Monday, August 31, 2009

On the Radio Road Again

Today was traveling day as I shifted my location from San Francisco to Weed. For those who have not been keeping up, Weed is just slightly northwest of Mt. Shasta in north central California about 50 miles south of the Oregon border. I have been coming up here to visit my friends since 1989. From San Francisco to Weed is almost exactly 300 miles and also today about 30 degrees Fahrenheit from cool, moist 55 to bright, sunny and too damn hot. I know, I know; how the hell did I live in Vegas.

I forgot to restock my books on tape catalog, so I decided to try the trip with just radio. NPR got me through the first hour but then the mid central station drifted away. I usually travel with favorite music CDs and recently have done some longer trips with easy to follow semi-mindless books on tape; the auto equivalent of beach books. So it has been a very long time since I have experienced AM talk radio. Those people are raving maniacs and thems is just the hosts.

I got Sean Hannity first. Now I consider most political commentators right or left to be pond scum but this guy not only is right of right but he likes to have liberal dustheads on to pummel like its the first night of American Idol. I really was hoping to find Glen Beck because he must be so far round the bend on his show that he could be channeling Torquemada.

Second stop along the raving loon airways as Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Now I have heard the good doctor before (by the way, she still is not an actual Dr. but then Kermit wasn't really a frog; but you know -- show biz). On this day, amongst the wilds and hinterlands of talk radio, Dr. Laura was a ray of rationality. No, she has not changed but the competition has gotten so low that she appears to be nearly normal. Appearances can, of course, be deceiving particularly with my limited sampling. She did get on some subversive point about a judgmental attitude being good when in the service of the sacred.

Then I ran into a phenomenon, I did not in my limited view comprehend -- Christian talk radio. Not a preachin' show but social commentary with a twist of bible. Apparently, in answering his health reform critics, President Barack has said that some of them were: "Bearing false witness." The Christian host was offended by the use of "religious language" in the service of a social or political agenda. This, of course, coming from someone who has a Christian talk show that advocates for, well not to put too fine of a point on it but a political and social agenda. That double standard nearly sent me back down the dial to Dr. Laura, when I stumbled onto this next missive of right thinking on another faith based show.

Seems Bob Bookee's wife is spending too much time on the internet. Bob thinks good Christians should "get of the facebook and get off the twitter." 

Upon questioning about his wife's social networking tastes; Bob said she was at it one or two hours a day! When asked what she was talking about.... Bob replied and I quote:

"All those people are talking about this and that to each other."

The host probed for more juice and asked Bob, if there was profanity or perhaps sexual overtones to the conversation. Bob was flabbergasted by this suggestion and said:

"No these people are just talking about their lives and trying to use the internet to be friends with strangers."

Imagine that -- being friends with strangers. Which of the seven deadlies does that fall under?

"She should be talking with her husband about those things," Bob went on.

"So you want your wife to share her day with you in conversation?" the host asked.

Bob appeared appalled by that suggestion: "No, I want to watch my tv shows at night. I just don't think she should be wasting her time on the computer."

Just when I thought the host was with me in our analysis of this high functioning marriage; he suggested: "Have the two of you considered a bible study class for couples?"

Bob was speechless, not a good situation on a radio talk show. I was laughing so hard my eyes started to tear up, not a good situation for freeway travel. So I went back to FM, you know there is some real high quality static you can get in the lower bandwidths.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What's in a Word?

Since I began referring to my current status as undomiciled, I have received suggestions that there were perhaps other ways to describe my status. Two of my commentators have used the term - peripatetic. One said: "you appear to be peripatetic once again".

Strictly speaking, peripatetic means walking from place to place. It has come to imply the act of traveling about in some kind of itinerant manner. In that respect the word does seem fitting to my current endeavours. But it was further pointed out that the word also refers to followers of Aristotle, who it is believed were given his teachings whilst they walked with him about the Lyceum in Athens. And while I am not in a particularly Aristotlean frame of mind, I am pondering a few philosophical avenues that appear to be influencing my life these days.

