The boat with the broken axle.

Contrary to my fears, Patti Smith wasn’t bad at all. A little reading, a little Q&A, two songs, a signing that was probably hours long (we didn’t wait in the line). The ticket price included a book:


She read from a chapter about life in St. Clair Shores, which absolutely nobody spells “Saint Clair Shores,” except for Patti in her new memoir-ish book, “M Train.” There are a couple of chapters about her life there, but the one she read from was about how they lived in a house on a canal and bought an old Chris-Craft Constellation, which they parked in the yard and poked around at restoring. (She doesn’t hyphenate Chris-Craft, either. IT IS HYPHENATED, DAMMIT.) Anyway, it took a while and Fred, her husband, would sit on board on summer nights and listen to the Tigers “on shortwave radio,” another weird touch, as a plain old transistor AM model would do. She read a line that rang a distant bell in my brain, but it took my smart husband, reading it in the book later, to point out:

“It turned out that our wooden boat had a broken axle…”

The boat came to a bad end before they got it fixed up, and that was probably for the best, because I don’t think they would have been safe out there on the water, even if they had fixed that axle.

I was most relieved by the fact she seemed as put off by stupid questions as I have been by their inclusion in every story about her for the past million years. Where should artists go to create? That sort of thing. She had a puppet in her pocket; she explained she’s a grandmother now, and she answered that one in the puppet voice.

So all in all, a successful evening. It was a beautiful night, and that helped:


Now I’m watching the Democratic debate, so to speak, although I have little patience for this bullshit of late. I hate everything about it, so I’m going to turn it off very soon. It’s only a matter of time before these events start to include actual dogs and ponies. Let’s skip to the bloggage:

Would you like to be depressed about mass shootings? Read Malcolm Gladwell on the subject:

In the day of Eric Harris, we could try to console ourselves with the thought that there was nothing we could do, that no law or intervention or restrictions on guns could make a difference in the face of someone so evil. But the riot has now engulfed the boys who were once content to play with chemistry sets in the basement. The problem is not that there is an endless supply of deeply disturbed young men who are willing to contemplate horrific acts. It’s worse. It’s that young men no longer need to be deeply disturbed to contemplate horrific acts.

That’s the final paragraph. The previous zillion are no more heartening.

And if you grew up reading the funnies, as I imagine a lot of us did, you might enjoy this piece on the evolution of “Peanuts,” which was simply enormous as a pop-cultural force when I was a kid, but slid into irrelevancy and by the end of Charles Schulz’ life, a pastel shadow if its former self. Of course it’s still running in hundreds of papers, as reruns. Ai-yi-yi.

Posted at 12:17 am in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

42 responses to “The boat with the broken axle.”

  1. susan said on October 14, 2015 at 2:47 am

    re: Sherri’s query about “Valley Forge Americans” in last thread: See

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  2. Suzanne said on October 14, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Read the Gladwell piece a couple days ago. Depressing indeed. If it was from another author, I might take it less to heart.

    I watched a good part of the debates. I don’t like the format of these big debates. Someone always gets asked way fewer questions and it’s never the front runners. But, whoa. Chaffee & Webb need new barbers, for sure. If you can’t trust someone to get a decent haircut, do you really want but hem to run the country? It did make me smile that for all the god, guns, & Murcia fervor of the GOP, the Dems have a guy running who actually served in the military. And Sanders who didn’t, but bothered to fill out the paperwork to be a conscientious objector, not weaseling out of it by going on mission trips or doing a desk job in the National Guard.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 14, 2015 at 7:35 am

    And they’re mostly re-running the later ones, too. With Spike.

    I don’t have a good data set to compare to, but there’s something that bothers me in the troubled-lite juveniles that are my stock in trade; I work mostly diversion and pre-diversion, very few “official” cases on probation after adjudication, which basically means if you’ve committed an act of outright violence I probably will never see you. And my main area of mediation and intervention is truancy, where I’m trying to both help schools with attendance issues through working with the families involved, and identify those kids who are “heading” in a bad direction, truancy being a leading indicator.

    It’s the remarkably limited vision of themselves and the world that I run into consistently that leaves me puzzled, and worried. And semi-hopeful, because it’s not that hard to change, which we do with the majority of cases I handle. I ask “what do you look forward to after high school?” and I get, over and over again from the boys, “video game designer” or “Navy SEAL/Marine.” Maybe in 1950 I would have heard “bridge designer” or “commando” from most disaffected young men, I don’t know. And the girls (who are still vastly underrepresented in juvenile justice, even though their numbers are indeed up, but that’s up from 5% to barely 20%) then and now might have said in bored tones “cosmetology” or “modeling/fashion designer” over and over again to people like me.

