NomDebPlume's 2½ Cents

Because I have an opinion about everything…

Archive for the category “Culture”

Naked Gnomes?

 

One of the things I like about being married to a “European” is how he not only stays on top of the news here in the U.S., but keeps himself abreast of newsworthy stories in Europe, as well:

 Where does one even go to purchase a “naked gnome”? 

In the story, naked gnome collector, Sandra Smith, said she was told to put clothes on three of her favorite ornaments because they were deemed offensive.  Personally, I find the entire display offensive because it’s so kitschy and overdone.

I mean, really, Sandy… the wet t-shirt gnome is over the top! J

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Home, Hospitals, Holidays and HIPAA

 

 

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To write that being in the hospital is anything but unpleasant and something we all wish to avoid would be obvious and unnecessary. Yet sometimes, it is the only way to enable someone to return to good health, or at least better health. And during a stay at the hospital, there are things we can learn – other than exactly what diagnosis put us there in the first place.

Beginning with how grateful I am for my own bed and pillow, I personally learned how much I really do appreciate the mundane, annoying chores I do on a daily basis that normally give me only the slightest gratification. I missed getting my children ready for school and making my 7-year-old’s school lunch at 6:30 each morning. I missed doing laundry, cooking dinner, paying bills and loading/unloading the dishwasher. After 6 days away, I missed seeing my family every day – even when they were in my face making too much noise when I wanted to be ‘alone’. For the most part, I was alone each one of those days, all day… all night.

It is a conundrum of human nature, I think, to initially be content with what we have… then dissatisfied once we have it for a while… then miss it and want it back once it is taken from us. Or maybe I am the only one who is guilty of this unappreciative tendency, along with the lack of appreciation of the phrase “at least you have your health”.  Spend some time as an anxious patient in the hospital and you, too, may eliminate the words “at least” from that sentence… at least for a while.

Because my stay in the hospital was a bit longer than average, I enjoyed the company of 4 different roommates, 2 of whom were sicker than I was. If not ignored, this benefits one’s perspective; focusing on the pain and anxiety of my roommates was definitely helpful in temporarily diverting attention away from my own problems. While I felt bad for what these two women were enduring, I admit I felt grateful that it wasn’t me. And when I pray for my own health and future, I remember them, too.


Now, since I am never one to overlook the political aspects of an experience… :-/… I was surprised, perhaps even shocked, to learn that our HIPAA Privacy Laws that we are told are so vitally important (and the related paperwork that stuffs landfills everywhere) were broken on a regular basis. If you’ve ever visited a doctor’s office, you’ve signed a HIPAA form that prevents the sharing of your personal medical information without your expressed consent. If you’ve ever watched a television police drama where they need medical records, you’ve probably noticed they need a subpoena to get/view medical records, even if the person is DEAD.

Well, I was privy to dozens of people’s medical records while in the hospital every day, without a subpoena or anything… using just my ears. My hospital room was close to the nurses’ station and every time the shift changed, the nurse on duty would relate each chart’s information to the nurse coming on duty. She would go over each chart, starting with the FULL NAME, diagnosis, doctor’s orders/medications, details of what transpired during her shift, and for some patients, some added anecdotal information, such as “what a nice woman she is,” or “he’s a real nasty one”. I wasn’t trying to hear what they were saying, their voices echoed into my room and to my bed, which was the furthest from the door.

Thankfully, I didn’t recognize any of the names I heard, so all of this information means absolutely nothing to me, but what if I DID know one or more of these patients? I would now know their private, medical history (unless I stuck my fingers in my ears and did that la-la-la-la-la thing). And who might have heard MY medical information? There could have been someone there who recognized my name from seeing it on my check at the grocery store, or the pharmacy, etc. Now they know exactly what is ‘wrong’ with me. I’m not liking this. Why don’t the nurses have a room with a closed door where they can do this confidential job? Why do any of us sign those HIPAA forms in the first place – are they just to make us THINK our privacy is being protected? Hmm…

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 Whatever the case, I was released from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving and enjoyed a toned-down eating experience, but a day full of more gratitude than usual. I valued this more than the usual type of celebration, and hope I can remember this important lesson for future years without preceeding the holiday with an unpleasant trip to the hospital.

 

While all of this is so fresh in my mind, allow me to wish each of you a Holiday Season full of gratitude and good health…
:-)
 

Nice Guys Finish Last

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It has been reported that John McCain considered certain aspects of Obama’s life and behavior to be “off-limits” during the campaign, even though they would make Obama look bad – and, conversely, make McCain look good.  Everyone has heard that McCain had passed a “No Jeremiah Wright” edict, considering this absurd long-term association of Obama and his family with this hate-preaching ‘pastor’ something he didn’t want to help illuminate for the American people.  I’m guessing it was because it had to do with church, but… Come on!

In addition, some of the other firm boundaries set by Mr. McCain were:

  • No Michelle Obama attacks
  • No attacking Obama for his lack of service in the Military
  • No using children to depict Obama being soft on crime
  • And absolutely no ad of a black man busting a move with a lesbian!

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    The idea is that this last one would be too provocative, but it’s more likely that it would have led to liberals belly-aching and whining about how McCain and conservatives are intolerant racists and bigots (see “The View” for an example of said belly-aching and whining).  So, perhaps it was a shrewd mood in such a malicious and hyper-critical environment.

