Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Whirl Wind weekend

Kentucky often gets a bad reputation.  Sitting just south of Ohio, Kentucky is known for it's southern drawl, bluegrass, moonshine, and even the legal spirit Bourbon.  It's awesome that Kentucky is so close for us too.  Jenn's family lives there.  It's so nice to be so close to visit as often as we do.

6 weeks ago, The Wifey's Granddad had a stroke.  She was itching to get down there and see what it going on.  The stroke was nothing life threatening, it was mild by stroke standards, but put her Granddad's morality in check.  For her Granddad his mortality first came into play when he and his wife, Grandmother, went on a trip.  They were in Nova Scotia, Canada, when he had a heart attack.  It was serious, but again, by heart attack standards it was under control.  Well he got to see the 'fantastic' Canadian health care system. 

For those of you who want to know how it works, here is a sneak peak.  He sat in the hospital for 3 days before they gave his doctor's clearance to do the stent procedure which is done within 24 hours here in America.  They took their time with testing.  About 2 weeks later he was cleared to leave the hospital and come home.

The Wife's maternal grandparents are the epitome of independent senior living.  They were active, sharp, and everything the doctors say you should be when you get older, but this heart attack while on a road trip in Canada, was a snap back to reality.  No one lives forever.

I know this just as much as any, Grandparents and go in a blink of an eye. 

Flash forward, Granddad had a stroke.  Then flash forward to a week ago, he had another heart attack.  At this point Jenn and I revamp our plans for Easter and decide to head to Kentucky for the holiday rather than drive up to see her sister. 

Flash forward this past Friday.  Earlier in the day Jenn gets a phone call update from her mom.  Granddad is doing well and they are talking about sending him home.  No reason to stay in the hospital.  Later that day Jenn noticed a call from her Aunt.  No message.  She tabled the call and decided to call back at a later hour.  She was getting Audrey from school, and helping with homework.

At the time Jenn didn't answer the phone, I got a call minutes later from her Aunt.  A phone call from her Aunt is not something I get.  Ever.  I answer.  Hopefully all was well.  Jenn's Aunt tells me that Grandmother had a stroke and she is on her way to the hospital via ambulance.  She couldn't get a hold of Jenn, and she asked for me to pass along the message.

I hung up the phone, my staff saw the look on my face.  I told them I had to go and get to Jenn.  I tied up a few loose ends with my customers and I was gone.

I got home, and Jenn was surprised to see me home 2 hours early.  I asked her if she called her Aunt back.  She said, no.  I said that she might want to call, her Grandmother had a stroke.  Everything was stable, but you need to call her.

I saw Jenn's heart sink.  I know what it is like being so far away and feeling helpless.  We went through a very similar situation when we went to Chicago for a nice overnight trip to see a show, and I got a phone call that BOTH of my Grandparents were in trouble and that I needed to get home.

This situation hit very close to my heart.   I knew what Jenn wanted to do.  She wanted to get in the car and go.  It didn't matter what her mom said.  Everything could have been hunky dory and she would want to get in the car and go.

With in an hour I would say tops, we had the dog off to my mom's house, and we were in the car heading south to Kentucky.

Saturday we were in the hospital visiting.  They released Granddad, but Grandmother wasn't out of the woods.  Upon first glance you couldn't even tell Jenn's Grandmother had a stroke.  After listening to the nurses and the family's account of what the doctors were saying made me appreciate what we have here in Cleveland even more.

Cleveland is home to 2 world class health systems.  If you have cancer, get to the Ireland Cancer Center at the Cleveland Clinic.  Need a heart transplant, get to University Hospitals.  There are other great programs at these two great facilities including neurology.  If you go to one of these great facilities, you get quick, prompt, and sounds medical advice.  If there is uncertainty, they rarely show you they are freaked out about it, and if they are unsure they don't tell you a bunch of bullshit.  They tell you, hey we are not sure, but this is what we are going to do.  Think an entire hospitals with Dr. Houses. 

