Thursday, June 25, 2009

SpongeBob Squarepants, MD

Your child returns home from a couple of hours of playing at a friend's house. He walks past you as you're putting the final touches on his favorite meal, Macaroni and Cheese.

"Hey kiddo, glad to see you're back home. Did you have a good time at Billy's house?" you ask.

"Yeah, but I'm not feeling so great" he responds as he slowly walks by.

"Okay, well, you'd better wash up because I'm making Mac and Cheese tonight!" your expectation is that this, if nothing else, will make Tommy a bit more animated...

Then you hear the words which send a shockwave of fear through your very soul, "Nah, I'm not really hungry, I think I'll just go ahead and go to sleep after I take a shower.

"You stare at the child realizing that he has either been:
a.) Taken over by lactose-intolerant space aliens,
b.) Eaten an entire frozen pizza at Billy's and is afraid to tell you about it, or
c.) Your child, your pride and joy, the heir to the throne, is getting 'sick'.

"Hey Dude, come on in here for a minute, I want to take a look at you" you request in a serious, yet friendly voice.

"Dad, I'm really tired, I just want to go to bed" he says this sheepishly but moves towards you nonetheless.

You look at little Tommy and realize that he does look tired and his cheeks are a bit 'flushed'. "Tommy, I think you might be coming down with something, what do you say we check it out?"

"Oh, come on Dad, I'm just tired, that's all. Can't I just get cleaned up and go to bed?" he asks pleadingly.

"No Tommy. We need to get you cleaned up and then we need to take your temperature to see if you have a fever. You look a little 'pink' to me, and I need to see if your temp is actually up or if you were just playing too hard at Billy's house.

"The creases in your son's face are erased as you detect the first sign of hope that maybe, just maybe, this won't be so bad at all.

"Okay Dad, but, but, butt, can we call SpongeBob Squarepants, MD?"

"Sure pal, let's dive into the old medicine cabinet and pull Dr. Squarepants out... I'll get the KY!" You say this as the concerns of the prior five minutes waft away like a half-remembered dream.

"Dad?" Tommy asks.

"Yes son" you reply.

"Can we have music tonight?" he asks.

"Dude, you can have all the music you want -- although it may be a bit muffled for a minute..."

"Thanks Dad, you're the best!"

(Dad thinkingto himself: "No Tommy. SpongeBob Squarepants is the best! But YOU'RE second-best!)

And now, the Rest of the Story...
The folks at Becton and Dickenson Medical (trusted since 1897!) have created the ultimate in children's temperature taking equipment (CTTE): The SpongeBob Squarepants Digital Thermometer!

Yes, it's true, now Patrick's (the cross-dressing StarFish) BFF can be you and your child's MFF (Medical Friend Forever) too! Don't believe me? Well then, check it out!


Not wanting anyone to be senselessly injured in not knowing the correct procedures for using this, or I'm assuming, ANY digital thermometer, please accept the following instructions, courtesy of the BD website:


Oral Method:Place thermometer probe under tongue. Probe tip should rest in "correct area" as shown in diagram. Hold the thermometer in the same spot under your tongue with your mouth closed.

Underarm (Axillary) Method:
(Alternative method for babies or very young children. Although simpler, the axillary method is less accurate and takes longer.)

Make sure the underarm is dry and there is no material between the chest and arm. Point the thermometer upward and place the tip well into the patient's underarm. Fold patient's arm over chest to hold the thermometer in place and keep air away from the underarm.

Many people find hugging the child while taking the temperature helps assure it is taken correctly and also comforts the child. When using this method, hold the thermometer securely in place for 4 minutes (ignore beeps).

Rectal Method:
(Recommended for babies or very young children who breathe through their mouth)

Lubricate the tip of the thermometer with a water soluble jelly such as K-Y® Jelly. Do not use petroleum jelly. The patient should lie on his/her side, knees slightly bent. If the patient is a baby, place the infant on its stomach with legs hanging down, either across your knees or at the edge of a bed or changing table. This positions the baby's rectum properly for safe and easy insertion of the thermometer.

With one hand, gently slide the tip of the thermometer no more than 1/2 inch into the rectum. If you detect resistance of any kind, STOP. Hold thermometer in place during temperature measurement. Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally, for sanitary reasons.

Please take a moment to allow that last line to sink in...

Your Moos of the Day blog -- Always looking out for you. (Sorry O'Reilly)

Thanks to my son, Jon (not Tommy), who found the above video link and thought it would be funny to include here.

I am so proud of him...


Monday, June 15, 2009

Ask Not For Whom the Card AARPs -- It AARPs For Me...