Another reader wondered if this wander might be some sort of "automobilized walkabout". Interesting thought that. I think the major difference is that a true aboriginal walkabout is meant to be taken on foot in order for the individual to be close to the land. I am seeking most of my wisdom from people and the highway travel allows me to seek them out over some far scattered distances. But the element of seeking or searching is certainly foregrounded in my current journeys.

The final vocabulary selection for today is mine - panoptic. By definition, panoptic refers to everything that is visible in one view. Often it usage leans towards a totality of view, that which one might have from on high, like in an aerial view. I am seeking some perspective on my current place in a transitory world. So I am looking at my recent past and asking myself how the last few years will inform and influence my near future. What I am discovering thus far is that I may indeed be going back to the future. Here come the nineties all over again.

Another geographical shift appears imminent. 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sensing a Theme?


A recent NBC News poll found that 45% of Americans believed that health care reform would involve pulling the plug on grandma in some form. Leaving aside for a moment my often expressed distrust of how such poll questions are phrased, I bow to Stephen Colbert, who in response to this revelation said:
"Remember kids, in order to maintain an untenable position, you have to be actively ignorant."
This goes along with my quote dump from a few days ago:
"If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way."
and from my 100 Things About Me:
99. I have one prejudice; I abhor voluntary stupidity.
So on the Health Care Reform issue, I offer three thoughts: 
Consider that thought should usually precede talk.
and
No, really. Medicare is a government program.
and
Your elected representative is lying about health care.
Thus ends today's well reasoned and heavily disguised rant. Fox and CNN may resume their regularly scheduled propaganda.
Addendum: The suggestion has been made that I am confusing stupidity and ignorance. Worth pondering.

            

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

All Those Years Ago

The "9" summers are always full of memories. This year it is 40 years since the moon landing, Woodstock and the Manson murders. I was thinking since blogs are so personal, perhaps a trip back in time would be a good disclosure exercise for bloggers. Sorta like a chronological 'things about me'. 

The question is: Who, What, When, Where and Why was I (x) years ago?

1969 - forty years ago, I was finishing my final class at Kalamazoo College in the summer; we met once a week in a bar.

1979 - thirty years ago, I was teaching real estate in Los Angeles, just a few months from opening a business that would change my life.

1999 - just a decade ago, finishing my Ph.D. dissertation and planning a move back to Michigan.

1949 - yep sixty years ago, my family moved from Detroit to a rural village 50 miles west. My mother always said that she thought they had moved to the end of the earth.

1964 - the beginning of my senior year in high school, when just about everything seemed possible.

1984 - the Summer Olympics in L.A. an interesting time, the freeways were as empty as they have ever been, everyone thought it would be gridlock, so no one but the Olympics fans came to town that summer.

2000 - my first summer back in the midwest after 25 years in California; idyllic.

1961 - worked in the family pharmacy for the first time; best career training I ever had.

1971 - lived for a year in Boston; I regret that it wasn't much longer.

1975 - moved from Michigan to California.

1991 - moved from L.A. to S.F.

2010 - well that is an excellent question.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In Defense of the Over-Active Cerebrum

Over the years members of my extended family have encountered issues when dating outside of our IQ demographic. People can feel excluded when they are not part of the in-crowds jargon. In the case where academics get together there seems to be some heightened sense of exclusion based on use of "big" words. So on Sunday when several of the usual heavily-degreed group got together, I attempted to pay attention to the prevalence multi-syllabic jargon.

First, let me say that at least in the case of my group of big brains, the use of academic terminology is neither for show nor status. We speak with precision because we wish to convey nuances and small differences in tone and content. Unfortunately, not everyone feels as we do and in the past this has caused real issues when a non-academic partner was thrown into the gaggle of the cerebral herd.

This past Sunday, there was indeed a new adjunct person being introduced. However, he was not an intellectual lightweight in any sense of the word. True he was not formally academically indoctrinated, but he was a really sharp guy. So there was no issue of his being excluded or marginalized. But it was his first time in the pool with this new lover's group of smarties.

He clearly endeared himself to all of us, with this Monday morning email summary to his partner:

"Your friends are very likeable despite their ridiculously overgrown brains."