Now here we are in a hospital, in a small town relative to Cleveland, hearing all about what the 3 doctors who saw Grandmother said.  1 said, you look great don't know why you are here, a 2nd painted a picture of doom and gloom, and the 3rd said that she didn't have a stroke. 

Get you stories straight.  I was talking to my broth via text while I was there.  He said he couldn't trust anyone outside of the Cleveland Clinic, especially in a part of country where they might use butter to treat sunburn still or use snake bites to treat sinning. 

That might be all well and good, but Jeff Foxworthy said something pretty true, it doesn't matter how much school you might have gone to, you just seem stupid if you have a southern accent. 

In all seriousness, Grandmother seems to be doing well as of right now, which is a good thing.  Jenn stayed down there a few extra days with the baby so she can have the peace of mind that everything is ok.

And it may seem that I am being a little hard on the Kentucky hospital, but in all reality I would put America's worst hospital up against the rest of the world's best hospital. 

I will let you know how everything turns out. 

In the meantime, pray, send good vibes, do anything that you might think help to make sure Jenn can get through this with some sanity. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Throwing Quarters Podcast replay [audio]

Here is the audio for Season 3 Episode 2.

You can catch the Video Replay in the post below for click here. 

If you so choose, you can also download it on iTunes.  Just search the podcast library for Throwing Quarters Podcast.

You can also find us on your iPhone and Android using the UStream App, just search Throwing Quarters for the video, or stream it on Stitcher Podcast Radio from your smartphone.  


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Musical Guest: American Swill [Redwater Rojo]
Mentioned Artist: Rob Evan [Minerva Realm]

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Throwing Quarters Podcast

You can also click here to go right to UStream Feed

Free TV Show from Ustream

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Health Care, a real debate

Well I apologize for the hiatus.  I haven't logged in for a little bit due to this cough that I seem to have contracted.  Ahh, I have healthcare, but I just haven't made it to my doctor yet. 

Call me lazy.  You're probably right. 

So earlier this week, I posted a tweet that fed into my personal Facebook page.  The post was meant to make fun of Denis Kucinich, a longtime Congressman from Ohio, who was mayor of the city of Cleveland, and who eventually led the city directly into default.  First time in history a city had ever done that. 

The concept of this attack on Denis was that he flipped his stance on the health care reform bill.  He opposed it prior to this week.  I basically said that Denis traded his vote for a ride on Air Force 1.  He did.  When you watch the video of President Obama disembarking from his 747 in Cleveland this past week, right behind him, the guy who looks like his butler, yeah, that was Denis.  Good ole, retard Congressman who seems to get re-elected year after year for no apparent reason.  The guy, who year after year, attempts to run for President.

So the President came to a suburb of Cleveland to take about healthcare.  All of a sudden, after a pretty routine speech for Obama, Kucinich decided, you know what, I support this bill. 

Whatever Denis.  Stick to your guns.  You made another boneheaded move.

Well this little post of mine sparked ignited a debate in the comments section.  28 comments later, we are still duking it out.

It's just amazing.  Because I want to make sense of the debate, I am going to try and explain what happened.  My good friend Carrie and her Husband Josh, live in and around Washington DC.  [Line redacted upon request.] To say they are neck deep in political bullshit on a daily basis is to say that it snows in the winter [unless you're Al Gore, then that just made no sense]. 

Carrie supports this healthcare reform because it will give healthcare to everyone.  Warm and fuzzy, cue the music.  Everyone is happy.  She sites the Canadian plan as an example of how government healthcare works and is good.  Her argument has valid points, and I too support a plan that will give everyone healthcare.

Now, my other good friend, Heather, and for clear disclosure worked for the Republican Party during the presidential campaign, is NOT a supporter of this plan.  She says that the government plan will slow down services like chemo if cancer is found.  She sites that this is what happens in Canada.  She says that our system needs revamping, but not at the high cost that this healthcare bill is going to do. 

In a nutshell that is the argument.

Carrie asked what the Republicans have brought to the table?  She said that all she is seeing is them trying to attempt to block ANY reform. 