    But beyond those fairly stock answers is a cluelessness about life and the world and getting by that causes me to wonder what exactly changed. In probing for even a hint of what they want or expect out of life, I’m probing into a void, a sort of nullity of expectations, with just a desire to get out of the school and home and out “on my own” with no real desire to have anything other than “a truck.” Not “a piece of land out in the country” or “the chance to travel” or “learn stuff for myself.” They want out of school, but they don’t want something to replace it. My sense is that a big socioeconomic shift has been (at least for our central Ohio neck of the woods) a big chunk of youths, mostly males, who didn’t like school much could bail at 16 or so and move directly into any one of a half-dozen major factories, or dozens more supporting them, and own a home with a small yard and a beat-up Studebaker by age 21. They left school, got a job, married relatively young, and started working on buying a cottage at Buckeye Lake or down in the Hocking Hills for fishing or hunting. I don’t know much of the thinking that went into those “decisions” but I hear about it in retrospect from the myriad 70 & 80 & 90 year olds I work with and talk to in church life.

    Now, the non-school interested youth white-knuckle to 18 one way or another, drop out, get out of the parental home into a shared apartment, and are looking at 25 hours a week at Arby’s or Taco Bell. Next thing you know you’re 21, still in a cheap apartment, trying to get your parents to loan you money and stealing jewelry from grandma’s to take to that gold buying place in the strip mall next to where you sell your sister’s old game cartridges and you buy $1 DVDs because you had to let Netflix lapse again.

    I see my failures from five years ago in the drive-up windows and Walmart checkout lines; sometimes I hear from their younger siblings now in front of me for truancy that big brother or sister went to Florida “because there’s lots of housekeeping jobs down there, you can get full-time.” The successes are when I can get a parent with any kind of spark in them at the conference table, and work them around to talking to each other, which obviously hasn’t happened much before. The adult talks about what they hope for, for themselves as much as for their kid, and they pull out some possibilities that have been in their path that were passed by, that they want to make sure the child stops to consider before launching out on their own. We end up talking about a former family farm and animals that were once in their lives, and the possibilities of vet tech training and summer jobs at local stables. We end up talking about trips taken, and mechanical skills displayed on the road that have applications from diesel mechanics to aircraft maintenance over at Port Columbus. We end up talking about helping grandpa build his porch again after a heavy winter snow and the construction trades program at C-TEC.

    I’d like to think there’s a way to get those intergenerational, aspirational conversations going without having to call in the juvenile court intervention specialist for unruly complaints or truancy filings, but I’ll do in a pinch. What I think could make a difference for lots of disaffected teen age boys is just more conversations with older adults about life, how it happens, and where you can steer it a little when you can. I’m not even sure it requires a whole elaborate mentoring program, just more conversations between kids who can’t see around the next corner, and grown-ups who’ve been there.

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  4. Suzanne said on October 14, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Jeff, your insight & wisdom never ceases to amaze me!

    I agree with your assessment. The loss of low skilled, decent paying factory jobs left an entire subset of the population with nowhere to go, with the generation that should be steering them into adulthood clueless. I have a close relative in his late 50s with two early 20s kids who are both struggling. Both have issues (ADD, learning disabilities) but this relative & his wife have both bounced around a bit when they were that age, finally landed in jobs, and have been there ever since. The solution they offer their sons is to “Get a job!” With no clue how difficult that is now, especially with no certification or degree & a less than stellar work history. I guess what I’m getting at is that often the conversations aren’t happening because the parents don’t have any more of a clue than the kids.

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  5. alex said on October 14, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Ah, book publishing in the age of spellcheck as a substitute for editors. As someone who got downsized by the industry, I should take great joy in reading their flawed product, but I haven’t bought a book in years.

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  6. Kirk said on October 14, 2015 at 9:16 am

    I had no idea that Patti Smith had a Detroit connection but now something I heard her say makes sense. In 1979, I (and Jeff Borden, I think) saw her at the Agora in Columbus. During the show, she dedicated a song to Les Moss, who had just been fired as manager of the Detroit Tigers.

