Another one of those “almost happened”

Jim Kelly, ‘Enter the Dragon’ star, dies at 67

The “almost” is that he approached me to build an e-commerce web site for him a few years back. He was looking to sell autographed photos of himself from his movie roles.,0,852055.story

A Death, Unnoticed

After living in the same place for a long period, one gets attuned to the rhythms, sounds, and patterns–both small and large–of neighbors, birds, traffic, bugs. At precisely 7am every weekday, the children next door will come out of their apartment and yell back “Bye Mom.” The gardeners will be firing up mowers and blowers every Monday morning. The landlady’s kitchen radio will be playing NPR twenty-four seven, to no particular audience. And she will be humming the same bar of music–over and over again–as she goes about her day and night. I know that she will leave the house many days at dinnertime and return late in the evening for reasons I would learn only after.

I had known her as downstairs neighbor and landlady for the six years I had lived in a grand apartment, identical in layout, above hers. To me, she was the quirky elderly lady. At times sweet, at others, irascible. Occasionally she would regale me with her stories of “old boy’s clubs” and “vengeful agents” out to destroy her reputation, to which I could only listen politely.

At one time in her life, she had been a vibrant and respected psychologist. But like many who skirt the depths of brilliance, there were demons. Her practice was sometimes unorthodox, crossing that perceived line of acceptability, as was evidenced by establishment blow back she incurred. It was one of those events that set her on a long and, eventually, fruitless journey to redeem her name and reputation–down a road of isolation surrounded by an overbearing need to be heard while she simultaneously buried herself in her surroundings. Continue reading A Death, Unnoticed

Cassie the rescue dog

As part of my ongoing volunteer work with The Mutt Movement, I foster dogs that we pull from shelters until they are adopted. Some are big, most small. Some young, some old. Some quite ill (we nurse them back to health before putting them up for adoption), and some quite spunky.

Cassie, the doggie burrito
This week’s (well, it’s been a couple of weeks now) rescue pup is named Cassie. She’s a six year’s old Chihuahua mix. She’s a bit timid, but coming out of her shell now that she’s gotten used to the house pooch (Lucky, a 75 pound, Boxer/Pit Bull who was rescued 11 years ago by my roommate…and a lucky dog she is!). She purrs like a cat when you pet her and snores like a freight train when she sleeps.
People ask me how I keep from getting attached to these fosters when I have them for more than a few days. It’s not always easy. One stayed with me for a year before finding a permanent home with a great friend out in the dessert. I had the dog of my dreams for 16 years and know she will never be replaced. By helping out these few unwanted dogs that I have the honor of fostering until they find loving homes of their own, I get all the doggie love and satisfaction I need.

Why I’ll miss Edward Woodward

“Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer.”

equalizerThe opening montage was classic fear and distress – people alone with menacing strangers in elevators, empty hallways, or deserted subway stations – paired with a memorable theme written by Stewart Copeland of the Police.

This show had to be one of my favorites of the mid to late ’80s. I was living in NYC at the time, so all of the locations were familiar (and they often shot in my grungy Lower East Side neighborhood). As I remember, the show’s casting was like a crime drama version of the Love Boat, with cameos by actors old and new from both the big and small screens (and occasionally Broadway). It was a smartly written show, with a cast of interesting and flawed characters.

Since these were pre-TiVo days, we would always try to be home on Wednesday nights to watch it…usually with dinner in our laps as we parked in front of the TV. Our game was to be the first to identify that week’s guest star, then marvel at Woodward’s combination of charm and deadly intent.

Check out the opening…

Cutting Through the Bull of the Universal Healthcare Debate

Rhonda Hackett, writing in the Denver Post, neatly debunks the cost arguments against Canadian-style Universal Healthcare in her article “Debunking Canadian health care myths”.

”…if the only way we compared the two systems was with statistics, there is a clear victor. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to dispute the fact that Canada spends less money on health care to get better outcomes.

As America comes to grips with the reality that changes are desperately needed within its health care infrastructure, it might prove useful to first debunk some myths about the Canadian system.

Myth: Taxes in Canada are extremely high, mostly because of national health care.

In actuality, taxes are nearly equal on both sides of the border. Overall, Canada’s taxes are slightly higher than those in the U.S. However, Canadians are afforded many benefits for their tax dollars, even beyond health care (e.g., tax credits, family allowance, cheaper higher education), so the end result is a wash. At the end of the day, the average after-tax income of Canadian workers is equal to about 82 percent of their gross pay. In the U.S., that average is 81.9 percent.

Myth: Canada’s health care system is a cumbersome bureaucracy.

The U.S. has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, etc. The provincial single-payer system in Canada operates with just a 1 percent overhead. Think about it. It is not necessary to spend a huge amount of money to decide who gets care and who doesn’t when everybody is covered.

Read the entire article…