Why I Hate those Fancy New Coke Dispensers


At first, I thought they were interesting. Then I realized that everyone had to get ice out of it, no more other ice cube machine. This includes those of us, like myself, that like iced tea (plain, unsweet, like God intended). This — plus only one soda spout — means that whenever it is even mildly busy, there is a holdup at the machine. That holdup is longer if there is anybody who has never used this sort of machine (oh wow wouldja lookit that) or doesn’t already know exactly what he/she wants.

And above, the other reason I dislike these machines. Gross.


At the beginning of this week, we celebrated a holiday commemorating a document that reads in part:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

All of us are created equal — not identical, but equal. Men and women are created equal. People of various races are created equal. Yes, there are differences between us all, but we are all people. One is not simply better than anotherFurthermore, we all have the right to be alive, the right to be free, and the right to attempt to be happy.

And, oddly enough, that brings me to the events of this last week. In case you are unaware, two men in two different cities and two different circumstances were shot and killed by police officers. Those men happened to be black. A peaceful protest in a third city ended when one disgruntled black man shot a dozen police officers, killing several of them. I find all three incidents disturbing.

There is a controversy going on over whether “Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter” is the appropriate way to say that a traffic stop should not result in death. My local hip-hop station (I like Tupac, so what?), aired a PSA several times today proclaiming “All Lives Matter; Choose Peace.” I like this sentiment. It respects all the people whose deaths I mentioned above: white or black, cop or citizen.

If you aren’t bothered by the fact that in some areas of the country, the only thing between you and summary roadside execution is racism, you aren’t paying attention. You still have the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Choose peace.


Things I Learned in Nursing School: Senior Edition

Nurse w lampThis is it folks, I have survived. Here are a few choice tidbits from the last semester

Wisdom from a Professor: “They don’t put trauma centers in nice neighborhoods.”

Political Power: One in every 10 women voters is a registered nurse (Source: Maurer, F., Smith, C.  (2013). Community/Public Health Nursing Practice, 5th Edition)

On Cars: When you drive a big yellow car, it’s totally reasonable to refer to it as Big Bird. Oh yeah, and one more thing I don’t like about GM vehicles: apparently some of them have their own phone numbers. Because we totally need cars to be phones in addition to connecting to our cell phones. Riiiiight.

On the PICU: PICU stands for Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The kids there are very sick. This is not as sad a place as you might think. Or maybe I just have a ridiculously good attitude.

On Pediatrics: Much like Maternity, moms have a little advantage in this class.

Wisdom from another Professor, on How To Keep Your RN License: “Do your drinking at home, don’t take other people’s narcs [narcotics], and keep up with your CEUs [Continuing Education Units].”

On Yoga: Some classmates talked me into doing a brief yoga demonstration for a class project. People who don’t do yoga are impressed with what I can do. Imagine if they watched some of the other people in my yoga class….

On Chronic Illness: This semester, I had the opportunity to work with home health nurses. That is, nurses that actually keep people out of the hospital by visiting their homes. Now, think about your last doctor’s visit. You probably had to call some weeks in advance. Things ran late. You had paperwork, that was annoying because it was literally the same questions you answered last time you were there. Now, imagine that you or someone you love has a serious, debilitating chronic illness. Every day you have to deal with a system that requires multiple phone calls and properly filled out forms to get the simplest thing done. This system, which is supposed to “save money” by making sure services aren’t unnecessary or duplicated, costs time.

On Home Health Nursing: Florence Nightingale herself knew that nurses who go into the field need more training than their hospital-based colleagues. They don’t have a giant supply closet down the hall. They don’t have a charge nurse or any kind of help just a shout down the hall. They can’t count on a doctor coming by a little later. They have to look out for their own safety. Cars and cell phones have made the home health nurse’s life easier — you can have a trunk full of stuff and you can call for advice — but it’s still a hard job.