It's h-e-r-e ("Stay away from the light Michael James, stay away from the light")!

There are no bodies popping out of the ground in the back yard (we bury 'em deep here in Vestal). But, as I type this, I see the AARP card application on the dining room table 'winking' at me through its little plastic casket of an envelope.
Being up for a mystery on a Monday morning, I decided to open said casket and determine what 'horrors' awaited me. I opened the casket and the bones fell out. The folks at AARP were nice enough to include a Temporary Membership Card (I guess they figure that 'time's a wastin' and I need all the benefits I can get, as SOON as I can get them, now that I've turned the BIG 5-0.) Or maybe, they're getting it to me early so I'll remember getting it -- while I still 'get it'.

Whatever the reason, the American Association of RETIRED People believes that I should be a member of their fine organization.But I'm left here wondering... Why?

a.) I AM an American citizen (now that that pesky Homeland Security 'Audit' is completed)

b.) I AM associated with other people by virtue of my employment.

c.) I AM a 'people' (I need to rather loosely define the word 'people' since other than sharing DNA with some other folks on the planet, I don't really know anyone else quite like me -- this, for all of your sakes, is a good thing)

d.) But (and this butt is HUGE), I am NOT retired.

So, how can I belong to an organization for which I don't even meet the components of the NAME of the organization?

This, I believe, requires more in-depth research...WHY should I become a member (according to the cover letter (which also doubles curiously as an Invoice))?

1.) AARP is fighting for MY American Dream! (Whoa, what a lofty goal!)
2.) AARP offers information and resources (A 'magazine')
3.) AARP discounts on travel and other services (But I don't GO anywhere...)
4.) AARP access to health-related benefits (Benefits I can BUY as a member)
5.) AARP access to financial programs (Benefits I can BUY as a member (i.e.: Motorcycle insurance -- yeah, like I'll need THAT...))
6.) AARP community programs and services (Safe driving course and 'volunteer opportunities'! But, I 'volunteer' now... Would I have to get this approved by the AARP in the future?)

So for $16 per year ($43 for three years OR $$63 for five years) I too can be a card-carrying AARP member!

But here's the thing (there's always a 'thing' isn't there?): AARP is MOSTLY a lobbying organization. (Although their lobbying efforts are sometimes deferred while they sell eye, life, health, dental, motorcycle, and other 'group insurance policies' to their members.)

And according to the folks at Wikipedia: "Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus founded AARP in 1958. AARP evolved from the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA), which Andrus had established in 1947 to promote her philosophy of productive aging, and in response to the need of retired teachers for health insurance. After ten years, Andrus opened the organization to all Americans over 50, creating AARP.

Today, NRTA is a division within AARP. According to Andy Rooney, AARP was established by insurance salesman Leonard Davis in 1958, after he met Ethel Percy Andrus. Ms. Andrus was at the time helping teachers get health insurance through the National Retired Teachers Association. According to Rooney, Davis saw the opportunity to sell medical insurance to the elderly rather than just retired teachers and for that purpose put in $50,000 establishing AARP.
According to Rooney, Davis established the Colonial Penn Insurance Co. in order to control AARP, selling millions of dollars in insurance to its members through advertisings in AARP's magazine Modern Maturity and for several years Colonial Penn Insurance Co. became one of the most profitable in the U. S.

In 1978, after a 60 Minutes report exposé, AARP got rid of Colonial Penn Insurance Co. and signed up with Prudential Insurance Co.[3]"

Super -- a teachers union and insurance company joined together to create AARP? Two of my favorite things - joined genetically by a single philosophical premise: To take money from old people (like me)...

That's just wrong.

Borrowing a few words from GROUCHO MARX:
"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member..." and,
"Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough. "

Thursday, June 11, 2009


A few weeks ago I wrote a post entitled "Clink, Clank, Clunk" regarding the efforts of the House of Representatives' to get YOU a piece of the TARP bailout billions. Yesterday, the House (MOTTO: "There's Nooo Money Like Your Money, Like Nooo Money We Blow") approved a bill by a vote of 298 - 119 which would, in effect, give you money which, in actuality, the government 'doesn't have'.

Q.: Mike, why would the government want to give me money to buy a new car?
A.: To encourage you to buy a GM or Chrysler vehicle to protect the $50Billion they've already pumped into those two companies to keep them from failing.

Q.: Why were GM and Chrysler and GM failing?
A.: Because GM and Chrysler have made inferior products (when compared to the Japanese, Korean, and a certain American Auto Maker smart enough NOT to take bail-out money) and have on average an embedded cost of $1,700 per vehicle manufactured to pay for UAW (United Auto Workers) healthcare and benefit costs. ($1,700 PER vehicle of 'overhead' prior to ever paying for a single 'bolt' -- Sing with me now: "Look for the Union Label...")