Now he has to cope with being blog fodder for me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quote Dump

Yes, I subscribe to Quotes of the Day, several variations in fact. And I save one every couple of weeks, knowing that it will make a great blog opening some day. But as the file grows larger and I use nary of single one of those brilliant bon mots, well why not a "Quote Dump"

Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.
            -- Steven Wright

When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained.
            -- Edward R. Murrow

If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.
            -- Buckminster Fuller Bertrand Russell

The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
            -- Paul Fix

In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.
            -- Paul HarveyPaul Harvey

No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.
            -- Lily Tomlin

I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.
            -- Umberto Eco

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
            -- Steven WeinbergSteven Weinberg

Friday, August 21, 2009

San Francisco

I lived in San Francisco in the 1990's, got my Ph.D. here while living in Haight-Ashbury. Now when I visit and I do like to visit, I stay with one of my best friends just south of Golden Gate Park in what is locally known as the Inner Sunset.

From here I can walk to a great bagel place, a wonderful Thai restaurant, two good Indian-Pakistani eateries, including Tasty Curry where we ate tonight. The park is just three blocks away and the DeYoung and the Science Museums just a few blocks beyond that just past the Arboretum. 

Like everyone who doesn't have it, I love mass transit. But perhaps the most I love San Francisco weather. Today it was a blistering 74 and sunny, while yesterday was my absolute favorite--foggy and 68. We were in Rainbow Market a few nights back and picked up the ingredients for tonight's project. Recipe below:

2 c sesame seeds
9 c rolled oats
3 c spelt
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 c wheat germ
12 oz shredded coconut
1 1/2 c sunflower seeds
3/4 c vegetable oil
1 3/4 c honey
3 tsp vanilla
bunch of slivered almonds
lots of dried cranberries
be sure to wear a flower if you have hair

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Power of the Boob Tube

Poker Disclaimer Addendum: I have offered several times to depokerize this blog. Well I guess I have to realize and admit that after five years of poker coverage in many forms there is going to be more residual content then I had anticipated. But I promise only appropriate historical references, no original content poker posts. I promise! Now has anyone got a cigarette? or a drink? crack? smack? pringles?

Meanwhile, last night ESPN showed Day 1B of the World Series of Poker main event from this year. Significantly Mike played at the feature table. In fact, never has an episode of a day one been so devoted to a single player. More importantly from my point of view was the coverage they gave to our book! Not only did Norman Chad mention the book and give a terse but favorable review, they then showed a shot of the cover.  Later in the coverage, I took Mike a stack of books and they showed him signing them for his feature tablemates. Great promotion.

Our Amazon bestseller average went from 13,000+ last night to 1,300 this morning. The power of television. And don't forget the tivo's, dvr's, and endless espn reruns still to be viewed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Digital Meandering


Twitterverse, Interweb, Digital Forest, InYourFaceBook . . . Most of the Luddites of my generation consider me an early adopter. And yet other than a page for the Matusow book, I have not as yet ventured into the time sink called FaceBook. Until today that is. I have sent out my first batch of friend invitations and will see where this goes. I figured since I am physically wandering from friend to friend on this current journey of mine, I might as well embark on a similar path in cyberspace. Also an olde acquaintance and internet critic showed me several long lost friends she had reconnected with via her short FB experiment, so I am now officially in your webface.


Twitter is a different attraction all together. The World Series of Poker was twitter infected this year with great success. For the non-poker infected among you, first I will acknowledge that my "no poker" content promise will take awhile to completely mature. So if you haven't surfed on yet, information from hundreds of poker tables is difficult and tedious to view and report on. But with a sizeable number of players twittering their own reports, the tournament coverage was much more accurate and up to date, at least for those players who were continually twittering. 

More interesting for me was the rumor control exercised by WSOP Commissioner Jeffery Pollack. The Commish (or Knish) put out over 700 twits during the Series and although most were PR and updates. He was able to comment on rumors in nearly real time. There is some surreal but inherent paranoia that leaks into a room of several thousand poker players and stomping out the first flames of ridiculous rumors gave this year's Series a more calm and less psychotic atmosphere. 