Obviously, I agree with leaving Mrs. Obama alone, just as the Obama campaign should have left Mrs. McCain alone. But we are talking about two totally different standards here; which man was it who put out an ad that accused the other of being so old and out of touch that he can’t even use the internet? But in reality, it is a war injury that keeps Senator McCain from using his arms comfortably enough to utilize the internet regularly. Yes, two different standards, indeed… or perhaps it’s a lack of standards at times.

By the way, what do you suppose Ellen thinks of the vocal and violent opponents of Prop 8 who are defacing churches, harassing church-goers, hurting dissenting grandmothers, stomping on crosses, intimidating those who voted against them by threatening their jobs (or eliminating them) and wreaking havoc as they take to the streets in an effort to get California’s Supreme Court to reverse this entirely fair VOTE of the people (that they agreed to abide by beforehand)? 
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Woman in yellow is grandmother being harrassed - after having her cross trampled.

We know she donated money in an effort to defeat the proposition, has she – or any of the other highly visible/celebrity opponents – denounced this horrendous behavior or the religious persecution taking place in our very own country? 
All I’ve seen is the likes of Drew Barrymore fighting back a flood of tears as she yelled her support into a bullhorn for a battle that is not hers. 

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Actors just love being the center of attention…

But I digress…  Or perhaps not.  Why must “nice guys finish last”?  And will they again in this whole Prop 8 debacle?  Will the tantrums of a raucous, disorderly and disobedient ultra-minority force activist judges to undo the will of the people as demonstrated by an election?
 
Is this how we want to herald the history of Mr. Obama’s arrival?
 
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September 11th… 6 years later

 

World Trade Center 

Today I think of how quickly everyone forgets the unity and singularity of purpose once known as the years increase between September 11th 2001 and the present.  My sense is that we could not be more divided than we are right now and our enemies probably enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they have not only hurt us physically, but emotionally and politically as well.  I wonder if they knew how quickly we would all turn on one another; I, for one, am appalled at such a realization.

But life goes on for all of us in all our cocoons.  I am keenly aware that Americans are an impatient sort.  Not entirely our fault, I’ll concede, but not always a beneficial quality to possess.  While our desire to see things accomplished “yesterday” has contributed to our success as a Superpower, individually, we want what we want NOW… or sooner.  And when it comes to war, we Americans have precious little tolerance for the unavoidable accompanying discomfort.  Of course, as Americans, we also want THE best, 100% infallible plan that can be carried out neatly and quickly with little to no casualties. 

Sadly, this is not a reality we can know and we all scurry for someone to blame.  Blame makes us feel a little better and gives us a focus so moving forward is bearable.  But what we all really want is for none of this dreaded ugliness to ever have touched our lives in the first place, for our fragile version of innocence to have been left in tact, for those terrorists to have been stopped before they boarded the planes on that fateful day six years ago.  We want what we can’t have, and, heck, we’re Americans… we usually figure out a way to get it!  So instead of acknowledging a pain that cannot be quelled, we collectively grumble, complain, name-call, and viscously blame easy targets.

And today I think: How many years before we figure out that our country’s dissension feeds our enemy while starving our ability to heal and triumph?

Does One Person’s Free Speech Trump Another’s?

 

Imus and Rosie      

It goes without saying that Don Imus’ comments about the Rutgers University Women’s basketball team were deplorable, unacceptable, and never should have been uttered.  My goal is not to excuse his behavior in any way, but to attempt to draw attention to the hypocrisy that is so thick in the media, and society as a whole, that publicly punishing him when others go unmentioned, tends to minimize the impact of those doing the punishing… and the offense itself.

While Imus stole a golden moment from this hard-working team of young women, insulting them, and frustrating their lives by the unwanted attention this situation has thrust upon their lives, he has also inadvertently given them more than their 15 minutes of fame.  After their press conference, we all now know they are much more than fine athletes, they are women of substance, worthy of our respect, who could never be defined by one man’s thoughtless comments.

But someone please explain the premise of ‘free speech’ to me again – it has gotten so muddled in the mire of this latest controversy.  With the usual players coming out of the woodwork for their airtime, taking up the cause du jour, how are any of us supposed to give the issue the consideration it deserves?  It has always been my understanding that free speech extends to everyone, not just those we agree with.  It’s easy to allow the airwaves to be filled with opinions and comments that don’t offend us, but why is it that only when certain subjects of offense arise, there are those who wish to draw a line?  And who says THEY get to decide where they line is drawn, anyway?

Why does Rosie O’Donnell get to spew her “view” every day, influencing the ignorant with her propaganda that ranges from irate rhetoric to something that can only be labeled “absurd”, but no one wants to take up that cause?  Why do we hear no one calling for her to be fired or fined or suspended?  And why no call for boycotts?  This woman badmouths the President of the United States on a regular basis, which apparently is “chic”, and therefore… “acceptable?  More acceptable than a racist remark, I guess.  And Rosie’s radical personal opinions about our country only serve to fuel the terrorists’ resolve and hatred toward us. Why is that an acceptable form of free speech? 

Why are Al and Jesse and the media ok with THAT?

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