June 23rd, 2009

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A Garden Report

Here is a fascinating post about how the cost of gardening compares to buying food at a store.

One reason I like to grow fruits and herbs is because those things are expensive to buy. Another is that stores don't always offer variety; if I want yellow raspberries, I have to grow my own. This is especially true of unusual fruits such as saskatoons or gold currants. Then too, what I grow is better than what I could buy, unless I'm shopping at the farmer's market once a month or so. Wild strawberries are vastly more flavorful than domestic ones. Also I don't put chemicals on my fruit or herbs (although I do sometimes douse the Japanese beetles with insecticide, if they're on leaves I don't plan to eat).
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The Crowdsource Tarot

beetiger and sythyry have collaborated with friends to create The Crowdsource Tarot. The main site features background information on the project, text descriptions and interpretations for the cards, a divination tool, a donation button, and an invitation for artists to illustrate the cards. Looks like fun to me, and the concepts are well assembled.
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Health Care Logic

I love this post, quoting Obama:

Thank you, Mr. President, for the health care logic
“I don’t get it. If the insurance companies offer the great deals they say they do, then people will continue to buy their offerings. They shouldn’t be the slightest bit afraid of competition from the government, who everyone says doesn’t know what it’s doing anyway.”


I think that ...

1) If the health insurance industry is really good, then it will easily out-compete a government alternative, because many people believe the government is incompetent.

2) If the health insurance industry is really terrible, then it deserves to be out-competed by any and all competitors, according to fundamental principles of the capitalist system which America chooses to follow.

3) "Health insurance" supplies neither health nor assurance, and serves mainly to transfer wealth up the pyramid. Trying to make a profit off of sick and injured people creates an inherent conflict of interest, and is not an effective or moral way of establishing and maintaining good public health. Non-profit health organizations tend to provide better quality for less cost than profiteering ones.

4) America could do much better than we are in terms of public health. The fact that we have chosen not to, and the people in power are now arguing over how to continue not doing so, is a demonstration of how America values money over people ... and the consequences of such foolishness.
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Playtesting the Crowdsource Tarot

While writing a review of the Crowdsource Tarot, I did a test reading ...

You asked: "What's going on with the local community?"

The Basis: Mecha
Two anime-style mecha duel with overly-adorned swords and energy blasts in front of a pagoda. The one that is facing the viewer has an open cockpit; a terrified androgynous Asian youth is piloting it.
Meaning: You don't think you can do this, but you can.

The Situation: Umbrella, reversed
As a storm approaches, a street vendor selling incense and water pipes switches over to selling umbrellas.
Meaning: When it rains, it pours.

The Outcome: The Unfindable
A miserable cyclops is surrounded by his flocks. He is patting the ground, desperately seeking his lost contact lens. In the corner of the picture, a stealthy Greek sailor is sneaking off, carrying a one-chambered contact lens case.
Meaning: You are putting too much trust in a single thing.

You may ask another question
Reading from The Crowdsource Tarot


Our local community has its ups and downs; summer is usually a slow time, and we're low on people and participation right now. The first card is hilariously apt; I often feel like I'm in over my head because my people skills are not always up to the demands. The second card captures the ebb and flow tendency; sometimes we have almost nothing going on, while other times we are inundated with people needing attention and stuff that everybody wants to do. The third card is more puzzling. I'm not sure the given interpretation is as apt as another I see within the image: looking for a missing piece.

On the whole, I deem this a valid reading and the deck effective. It got me to think -- and that is usually my main expectation for a divination tool.
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Visit the Phrontistery

Today janetmiiles pointed me to The Phrontistery. For some time I have enjoyed the glossary parts of the site -- but I just noticed that forthright has the blog set up in LJ. So I clicked Add Friend. This is a wonderful resource for writers, editors, linguists, and other word mavens. The whole site is devoted to obscure bits of vocabulary and grammar. By obscure, I mean the kinds of stuff that, if I don't know it, the dictionary probably doesn't either, but that's what's in here.
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Another Health Care Concern

Today elusivetiger pointed out an aspect of the health care issue that I hadn't considered:

There are around 250 million insured today out of 300 million Americans.

What I want to know is how doctors today (who are already run absolutely ragged) and nurses (of which there has been a severe shortage for some years) are somehow going to handle 20% more patients without care levels plummeting for all.

My response is here. I welcome further ideas on how to face this challenge in a way that protects people's quality of life.

Gods bless parallax. This is why I keep people around who don't always agree with me: sometimes they see things that I don't. I saw pieces of this but did not put them together. (Note to self: Remember to ask "And then what?" for current events as well as fiction.)