Now Heathers point, and there is no refuting this, is that the Republicans can't stop shit.  They don't have a majority at all, or the power to influence the majority. 

The partisan card needs to be put back in the deck.

So who do you believe? Carrie, who thinks this plan offers healthcare for all.  Or do you agree with Heather?  She thinks that the cost of this plan is too great.

Well here is where I am going to chime in. 

I agree with both of these ladies.  They both make a compelling argument.  Who wouldn't want healthcare for all?  It's a great thought.  It reminds me of the movie American Tale.  There are no cats in America and the streets are filled with cheese. 

Sadly, just as Fivel found out that the song he sang wasn't exactly true, much is the same with healthcare reform.  It sounds great.  There are a ton of great talking points.  But I don't see the vision.  

This bill is going to give coverage to 32 million Americans who are uninsured.  Awesome.  Well according to the last Census it stated that there are 45 million who are uninsured.  So this bill isn't giving all Americans health coverage.  For that matter, there are 308.9 million Americans according to that same Census.  So, 14% of America is uninsured.

So why are we revamping a system that will only effect less than 14% of the population?  It's like we are trying to use a broad sword to put a cake.  It doesn't make sense. 

There are points in there that say, well, insurance companies can't deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.  Awesome, that's great.  But now that they HAVE to cover me for my cancer, that is going to drive cost up, which the government will pay, which they will pass back down to you and me, the American taxpayer.  The bill even states that this will raise taxes.  That is how it MIGHT cut the deficit in the first 10 years.  But when has a government project ever been within its budget?  History is indicitive of future performance.

So here I sit, in a place right now, knowing I have coverage, but not going to the doctor.  It's a nice place to be, but I don't support this bill, but its one thing to oppose something to oppose it, but I offer some other ideas.

What happened to the free market?  Insurance companies have allowed the prices to increase, because they can pass it down to the plan holder.  The market could keep that price kind of in check, because if people couldn't afford the premiums, they would stop the coverage [but in Ohio, we are not allowed to change our insurance plan with our employers at all unless we have a qualifying event, thanks government].  But as a false housing bubble has bolstered our market, during that same time, health coverage rose too.  Because people were using their houses as an ATM, they kept paying their medical bills, and not bitching about it.  If they were bitching, there were not bitching to the right people and the politicians weren't listening anyway, they were getting paid off BY the insurance companies.  As one system went unchecked, so did another, so did another, and so on.

So now what do we do?  Reform!  But reform for the sake of reform is not good.  Never has been.  If we are going to reform, give me back my ability to negotiate the price of my healthcare. 

Make hospitals who bill the insurance companies more accountable for their prices.  A recent report showed that a patient was charged $1.50 some cotton balls.  Awesome.  I can get a pack of 1000 for $0.89 at costco. 

So give me back the power to not only talk to my doctor about my care, but also, how much it costs too. 

The biggest thing about this bill I hate is how they slyly packaged student loan reform into this bill.  I'm sorry, I thought this was healthcare reform?

I am not opposed to student loan reform, but because they packaged these together, and tried to pull the wool over our eyes, I'm downright pissed off.  This is the bullshit the President promised to stop.  He promised transparency.  He promised so many things, but alas he has DONE none of it.  

Government intervention hasn't lead to many great things.  Carrie sited Canada as a good example of government health care.  Yes, Canada seems happy with it's system.  But where Canada is 1 example of success, there is Russia, Nazi Germany, and China who's systems eventually collapsed.    

So this is where America sits and waits.  The President's political party is in office and they are having trouble passing a health care reform bill HIS party came up with.  The Republicans have nothing to do with it.  They opposed it and the most of the Democrats oppose it as well.  This should scream loud and clear to America, don't pass it.  Even the people who wrote the bill don't even agree with it's entirety.    

So please, as we near this vote in Congress, how do YOU feel about it.  Don't be shy.

*photo credit is here

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Parenting Manuals need my chapter

In a world fraught with contradicting advice to parents, let my advice read loud and clear.