Q.: So, are GM and Chrysler financially stable now?
A.: No. However, analysts are expecting you (oh, sorry, I meant the 'Federal Government') to pump in an additional, meager, $50 BILLION into both companies by the end of calendar 2009.

Q.: Umm, that doesn't sound good at all, does it?
A.: No. And don't ask any more annoying questions which you already know the answers to.

Q.: Will I be able to get money if I buy a new car, truck, or van?
A.: Yes, provided it gets better gas mileage than the vehicle you are driving today. (Your old 'clunker')

Q.: How much money will I get, and how much better mileage would I need to get in a new vehicle to qualify for the TARP Lotto?
A.: Under the guidelines of the current bill approved yesterday, you would receive $3,500 for purchasing a car which, on average, gets 4 or more miles per gallon than the vehicle you're trading in. If the vehicle gets 10 or more miles per gallon, you will receive a $4,500 hand-out (I, of course, mean 'incentive') from Uncle Sam.

Q.: Why is Congress doing this?
A.: There is a three-part answer to this very pesky question:
1. Because it's not their money
2. To stimulate new vehicle sales for GM and Chrysler
3. To SAVE the planet (and life as we know it)

Q.: But would I get a hand-out (incentive) if I purchased a non-GM or non-Chrysler vehicle?
A.: Umm, yes

Q.: Have GM and Chrysler designed new vehicles, re-negotiated labor contracts, and in general, lowered their associated manufacturing costs to be more competitive with Japanese manufacturers, or even (gasp!) Ford Motor Company? I guess what I'm wondering is... has anything changed with these two companies since they took their FIRST $50Billion from us? And are there any provisions on the next $50Billion they're expecting to receive?
A.: Again, please stop asking questions which you already know the answers to...

Q.: O-k-a-y. So how does this bill result in the sale of more cars for GM and Chrysler?
A.: It doesn't, but it will SAVE the planet!

Q.: Because, all things being equal, I'm buying a Japanese, Ford, or other 'off-shore' branded vehicle with higher gas mileage and lower initial cost. This wouldn't help GM or Chrysler, would it?
A.: No, but remember the planet! It will be saved!

Q.: Yeah, right.
A.: (Ding-ding-ding) I'm sorry, but you must state your inquiry in the 'Form of a question', please.

Q.: Assuming that these incentives are made available to me, can I get financing for a new vehicle?
A.: Is your credit excellent?

Q.: I've got a credit score of around 620. Is that considered 'excellent'?
A.: Ah, no.

Q.: Well, how can I pay for the car if I don't get financing?
A.: You will need to call the White House and apply for a federally-insured: "I need a new car but can't buy one because my credit isn't great and the economy is in the dumper and no one in DC seems to care and all they do is spend more money they don't have AND I can't improve my credit score by getting a better job because the economy is still in recession 'cause the Stimulus Bill didn't fix anything" loan.

Q.: Can you repeat that for me? My pen just ran out of ink.
A.: No. Just call the White House and tell them you want money.

Q.: Is it really that easy?
A.: Yeah. It's easy when it's not YOUR money you're giving away in the first place.

Q.: What will this CARS Act (Clunker Bill) cost this year?
A.: In U.S. dollars? Or, in Canadian dollars?

Q.: Do I look like I'm from Canada?
A.: Well, you don't look like an American. You don't appear to be 'needy' enough...

Q.: Come on, what's the number?!?
A.: This year the House is projecting the Clunker Bill payouts to run about $4Billion.

Q.: So will the White House spend $4Billion less on the payouts to GM and Chrysler this year? Since it's being spent on their behalf anyway?
A.: Ha, ha, ha, you are one funny guy! No, they'll spend that money too. Doing the Math in my head, that'll be approximately $72Billion in US dollars.

Q.: But didn't you say it was $50Billion PLUS $4Billion, wouldn't that be $54Billion?
A.: We're talking about the government here. You forgot the seed capital for the new "Gas From Cows" Bill. And before you ask, it's really long tube to collect 'Gas from Cows' to power electrical generators and...

Q.: Save the planet?
A.: Exactly!

Q.: Does the Federal Government have it? You know, the money?
A.: The presses are rolling as I type this.

Q.: Sigh
A.: No, that's incorrect, correct question was 'Sigh?'

For an overview of this Boondoggle in the making, here's the article I found on this morning... Clunk