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  7. nancy said on October 14, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Right. She and Fred married in 1980, moved to St. Clair Shores and had a couple of kids. He died in …94? I think… and she moved back to New York. But her son lives here (again, I think) and maybe her daughter, but not sure about that. They’re both musicians, casually connected to the local scene in various ways. The son married Meg White, but it didn’t last.

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  8. Deborah said on October 14, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Jeff, I think you are amazing, you have incredible energy to do what you do, two jobs, writing, lots of reading etc. The only thing that has me scratching my head is how come you’re a Republican? The very people you write about in your excellent comments are treated with disdain by your party. Baffling.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 14, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Oh, my party treats me with disdain, too. Just call it masochism. Plus my middle name is Blaine.

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  10. brian stouder said on October 14, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Can’t hang much on a party label. I was a nominal Republican, if only because you could then affect the (Indiana!) primary elections; the elections that matter* (by and large).

    I chucked that label, though, to vote for Michelle for First Lady

    *Friend of NN.c and oft-elected local official and renowned lawyer Mark GiaQuinta once said that Allen County would elect a giraffe, if it was on the Republican ballot

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  11. Lou Gravity said on October 14, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I’ve been full circle with Patti Smith. First saw her at a poetry reading with William Burroughs. Then the rock and roll. Last saw her doing a reading at Ursinus College (in support of Just Kids). I must say that was a lot less painful then the Radio Ethiopia tour.

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  12. Sherri said on October 14, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I hear a lot of “video game designer” from boys with plenty of abilities and opportunities to do lots of things. A local institute that offers degrees in video game design may influence that to some degree.

    When kids can’t see adults in their community succeeding, it’s hard for them to imagine succeeding. Seeing people like you doing something you’d like to do is powerful. Conversely, trying to do something when nobody who looks like you is doing it wears on you just a little bit all the time.

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  13. Peter said on October 14, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    I can top you guys with the video game designer – my star employee, son of a good friend of mine, left my office to go back to school to be a video game designer – and this guy has a M.Arch and was an engineer in training.

    And why? Because the money’s so damn good, he says.

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  14. Sherri said on October 14, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    The money may be good in video game design, but the working conditions at many studios make that article about Amazon working conditions look like a description of an idyllic workplace. Insane hours up until the time the game releases, then huge layoffs.

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  15. jcburns said on October 14, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Even a boat with a broken axle is right twice a day.

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  16. Scout said on October 14, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Jeff (tmmo): I’m adding my sincere appreciation for what you do, the compassion you have and difference you are making in this world. I wish we could clone you.

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  17. Judybusy said on October 14, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    538 had this article on how many people are stuck in miimum wage jobs. Hint: it’s not just teenagers.

    Funny how this conversation is taking place. I was thinking yesterday about my first social work job with adolescents who were in treatment for committing crimes–some very serious. So many of those boys said their dream was to play pro football, even though they hadn’t even regularly attended school for quite a while, much less been on any sports team. Speaking of the juvenile justice system, I heard a sobering interview on Fresh Air with Bryan Stevenson, an attorney who works with children, the disabled and poor caught up in the more awful parts of our criminal justice system. His new book is “Just Mercy” about his work: “His clients are people on death row — abused and neglected children who were prosecuted as adults and placed in adult prisons where they were beaten and sexually abused, and mentally disabled people whose illnesses helped land them in prison where their special needs were unmet.” –from the NPR review of the book.

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  18. Sherri said on October 14, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    “Just Mercy” is an amazing, infuriating, important book. More people should read it. Especially Antonin Scalia.

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  19. Nick from NJ said on October 14, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Perhaps Patti’s boat axle was actually a propeller shaft. I’m visualizing a discussion between Patti and the editor: Patti uses her pocket puppet voice and says to the editor, “No, it’s not a propeller shaft, it’s an axle.”

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    • nancy said on October 14, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      I’m sure it was a propeller shaft. (It’s a long piece of metal that transfers energy from the engine to turn a wheel-like thing. Close enough!) Do you think Patti is enough of a bigfoot that her prose is edit-free? I guess a National Book Award probably gets you that, too.

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 14, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    “Just Mercy” is truly a great book. I don’t know about Scalia, but I wish more county prosecutors read this book. I’ve gotten two of our three candidates next month for the new county prosecutor here to read it, but one has dropped out of the race and neither are likely to win. I’ll keep working on the third man whether he gets in or stays in the House, because it’s a story about justice, inertia, and momentum.