If your child is over 1 year old, or for all you minivan driving, month-loving, suburbanites, 12 months, take the binky away and close up shop on the boobies.  

Last week, after a great Friday, I stepped outside and took a fresh air getting walk.  On my walk I discovered a mother and her son.  I stopped and chatted.  I learned, they too, were out getting some fresh air on a glorious sunny day in Cleveland. 

This mother and son seemed like every other ordinary mom-son combo, except that this mother's son was about 3, almost 4 and was sucking on a pacifier like some porn star to Ron Jeremy.  As we parted ways I couldn't help but just shake my head.  Why would this parent allow that pacifier after age 4 [that's 48 months for all you hippies out there]?

I wish I could say that this woman is the only woman I've seen letting their child suck on a pacifier.  Out in suburbia, this seems to be a trend. 

As parents we have an obligation to raise children to be productive members of society.  Children need to be active participants in their own lives.   After age 1 [that's 12 months for you hippies] the pacifier is a 'shut up' tool.  Instead of teaching your kids how to be quiet when appropriate, and doing what they are told with out back talk, you shove that pacifier in their mouth to shut them up.  How is this teaching manners?  How are you helping your child learn proper behavior?  These parents are teaching their children to be socially retarded.

I am just disgusted with this trend of not harming your child's psyche.  I can hear all you sheep parents out there, "...child will get depressed if I take that security away..." or "...my child won't know how to handle it well.."  Guess what?  It's called life.  Get used to it.

If we let our kids hold onto their pacifiers, it can give them a false sense of entitlement, and not to mention all the dental problems that go along with this whole argument. 

So why such a big deal over pacifiers?  Well it's just like what the Republicans call a pot, a gateway drug.  Ask George W. Bush, he knows. 

If you don't tell your child no, the it will get even harder when they learn how to talk.  You have to teach your kids things like, no, just like you teach your kids, yes. 

There was this book about potty training your child in 24 hours I once read.  I said, "..Often it is the parent who isn't ready rather than the child..." I think this holds true for this whole binky thing.

Often, 1st time parents have a hard time letting go of the baby phase as they grow into the toddler phase.  Again, often times it is the first born with the biggest sense of entitlement, because all those parents read what to expect when your expecting and study it like some born-again Christian studies the Bible, and thumps it like some televangelist.  

So to all those parents who might be reading this and say, "This guy has no clue" let me say this.  I am the father of 2 kids and I have a 11 year old step-daughter from my first marriage.  My first, Audrey, just celebrated her 8th birthday [96 months for you month-loving hippies] and I also have a 6 month old [today].  My oldest, on her first birthday, was taken off a bottle and onto a sippy cup.  Her pacifiers were unceremoniously thrown away, and that was the end of it.  No cute ceremonies, or stories of placing them on the Christmas tree so that Santa can use them for all the babies.  No.  We said no more, and that was that.  What is wrong with telling your child no?  Jesus Christ, get some balls! 

Was it a long few weeks as she adjusted?  You bet your ass it was, but it was a matter of resolve.  Did my daughter slip into a deep depression and start cutting her wrists while she wore black lipstick and listened to Marylin Manson through the incense cloud?  No.  You can see the affects of the quick change today.  She can handle change like no other child on this Earth.  She has small bouts of shyness that is quickly overcome.  She isn't a baby and order off the kids menu all the time either.  She was potty trained in just 1 day [for you hippies, that's 24 hours].  She is a well adjusted, great kid.  She is the best behaved kid I have ever seen.  She can interact with adults and with other kids. 

I not only talk the game, but I'm the fucking world champion.   

**picture credit here**

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


So have you heard of this magazine called Forbes?

Did you know that they have a need to put down Cleveland?


Great.  Well guess what?  Forbes sucks.  No, I am not going to link the story because it will pad Forbes' statistics.

If you are twitter you have seen the hashtag, #happyinCLE.  It was started by the Convention and Visitors Bureau to prove that there are plenty of happy people in Cleveland.

