At the risk of copying my cousin, Christian, I feel obliged to throw in my support for the Red Sox for this project.

If I had to pick a player from the Sox to go with the post? Jim Rice.

There is a story in my family about Jim Rice that goes something like this:

A distant cousin (a youth) was attending a Red Sox game at Fenway Park with his family along the first base line (I think) and he was struck by a line drive foul ball in the head rendering him unconscious. Jim Rice leapt out of the dug out and picked up the youth and brought him through the Red Sox dug out to where an ambulance was waiting.

I may be getting the whole story wrong and I have no idea what happened to my cousin, but its a great tale about a man who lived his life, from what I understand, in the same manner that he treated my cousin that day.

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I go for relief. For the fun, for the craft (beautifully elucidated in George Will’s just-reissued classic, Men at Work), and for the sweet, easy cheer at Nationals Park.

You get there and the twilight’s gleaming, the popcorn’s popping, the kids are romping, and everyone’s happy. The joy of losing consists in this: Where there are no expectations, there is no disappointment. In Tuesday night’s game, our starting pitcher couldn’t get out of the third inning. Gave up four straight hits, six earned runs, and as he came off the mound, actually got a few scattered rounds of applause.

Applause! In New York he’d have been booed mercilessly. In Philly, he’d have found his car on blocks and missing a headlight.

To Be a Fan of the Washington Nationals – Charles Krauthammer – National Review Online.

He has another quote about being a rehabilitated Red Sox fan.  I’m not sure how to take that one, but it’s a good read for a baseball fan, anyway.

Love the headline: Obama Bats Back Criticism of Health Care Effort – Roll Call.  It conjures up images of Ted Williams effortlessly batting over .400 in the 1941 season.

This is the first paragraph of the Roll Call article:

President Barack Obama sought to turn every argument against a health care overhaul on its head Wednesday night, describing his initiative as one that would reduce the deficit, make it more likely people can keep their insurance, promote more choice of insurers, help insurers provide better coverage, and even get the government out of decisions about care.

This should be so easy for the Republicans to dismantle it almost isn’t fair.  Of course, Obama and the Left have done a very nice job of framing the debate so as to make the perceived lack of proposals from the Republicans expose Republican congressmen as being “political” or against things that matter to the average American.

Let’s see…

Reduce the deficit. How could this be possible?  Even for the government to “get in” to the health-care business (as if they weren’t already, i.e. Medicare and Medicaid) it would cost an enormous amount just to set up all of the protocols and plans.  After you’ve set all that up you’ll have to implement the protocols which will rely heavily on manpower that will cost a lot of money.  Monitoring compliance and/or fraud will be a huge expense, too.  There is no way that a government plan could possibly reduce the deficit.

Keep your own insurance. Again, logic dictates that this will not likely be the case for the average American.  Once the government is providing a health insurance plan many companies will end up dumping their own insurance plans and tell their employees to buy the government plan because it will be cheaper for them and allow them to stay in business.  The only people who get to keep their plans are those that can afford it and the members of the U.S. Congress.

Promote choice of insurers. If choice is really that important, then the Democrats should be writing a bill that promotes portability without saddling the treasury with another entitlement program.  If it doesn’t work, only then should we talk about adding a government plan.

Help insurers provide better coverage. How is this possible?  Are they going to mandate better coverage?  If so, then they will definitely chase private insurance companies right out of business.

Get the government out of decisions about care. This is the most laughable part of the whole paragraph.  The government has already meddled so much in the private medical affairs of individuals that it is not funny.  The very fact that government regulates and licenses hospitals and clinics makes them paramount in decisions about care.  I’m not suggesting a deregulation of the health care industry (although I’m not convinced it wouldn’t make things worse), but insurance companies and providers already shell out huge amount of money just to be in compliance with government regulations.  I imagine what Obama will safely say is that he himself will not personally phone in an order for your physician to follow.  Phew.

Of course, what hovers above any discussion of the government being involved in health-care is the fact that the government makes the rules.  How long will private insurance companies last against a competitor who also gets to make up the rules of the game?

From Political Math

Here is a copy of my post to Meredith’s CaringBridge site when we all took a trip to the grocery store…


…just had to share this…

I took Malcolm, Maura, and Meredith to the grocery store yesterday.  Yes, that’s right, by myself. 

We got to the store before I realized I forgot the list.  Whoops.  No big deal, I just barely wrote it down, so it was fresh in the memory banks.

Got out of the car and realized…how am I going to push the cart, the wheel chair, and keep two kids under control?  No big deal, Malcolm could push mommy and I could push Maura in the cart.