Osama and Obama should get twitter accounts--world peace 140 characters at a time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Goodbye Sonoma Hello San Francisco

I am in San Francisco now. I had to say goodbye to Sonoma in the title so I could use that really cool grape photo. After many too warm days in the north county, the fog was there this morning but I was on the way down to The City early. Of course there is complete overcast here in the Inner Sunset section of San Francisco where I am staying with Mira. I am hooked up to high speed interweb again and have a big black cat curled up beside me. So all is right in my world today.

Currently plans call for an extended stay of a week or more here. With lots of sideways visits to olde friends. My fiction work now has a working title; meaning I will never use this title but I have to call it something. So all references to the current fiction project will for now be labeled: Chautauqua in a Cube. Negotiations and conversations around a suitable non-fiction project continue.

Tomorrow, a sight for sore eyes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Windsor, CA.


I am currently in one of my favorite places in Sonoma county. Out on the ranch with Michael. One drawback: dial-up internet with shaky service at best. I won't even hook-up my laptop for fear of getting a ten year old virus.

The weather is warm, so we drove out to the ocean yesterday. Nearly forty degrees cooler at Goat Rock and then we took a spin up to Fort Ross and I got a cursory lesson in the Russian settlements in the 1840's.

This weekend there is an airshow buzzing over us, but the peace at the ranch will only be disturbed for a few hours each afternoon, and there are some very cool old planes drifting overhead. Barbeque for some of the usual suspects on Saturday evening and then I am off to San Francisco on Monday and some speedy net access. Amazing how much speed we need to communicate.

[Addendum: The brown fox kit in the picture was taken by Michael on the property this spring. For the barbeque gathering the clan of foxes put on quite a display. The kit, now mostly growth, hung out by the pond and napped under the cars while we awaited the arrival of the gang. After being scared off by the cars arriving, he came back out to everyone's delight. Then mom, dad and another yearling made an appearance in the field while we all sat around the fire pit. Quite a wild life show, with a jackrabbit and even a late night hunting owl or two.]

Monday, August 10, 2009

Green Valley, CA.

I don't know what actually was the first stop on this current journey of mine. I suppose when I gave up the condo in Las Vegas back in January was as good a place to begin as any. But the plan then was to house-sit in Sonoma for three months and then to meander back to Las Vegas for the World Series. Mission accomplished. Then the story went that I would put down roots somewhere or at least pretend by putting my name on a lease. Well the best laid plans and all that...

Instead I am going to mooch and leech off of my cadre of friends and family for another four or five months until I actually decide where to settle or until I can think of another reason not to buy a sofa and just invade another group of friends. Truth be told, I really enjoy the intimacy of friendship over several days or even weeks. In addition, I will get to have some lengthy conversations with several of my potential co-authors on future projects. The new writing goals for the remainder of 2009 are to produce one complete book proposal, ready to submit to my agent and to have a first draft of my current fiction piece ready for my gaggle of critics to peruse. 

Right now I am at Matthew's in Green Valley, doing a short cat-sit. Matthew has a great collection of house and feral cats, who have adopted him and the GV place is very peaceful. One of my pet peeves is assumptive references, like mentioning a place that most people cannot place on a map. So geographically I will be a bit more detailed than just saying: "I am here" when here is not as well known as say San Francisco or Minneapolis.

Green Valley is an area (without zipcode) between Sebastopol and Forestville in Sonoma County. Sonoma is one of the renown wine valleys of Northern California. When you leave San Francisco across the Golden Gate bridge you enter first Marin and then Sonoma County. So for now I am about 60 miles north of SF in Green Valley focused on writing and packing a car for five months on the road. Will I need mittens?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Neither Farewell, Nor Goodbye


This is my 200th blog post on this site since I began in January 2007. I thought I would use the mathematically significant milestone to announce a substantial change. With a couple of mild reservations overwhelmed by too much hard evidence -- I am getting out of poker.

For readers of this blog, who are mostly dedicated to the poker content, I thank you. You have been a great audience and I have been happy to entertain you with what I hope was a unique perspective on the world of poker. I will truly miss many of the players and staff I have come to know in the last five years. To the friends I have made in the poker media, well you know the state of our sad profession, no need to drag everyone through another litany that begins with the UIGEA and the corporate gagging of the game.