I am told that whomever wrote that whole article never even came to Cleveland to check it out.  So here is my letter back to Forbes.

Dear Forbes,
  I understand from the outside looking in that Cleveland doesn't seem to be as appealing as other cities across this great nation of ours.  Sure, the Cleveland Browns haven't won a championship since 1964, the Cleveland Indians blew it in the 9th inning in 1997, and the economy that was once based on the steel mills has all but eroded.
  What you don't seem to have a grasp of is that Cleveland is resilient.  We look at things a little different than your crap colored glasses.  Let's look at some good things that Cleveland has gone for it.
  Our food scene has been written up in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Bon Appetite Magazine.  Michael Symon has not only opened doors for other Cleveland chefs, but according to Chef/Owner of Rocco Whalen, "He's built bridges and highways."  The Cleveland Cavs were your only excpetion, but if that is the only exception you see, then I'll politely tell you to go throw yourself off the nearest skyscraper.
  Cleveland is home to the largest theater complex outside of Broadway.  Cleveland is committed to becoming the model for a green technology.
  More importantly, Cleveland is where I CHOOSE to make my home, and have a family.  By telling your dwindling subscribers that Cleveland is miserable, you are telling me I have made a mistake for living here, and that my friend is just a jerk move.
  So the next time you want to put Cleveland on a list for not being awesome, maybe you should actually send a reporter here and see how the people in Cleveland get along.  Maybe actually doing research would be better than reading wikipedia and throwing out some facts about Cleveland that were relevant 30+ years ago.


Adam, btw, I wish I had a subscription to cancel, but I guess I'm glad I never gave you my money.

For those of you who want to support the Cleveland cause there are 2 great t-shirt companies selling t-shirts basically telling Forbes to eff off.

Fresh Brewed Tees

The C.L.E. Clothing Company

Monday, March 1, 2010


It's one thing to have principles and tell everyone you know about them.  It's quite another to actually live by certain principles.

I have said over and over, I will not ever buy another General Motors vehicle.  Ever.  The press has understated Ford's ability to weather the recession storm with out the help of the American taxpayers.  There is hardly any coverage about this point, but this does not go unnoticed to me.  It's a lesson in business.  Change your business model if it proves to be failing.  So a year before the big recession hit, Ford was making plans for a change.  They stopped making mini vans, and started to reinvest in smaller more fuel efficient cars.

In early 2010, Ford started to reap the rewards of it's change, although the mainstream media is still not reporting on the great things they are doing.  Ford's Fusion won Motor Trend's Car of the Year.  The last time Ford has won this award was in 2002 when the Thunderbird's re-emergence came to be.

Well in early 2010, in the year of change for me, I was able to help Ford continue it's growth.  I was able to buy a brand new car, the 2010 Ford Fusion.  It's filled with goodies.

I could go on and on about how awesome this car is, but I want to mention how awesome Ford is.  Not only is the dealer I worked with amazing, by helping me pay off the new car and getting me a decent rate on a new loan for the new car, despite my struggles to help build my credit, but Ford as a company has a great social media presence.  I tweeted on my way home that I bought a new Fusion.  They tweeted me the next day to congratulate me.

This is not the first time I have interacted with Ford on twitter.  I commented on how awesome it was that Mike Rowe from Discovery's Dirty Jobs is the spokesman for Ford.  They tweeted back, they thought so to and appreciated my comments.

With Toyota stumbling on their quality, Ford has always had a stigma of producing poor cars.  Everyone always has those stories, my Ford did this, my Ford did that, but with every bad story about a Ford there are 10 good stories that no one ever talks about.

Ford's quality has always been great, and now with the media darling that is Toyota currently in crisis mode over it's quality of production, Ford will still be unnoticed and underrated by the mainstream media.

You know what, I kind of like it that way.  They are just going to put their head's down, keep putting out a great product, and engaging their customers in new ways.  I will be there with them, behind the wheel of my new Fusion.

Next up in a few, getting my poor wife out of her GM and into a Ford Flex.