    I get to work in the backwaters and feeder creeks of the justice system, and stay out of the high pressure, major flowrate main currents. When you read or hear about a pattern of lying and duplicitous behavior in the legal system, and you’re infuriated, you should be — no doubt — but you also need to know how that happens.

    Momentum is the fatal flaw of a prosecution, and the fact that most county prosecutors are elected officials adds a turbocharger to that movement. And there may be a dozen assistant prosecutors, but many/most of them are either going to lose jobs if there’s a transition (i.e., your boss gets voted out of office), or their jobs will change significantly in ways you can’t anticipate, so in a sense *everyone* in a prosecutor’s shop is an elected official. Add in that (around here) your budget comes from the county commissioners’ desk, and there’s lots of “public mood” swirling around your boat.

    If a case hits the main current, there are so many places where bit players are asked to either give the boat a push, or end up being hit by it, and probably taken under. You also have lots of folks bobbing around in the same general flow who see something to hang onto, whether for small favors cast over the side to you, or just to get you closer to where you hope to get out of deep water. So suddenly cops and watch commanders are saying things that, when you think about it, they can’t really know; you have inmates and trustys stepping out of chow line to tell the sergeant they got something to say; there are lawyers who have a pro bono seat who really aren’t interested in more unpaid overtime, let alone ticking off someone they might hope to work for, or at least will work with again; in many jurisdictions then there are judges who have elections to consider (and a week after you’ve been voted back to your chair, you have an election to consider in 5.99 years); even appeals courts know as well as Dylan which way the wind is blowing. None of them needs a weatherman.

    If you can break up the motive sequence early enough, there are lots of checks and balances and interventions and diversions built into the system, for safety of all concerned, offender included, as well as for restoration and restitution. But beyond a certain point, if you get drug out to where the rocks disappear below ripples and the ripples become frothy water, you are heading downstream towards a great roaring, and there are no functional ways for a mediator or counselor or even the victim advocate to get footing beyond that point and pull it back.

    I often think that elected prosecutors are as bad an idea as elected judges, but I read about France and Italy and think “but appointive prosecutors from the bar association or some elite tribunal can turn out to pander and contort processes just as bad if not worse.” So I don’t know, but I do see where relatively honest people start trimming the truth, fabricating a whole from scattered parts, and next thing you know we’ve got lies on the record, and now that’s perjury, and ain’t nobody gonna back off that story now. Momentum in the justice system breeds lies, and that’s where “a speedy trial” is a two edged sword indeed.

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  21. Sherri said on October 14, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Here’s a paper about what really happens when people are shifted to a high-deductible health insurance plan, even when they’re given access to a “price-shopping” tool: they don’t price shop.

    This paper could have been written about my insurance. We went from a no deductible plan to a high deductible plan with a HSA. There are all sorts of tools provided to show you information about the costs of things. The company puts money into the HSA.

    But…there’s not a lot you can do with the information about how much things cost, and when you are the sickest, you are the least likely to have the time and energy to spend the effort to fight through all the noise to find a cheaper option. The company doesn’t put all the money in the HSA at once; half goes in at the beginning of the year, and half at mid-year. The HSA is a pain to use. Some bills can be paid online, but not all. Some bills can be paid with a debit card, but not all. Some require filling out paperwork and getting reimbursed. My husband is the employee, and he’s the only person who can access the online bill paying option, because it requires access to the main company network. They only give us one debit card. There’s not an option in the online mail order pharmacy we’re supposed to use to apply HSA funds to prescription drug co-pays; we have to get reimbursed for those.

    HSA’s and high deductibles don’t save money by encouraging people to price shop. They save money, when and if they do, by sick people putting off health care until they’re sicker.

    Note: this has nothing to do with Obamacare. The changeover to this plan was in the works long before Obamacare. I’m sure, though, there are people who work there who blame it on Obamacare.

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  22. Deborah said on October 14, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    So far since Little Bird has been on Medicaid in NM she/we has/have only had to pay for one prescription that wasn’t covered for some inexplicable reason, and bandages. Granted the bandages aren’t cheap, $17 for a package of 5. She’s allergic to latex and adhesive and these fantastic bandages come from Sweden. For awhile she had to use one a day, so it adds up. But still. Thanks Obamacare for all of the healthcare she has gotten, compared to before when she was ineligible for insurance.