Got a quarter of the way down the first aisle before I noticed…Malcolm had run mommy into an unsuspecting grocery store patron perusing the greeting cards.  Got another quarter of the way down the same aisle before Malcolm and mommy nearly knock over a cardboard display box.  Yet another quarter of the way down the same aisle and I turn to see Malcolm investigating some sparkly, glowing sticks.  “What ‘dat, daddy?”  After a couple minutes of ruthless negotiating, I pulled him away from the pretty objects and finally made it to the end of the first aisle.

Plan B, I put Malcolm in the front of the grocery cart and I pushed mommy while I pulled the cart (poor Maura was like the caboose on a train, only seeing where we had already been and not where we were going).

Things are going swimmingly until we hit the magazine aisle.  Not only are there magazines, but there are children’s books as well.  Turns out that those books bought me an extra 10 minutes of peaceful grocery store time when all was said and done.

By the time we hit the cash register, all you could see of Malcolm was his little blonde head peeking out from between the loaves of bread and the toilet paper, Maura was no longer entertained by Dora The Explorer’s exploits, and Mommy was patient, but she was ready to lie down and rest.

Got all the way to the car before I realized…where was I going to put the groceries?  With two car seats in the back seat and Meredith’s wheelchair in the back, there wasn’t really room for the foodstuffs.  So, taking care not to smash the eggs, I packed the back of the car like a game of Tetris and gently slammed shut the door.

Now, on our way back home, I take look at the clock and realize…it’s quarter ‘til one.  That would be an hour past lunch time and only 15 minutes before nap time.  So, I had to feed everyone lunch, get Meredith and the kids to bed and find the energy to actually put away the groceries.  Trying to maintain my cool, I slow my breathing to achieve a zen-like state of mind.  Not that I began to achieve any sort of balance with the universe, but I kept my anxieties in check.

When we pulled into the driveway I realized…Zen is a load of hooey and I couldn’t use the wheelchair to get Meredith in the house before I unloaded groceries because you’ll remember that the bags are tucked Tetris-style into every little nook and Thomas’ cranny.  So, I walked Meredith from the car to the front door of the house and to the seat in the front hallway (which under normal circumstances would have been something to celebrate, but we were a little pressed for time).  Merlin managed to escape during our entrance to the house because Malcolm and Maura were just lingering in the open doorway while I was walking mommy.  With Meredith sitting in the gossip chair (that’s another story) in the front hallway, Malcolm, Maura and I went out to get Merlin back to the house.

He stopped across the street to pee and we managed to coax him back to our side of the street.  I told the kids to start walking to the house to encourage Merlin to follow us and Malcolm and I started to make our way back to the house.  I turned to check on the pug’s progress (apologies to Bunyon fans) and Maura and Merlin were in a stare down.  I told Maura to come with us so Merlin would follow.  She proceeded to get down on her knees and snort through her nose to imitate Merlin’s breathing.  Methinks she misunderstood.  At the time, I wasn’t particularly amused, but I knew it would be funny later.  Ha, ha.

Now, everyone’s back in the house.  Meredith needs to use the potty (which requires my assistance).  Malcolm and Maura are running amok on a hypoglycemic frenzy and Meredith and I are dodging two and four legged creatures as they dart in and out of our legs.  Malcolm comes over to me with one shoe off and says that he can’t get the other one off.  So, being the wannabe magician that I am, I give it a quick yank (as per the table cloth trick) and proceeded to triple sowcow Malcolm to the floor with a perfect landing for a high dive competition. 

After consoling Malcolm and cleaning mommy, I am finally able to bring the groceries into the house.  At this point, life returns to a more acceptable pace and I manage to get the groceries away, feed everyone lunch, get everyone down for a nap, and plop myself down to watch some football only to discover that the Patriots are getting creamed by the Dolphins.  No bit of light-hearted entertainment or encouragement there, so I took a nap.

PS And still the Red Sox find ways to make getting to the playoffs look like a Shakespearean comedy.  We’re at the part when we discover that David Ortiz is really a man pretending to be girl, pretending to be a man so that he can keep his number three spot in the line-up even though Dustpan Petunia tops the league in three different offensive categories (including nose hair).  Jacobin Elderberry is shouting vive le stolen base, while Jason “I’m not Manny Ramirez” Baywatch is looking for his muse.  Cocoa Crispies is negotiating a Faustian deal with Crackle, to take over Snap and Pop’s share of Kellog’s.  Kevin YouCanDoIt is still amazed that he wasn’t cast as Lex Luthor in the most recent Superman movie and VariTekTacToe, Paplebonbon and the First Lowell are masterminding a Machiavellian scheme to take everyone’s maple bats and replace them with pine.  In the end, let’s hope that we’ll see Kevin Rock the Cashbah throw off the catcher’s mask, tilt his head back and share a laugh with Terry Franconia Notch. 

As Maceo Parker would say, pass the peas like we used to do.