowed to speak to other people about it.
It's interesting to see how jurors are influenced by technology today. Information and data needs to be presented in a way, so it captures the minds and attention of the jurors. In the federal courtroom where I served, they had an electronic "white board" that enabled prosecutors and defendant attorney's to show evidence, highlight it and enlarge the image to make a point.
TV shows like CSI often have a negative impact on the court system. Hollywood reality and crime scene investigation reality are two different things. On TV, they have the best technology and can solve a case every time thanks to clever writers. In reality, state crime lab budgets have been slashed and the scientists don't always confirm data 100 percent. Test results aren't ready in hours like they are on TV. State crime labs often have a backlog of cases and can't pass along information to detectives for weeks and sometimes months.
Jury duty is important. It's not convenient, but it's not totally unreasonable either. If your can't serve, you just have to ask for an excuse.
Jury duty isn't comfortable, because you are deciding something very serious -- guilty or not guilty. I look at jury service as if the defendants themselves had selected me. They asked for a trial by jury and I was asked (summoned) to help make that happen. They may not like the verdict I helped deliver, but the system allows them to appeal that.
At the end of the trial, I did what the courts and the defendants asked me to do. I did it all with just the evidence and information the court provided. I didn't use the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, Google or anything else.