I am not shutting down the blog, in fact, I am revitalizing the content and will be writing nearly as much as I have over the last several months but with little or no poker content. I humbly invite any and all of you to continue logging in. I have two, maybe three, new writing projects going and I will be sharing progress on those with you. I am also beginning phase two of my non-domiciled travels, which I have now extended until at least the end of '09.

In laying poker aside, I am also putting the Poker Shrink to rest. But that nagging, clinical, at times insightful persona will still be around, for now let's just call him -- The Shrink. So not goodbye at all, just a shift in perspective, content and focus. I welcome all of you to Keeping Your Head in All the Games 2.0

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Momentarily Memorable Books

[Content Disclosure: Books and more books]

Otis got me going with his list of books that for whatever reason stand out in your mind. That category caveat makes it much easier to make a book list. You don't have to pick your favorites or even your ten best or most influential. This is just a list of books that stand out in my mind, books that made some kind of impression when I read them. They don't have to be classics, they don't even have to be books I would like to read again or read at all in my 2009 incarnation. But when I did have them in my hands and in my head, they left their mark. I think I am going to guesstimate the years I read them and perhaps annotate a bit.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence, Robert Prisig (I read this one in 1976). I think a lot of males in their 30's to 70's remember this book. Most of us remember it as a literary chautuaqua and for me a motivation to currently be writing my own story wrapped around a journey.

1984 George Orwell (read 1964). I have said before, this was the first book that I stayed up all night to read.

Words of My Perfect Teacher, Patrul Rinpoche (read 1997). A step on my buddhist path.

Politics Among Nations, Hans Morgentheau (read 1969). Part of my political science path.

The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli (read summer 1966). More of that political path and perhaps a bit of philosopical awakening too. Interesting (at least to me) I read Melville's Moby Dick in that same summer of 1966, it was not then memorable and I have never been able to read it again, though I have tried

Things Fall Apart, Chinaua Achebe (read 1967). Part of yet another path

Memories, Dreams and Reflections, C. G. Jung (read 1993). There are certainly more interesting works by Jung, like this collected works, but this is the one that opened my eyes to him

Catch-22, Joseph Heller (read 1966). Reading this while becoming radicalized by Vietnam was a truly out of mind experience

The Essential Rumi, Jalil al-Din Rumi and Coleman Barks. (read 1992). I don't actually know if this was the first Rumi I read, but it's a good place to start

The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, (read 1975). I know this was not the first collection I read by William Blake, but I am sure of the year and the place and the effect that Blake had and has on me.

Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein (read 1972). When Lee discovered I had not had my "sci-fi" period yet--he gave me this book, along with Dune, Moon is a Harsh Mistress and several others. After a year of intense science fiction reading I came to

Lord of the Rings, (read 1973), and several times since. Particularly interesting was the '99 reread with Linda.

Burmese Supernaturalism, Melford Spiro (read 1996). A far reaching encounter on both an academic and mystical level.

Silent Spring, Rachel Carson (1969). Just because.

Red Mars Green Mars Blue Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson (2003) How to tell a story with multiple voices.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Capitalism Begets Socialism


Imagine the average wage a bit higher and the average intelligence a bit lower but other than that this bit of dialog from Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson caught my attention this morning while I spent 2.78 hours at the Nevada DMV. Speaking of which--you know if you change the address on your driver's license and you get a sticker to put on the back with the new address. Then some time in the future you wish to change it back to the address that is already on the license, well that cannot be fathomed by the computer mediated system. I fear I no longer exist in the Silver State, but I am registered to vote in Neverland.


But back to capitalism, socialism and other fantasies:

"The average surplus value created by American workers is thirty-three dollars an hour."

Anna said: "I wonder how they define surplus value."

"Profit," Frank said.

Edgardo shook his head. "You can cook the books and get rid of profit, but the surplus value, the value created beyond the pay for labor, is still there."

Anna said, "There was a page in here that said the average American worker puts in 1,950 hours a year. I thought that was questionable too, that's forty hours a week for about forty-nine weeks."
. . .

"What's the average income?" Edgardo asked. "Thirty thousand?"