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  23. Dexter said on October 14, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    My insurance went to hell and that’s when I made the best decision ever, and that was to finally join the VA healthcare system. I take many ‘scripts, and if I’d kept my old insurance there’s no way I could have paid the premiums and co-pays. Since I (to my great surprise) qualify, I get all my medicines free. As in gratis. A year ago I was not wanting to go through the steps to see if I could get VA care, then I found out not only was I eligible for doctor-care, I was classified as a disabled veteran with free prescriptions. Now I am going very day (just two more times) to Toledo for vitamin shots as I unknowingly was really run-down. They insisted I get pneumonia and flu shots too…they seem to care. Fucking imagine that.
    And geez, nance…don’t you write “Saint Louis, Missouri”? 🙂

    Sadness prevails here, as my brother-in-law returned from an exam at Cleveland Clinic with a prognosis of three months to live. Lung cancer spread to his spine and liver before he knew he had cancer at all. Now it’s too advanced for treatment. My other bro-in-law died in 1989 at age 47 from lung cancer also. He smoked a pipe constantly…the one was just examined smokes five packs a day. Of course there’s no connection. Oh, brother….

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  24. jcburns said on October 14, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    I did graphics for a station in SAINT Louis and they did NOT like Saint spelled out one bit.

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  25. Andrea said on October 14, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Sorry about your brother-in-law, Dexter.

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  26. mouse said on October 14, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Prop shafts in the old Chris-Crafts were made out of bronze and were famous for twisting apart when you hit something hard(like a rock).They were direct drive out of the trannny,not much of a clutch or anything in between.Not that hard or expensive to replace—-be a shame to restore an old Chris and quit because of a broken”axle”

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  27. Suzanne said on October 14, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Sherri @ 21–All of which is exacerbated by health care providers like a friend of mine who manages a therapy clinic and who told me one day how exasperated they get with people calling and asking for a price estimate. “We can’t give them that!” she shouted. She said there are so many variables like length of care, insurance write-offs, etc. so there was no way possible that they could give anyone a quote on care. I suggested that these were probably people with high deductibles and HSAs who have been told to shop around, but my friend was not buying my theory.At all.
    Seriously, in what other industry are you supposed to agree to buy something and then be told the price? Even your mechanic will give you an estimate! Pretty much, whenever I discuss healthcare with anyone in healthcare, nothing is never the providers problem.

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  28. Deborah said on October 14, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    JC, what station in St. Louis? And when were you there? Between 1980 and 2003 by any chance? We’re you a member of the local AIGA? If so we may have crossed paths. I wasn’t always a member but I went to a lot of thier functions and lectures.

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  29. beb said on October 14, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Dexter I have been happy reading about all the good care you’re getting from the VA. And now I’m sadden to hear about your brother.

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  30. Sherri said on October 14, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Deborah, I’m allergic to adhesive too, and one day in frustration after needing a bandage and knowing it was going to provoke a rash, I turned to the Internet and searched for answers. I found Skin-Prep protective wipes, which solved my problems. You wipe it on and it leaves a protective barrier that the adhesive sticks to instead of your skin.

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  31. Little Bird said on October 14, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Thanks Sherri! I’ll look into that! That’s something that could come in handy for other cuts and abrasions. The bandages I’ve currently got are Mepilex “boarders”. They are the next thing to magic. If, upon checking the wound, there’s nothing sticking to the pad you can re-apply the thing….. And it STICKS!

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  32. Jolene said on October 14, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Very sorry to hear about your brother-in-law, Dexter. It’s painful when the statistics we hear appear in the form of people we love.

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  33. David C. said on October 14, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I have high deductible insurance with an HSA too. They brag about their tools, but they are garbage. The information is so general it’s of no use. I suppose high deductibles are great if you are single or married without children and in your 20s and 30s. At 56 when stuff starts going wrong, no matter how you try to keep it from happening, it really stinks. A friend at work has a wife who is diabetic. He’s shelling out $6000 a year in deductibles. Those who make the decisions don’t care, that probably represents a fraction of their liquor bill. I’m so tired of being told I have to be a better consumer. Excuse me, I’m having chest pains, do you have a special this week on catheterization and stenting? No, OK I’ll try back next week.