The Shorties on the Train

What do Dave Johnson and Donald Trump have in common?: Both agree that we have infrastructure that needs to be fixed. But I’m not hearing mainline Democrats or Republicans joining in. It’s not a brave political statement to say “Maybe we could put some people to work fixing some roads.”

Speaking of American Politics: I’m not the only one who noticed it’s crazy out there. Hillary has her share of foot-in-mouth disease. And Bernie is closer to the true center — the one that wants decent jobs and affordable healthcare — than anybody in the establishment wants to admit (which is why Trump is more welcoming to Sanders followers than Hillary; see the speech text above).

The Noose Gets Tighter: The Senate failed by ONE VOTE to pass a law allowing the FBI to look at your browser history for funzies. Remember come November. Meanwhile, US Customs wants to know the social media accounts of people entering the country. Because no terrorist is smart enough to say “no I don’t have Twitter” or give a username more generic than the one they use to keep up with the latest ISIS jihabi memes. Meanwhile, the TSA is still pushing their “get out of the security line free” card as a way to shorten lines at the airport. One user gave the ringing endorsement of “not so hard as signing up for Obamacare.”

Free Electronic Music: Moby wrote himself some yoga and meditation music. He decided to share. Very nice of him.

Not sure what to say about Brexit: So here’s one of the more intelligent things I’ve read on the issue.

Obligatory Economy Item: Wages have been stagnant for over 40 years when adjusted for inflation. Maybe some of these ideas could help. Oh, and don’t let anybody scare you about Social Security. Forbes is hardly a “liberal rag,” and they say that the latest scaremongering is way overblown.

I believe

I believe that both political parties have lost their minds. They’re both so far out of touch with what their voters want and need that they may as well run the country from Mars.

I believe that the no-fly list as it exists today — with many ways on, no clear way to get off if there’s an error and no accountability — is a dumb idea exceeded only by PreCheck. PreCheck is proof that the whole process is Security Theatre, and that some people are willing to pay for convenience. It assumes that nobody ever hides radical tendencies, nobody ever becomes a Bad Guy, nobody ever goes crazy, and certainly nobody ever has their identity stolen. Oh yeah, and the current long airport security lines? They may well be designed to manipulate you into paying.

I believe that making the no-fly list into a no-gun list is also stupid. Funny how nobody suggested the idea until we had some Muslim mass shooters. The problem is that none of them were actually on the list. In fact, this last asshat was actually removed from the watchlist. Twice. Yet now sensible ideas such as universal background checks are being conflated with this bad idea.

I believe that the Second Amendment — along with the rest of the Bill of Rights — was written by men who overthrew the legal government.

I believe that, since it costs 18 times as much as life in prison (not just a little bit more, but 18 times more!) and there’s the possibility of making a mistake, there is no reason to support the death penalty. Conservatives should oppose it on fiscal grounds. Liberals should oppose it on fairness grounds. The end.

I believe that Obamacare is neither as good nor as bad as everybody says. I further believe it could be greatly improved by allowing people to buy in to Medicare: a public option that means I don’t have to enrich for-profit insurance companies to follow the law.

I believe that a social safety net is a good thing. Don’t believe it? You don’t even need to read Les Miserables to understand how that works, you can now watch it.

I believe immigration is hopelessly messed up in this nation. That is partly due to quotas, which are both artificially low and outright discriminatory against people who are not white and English speaking. Illegals need to “go to the back of the line“? That line is something like 17 years long. Talk about a sick joke.

I believe that America’s largest employers, including and especially the military, deserve to know that any high school graduate from any school in the United States has certain skills in reading, writing, and math. However, I believe that Common Core is not that standard.

I believe in school choice. I also believe that taxpayers should not pay for your choice if it is not a public school. And as many rules as get forced down as a condition of receiving funds? Parents should not want money that could have strings attached later.

I believe it’s entirely possible that I’ve become so liberal that I’ve come around the other side of the spectrum and somehow become conservative. In fact, I actually agreed with Glenn Reynolds about something. I suppose there’s a first time for everything.