"Maybe less," Frank said.

"Call it thirty, and what's the average taxes paid?"

"About ten? Or is it less?"

Edgardo said, "Call it ten. So let's see. You work every day of the year, except for three lousy weeks. You create around a hundred thousand dollars. Your boss takes two thirds, and give you one third, and you give a third of that to the government. Your government uses what it takes to build all the roads and schools and police and pensions, and you boss takes his share and buys a mansion on an island somewhere. So naturally you complain about your bloated inefficient Big Brother of a government, and you always vote for the pro-owner party."

He grinned at Frank and Anna. "How stupid is that?"

I know. Too simplistic, the bosses take all the risks. Socialism doesn't work; Capitalism does (see Federal Financial Institutions Bailout, Sept. 2008). Be kind, I was into my third hour at the DMV, the man next to me was reading Super System II.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Health Care: 80% or eighty percent?

.
In the midst of all the words about health care reform, you have probably heard a survey quoted that says that "80% of Americans are satisfied with the quality of health care coverage they are receiving." That tidbit of information has been used by literally thousands of opponents of health care reform to bolster their position that reform is not needed, despite the fact that we all know such a position is absurd. In fact, in that same survey, when asked how they felt about the overall cost of health care more than three out of four said it was too high and they were dissatisfied with that part of the health care system. So 80% are satisfied but more than three-quarters are unsatisfied. All of this numerical sound and fury comes from a CNN telephone poll conducted March 11th-15th, before the health care reform legislation even hit congress, a total of 1,019 adults were surveyed.

Now we all know deep in our coronary chambers and right on surface of our cerebellum that surveys and statistics are generally abused and misused by media pundits and other talking heads to bolster there political positions, even when the numbers really don't say what they say they say. Right? So, here are a couple of observations of this virtual 80% of all Americans.

-Did you know that nearly 46 million Americans or 18% of the population under 65 had no health care coverage in 2007, the latest census data available.
-The largest increase in uninsured since 2007 has been in working age adults, who have lost their jobs and their health insurance benefits.

One has to wonder if 18% of the population under 65 has no health insurance, how can 80% of the population be satisfied with their coverage? Perhaps a disproportionate number of those over 65 are home to answer phone surveys. The 18% are out looking for a job. Also notice that the survey only takes answers from adults and does not consider if their lack of or loss of coverage effects any children.

Here are few more statistical "facts" that might inform the health care debate:

-80% of those with health insurance of some kind do not use the health care system in any given year. Might we not assume that many of those "satisfied" with their coverage are simply happy to have any coverage at all and have not actually interacted with the health care system?
-of those who use the health care system, most adults between the ages of 21-45, only see their physician for an annual check-up or a prescription renewal visit.
-"annual" doctor visits for check-ups on average happen about every 21 months.

We have to assume then that of those surveyed to come up with the "80% satisfied" statistic, easily more than half did not use the health care system at all in the past year and those that did may have seen their doctor for less than 7.2 minutes (the average doctor-patient interface in another survey). When was the last time seven minutes was actually satisfying to you?

Finally, some hard facts and other questions about where our health care dollars actually go.

-80% of health expenses go to senior citizens and the chronically ill, which probably means those are the people we should be asking about the quality of health care. Care to guess how "satisfied" they are?
-wouldn't we get more useful survey results if we asked these questions of people leaving a doctor's office or a hospital or better yet survey patients in the hospital?
-no one wants to talk about the huge expense of "end of life" health care. Yet medical professionals who deal with the costs of the system know full well that we spend a huge proportion of medical costs on ineffective treatment in order to show compassion. End of life health care often causes such severe side effects that the treatment diminishes rather than enhances quality of life.

I leave you with no answers but a quote from a physician friend of mine on the issue of end of life health care expenditures:

"Family rather than the patient are often those who demand we 'do everything' for a terminal patient. They want their loved one around as long as possible. Yet our interventions at most extend the life of perhaps one in every twenty patients and very often, too often, that extra time is spent in a fog of confusion and even pain because of the side effects of our medical interventions. We waste money sure, but more importantly we destroy the quality of our patients final days."