Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I got the top two shelves of the greenhouse cleared and all of the plants I intend to get transplanted today and tomorrow.  That includes two intriguing strawberry varieties: Tristan and Loran.  From what I have found so far they are new cultivars from Europe designed to be edible ornamentals.  That sounds perfect for my small space--good looks and food.  They don't put out many, if any, runners.  The Tristan is already putting out blossoms--red!!  That is what drew my eye.  None of the Quinault plants from last year survived but six of the Sequoia did so I have 18 strawberries to start off.  This last winter, as I have said all too often, was brutal.  Next year I will try to give the overwintering plants more protection.

Well, I do hope this continues and yields some positive results--like more realistic pricing.  Some of the stories I have seen over the last couple of years about the costs of treatments for cancer had me shaking my head.  I have Medicare coverage but the 20% (minimum) I would have to pay for many medical procedures would bankrupt me.  I put that minimum in because we have seen that Mom pays considerably more because of the nickel and dime charges she has to pay up front and that aren't reimbursed.  We also noticed an ad for a cancer center that noted they don't accept Medicare or Medicaid.

And on a similar note I found this.  None of it was surprising and I have read it before.  Doctors order tests because they are afraid of lawsuits, because patients demand them, or because insurance pays and their medical organization profits from them.  But in my circle I have seen a willingness to refuse tests if they don't appear to be necessary and the willingness is spurred by the fact that insurance and Medicare have limits.  That is a bit problematic at times.  Mom gets a routine test that Medicare will pay for only twice a year.  If her conditions goes out of control she may need as many as four of those tests per year to get it back under control.  But getting Medicare or her supplemental insurance to pay for necessary tests that their one-size-fits-all schedule is like pulling teeth without anesthetic even if the doctor is willing to submit the bill with an explanation of its medical necessity.  And she has another complication: two doctors who don't always talk to each other.  Of course her appointments are not synchronized and sometimes they order the same tests.  She has to watch that so that the testing lab sends the results to both and so that they don't exceed the authorized number.  Sometimes the whole process is bewildering.

Ah!!! Finally someone else is asking questions I have been asking about the conflict in Ukraine--and other parts of what used to be the Soviet Union.  And Putin may indeed be more aware of 21st century geopolitical realities than our politicians.  Ain't globalization wonderful??  I had an interesting thought as I read the part about how including Russia in the G-8 (now back to G-7) hoping that its integration into the world economy would prevent aggression but that Russia had figured out how to flip that and get away with aggression.  Haven't any of our leader read Isaac Asimov's classic sci-fi novel Foundation???  Salvor Hardin tells his political enemies (inside and outside the Foundation) that it is a poor blaster that can't be aimed in "both directions."  A weapon that can be directed against an enemy can always be aimed back at you by that enemy.

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