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  34. Connie said on October 14, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    I ended up with an insurance paid for big box of Mepilex bandages a couple of years ago. Loved that they restuck. My nurses always referred to them as silicone.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 14, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Dexter, sorry to hear that kind of news for your brother, or for anyone. I hope it turns out to be an estimate on the short side, and there’s some good memory making in the time that there is for you all.

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  36. Jill said on October 14, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    So sorry, Dexter. I hope he’s someone who can make the most of the time he has.
    Jeff, I’m adding my admiration for the work you do and the understanding and respect you show. I work in social services so I see some of what you describe there, but I see a lot more of it in a volunteer gig where I’ve been teaching homeless people on the west side of Chicago for 20+ years. The biggest eye-opener for me early on was recognizing the lack of hope. So many of the clients don’t even know what to dream about. I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there were always things to hope for and work toward, and where I was surrounded by people who knew what steps to take to improve their lives. Now when I have a client with a spark of hope it makes me very happy.

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  37. Deborah said on October 14, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    I just finished reading the Malcolm Gladwell piece in the New Yorker. I think I might have trouble falling asleep tonight.

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  38. Dexter said on October 15, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Thanks for the support regarding my brother-in-law’s cancer news. His friends are Harley-Davidson people; they go on organized rides and party together. Those friends are already getting a fund-raiser scheduled ASAP so my wife’s sister can take some family leave time as this sorts itself out.
    Way back in ’79 I bought a Honda motorcycle, and I rode to the in-laws’ house to show it to them. “I ain’t gonna waste my time lookin’ at no rice-burner, and if that P.O.S. is out parked on my property you got two minutes to get the hell out of here.” And so I began to understand my brother-in-law. But then when my boozing got out of control 23 years ago he was there to support me as I began alcoholic recovery, and when the snow got way-deep, he’d come scrape our drive. It’s family…you take what you get and try to get along. 🙁

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  39. Dexter said on October 15, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Jill…my daughter worked in the Toledo ghetto and the East Side as a visiting nurse for a few years and she noticed the same despair at times. Now she’s a nurse practitioner in Las Vegas, Nevada, and her office building is in a hard area. Last week she witnessed a man defecating onto the side of her building. A doctor saw it too and yelled “What the hell you doing shitting up against my building?”
    “I had to go.”
    Daughter said she must always be looking down in the lot to avoid human feces piles.
    Now ain’t that America?

    I have never seen Jeff Borden so happy…he’s absolutely giddy over his Chicago Cubs. I hope they win it all for him, for my cousin Wayne who played baseball for the Cubs 51 years ago, and for all the die-hards who love their team.
    I noticed John Cusack, Eddie Vetter, Jim Belushi and other celebs there the other night. I wondered where Jeff Garland was.

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  40. Sue said on October 15, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Nancy, something on the MJ-S. There is very little discussion on the sale. Compared to when the Journal and Sentinel merged, there seems to be no concern about this. Too bad.

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  41. Julie Robinson said on October 15, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Sue, the short correction to your statement is that the JG and N-S did not merge. The long correction is, it’s complicated.

    There are three different companies doing business down at 600 W Main; JG Editorial, N-S Editorial, and Fort Wayne Newspapers, the business agent for both (they handle the advertising, circulation, accounting, and the like). Both the JG and N-S own parts of FWN, in proportions that have changed over the years. They are tied together by the JOA, or Joint Operating Agreement, but we’ll leave that to another day.

    High-deductible or high-premium, it’s still almost impossible to price shop. We have high-premium insurance but I’ve learned that some pharmacies charge less than the insurance deductibles. So yesterday I tried to make comparisons and found I could get the cash price, but not the insurance price.

    It turns out you have to present a written Rx to a pharmacy for them to tell you what it would cost under insurance, even if they have your insurance on file. That means that I need to ask the doctor’s office for a written scrip instead of them electronically sending it, then I have to drive around town, stand in line, and wait for the pharmacist to get the price. But standing and walking cause foot pain, which is what the prescription is for in the first place. This is not for a controlled substance, just garden variety pain control. It’s a real Catch-22. And as Sherri says, you really aren’t in the position to do that much work when you’re actively needing health care.

    Dexter, I hope your family is able to help your brother-in-law say his goodbyes and die with grace. We faced the same thing with my aunt back in the mid-60’s, the three month sentence after exploratory surgery. Only she hadn’t hit 30 yet, only married a couple of years. It took all the starch out of my grandma, who was normally a very starchy woman.

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