I could never write a textbook. They usually talk equally about three or four different approaches one might take depending on one's theoretical orientation or whatever. I'd only want to write about the approach that's right.

And I actually hate textbooks full of zealous crap about how there's only one way to do things. So I'd end up writing a really bad textbook.

(And of course this kind of thinking always leads me to get in the endless-thought-loop where I first think that this is why I prefer to read or conduct research rather than be involved with theoretical material most of the time, but then again, there are a lot of things that perfectly rational people including me endorse that aren't proven by sound research, like how it hasn't been particularly proven that psychotherapy of any sort actually works better than anything else, but we certainly have enough narrative accounts that it has been hugely helpful to many people, but this involves variables that are pretty much impossible to quantify, like how the relationship between client and therapist has to be one that works, and all the training in the world can't make that happen when it's not meant to, so then why exactly is it that I prefer there to be solid research backing up claims?)

Etiquette question

Does anyone still know that putting your silverware across your plate
means you're finished? Servers don't seem to most of the time.

The argument that you'll pay for your own healthcare instead of getting insurance doesn't work

I've been hearing on various radio shows and reading in papers and blogs that a lot of people don't want mandated insurance like most of the civilized world has, because they'll pay for anything that happens to them, even if it means going into debt. Some are saying that they set aside as much money as insurance would cost. Either way, the logic doesn't fully work, and you're still a freeloader.

I'll blame part of this on the societal attitudes that contribute to invisibility of people with disabilities, but the people who are saying this just really haven't done any research. Sure, people in some lines of work could pay off the costs of a broken leg, or eventually pay off cancer treatment. Even so, I'm guessing most of these people haven't even seen the hospital bills for this sort of thing. Inflated hospital costs aside, it costs a couple grand just to walk into an ER. My hand surgery that took about half an hour was in the tens of thousands. Yes, these kinds of bills fall into the "payable" category for many people.

All of this assumes that these people aren't ever going to acquire a disability that doesn't allow them to work. Unless you're one of the very richest people in this country, you don't currently have enough money saved up to pay for all your expenses for the next 20 or 60 years while you're living in a group home and taking a fistfull of meds every day that sometimes are successful in allowing you to form a coherent sentence or functionally complete a task.

Some of these people say that if they got in a horrendous accident and needed life support, they'd kill themselves. Putting aside how most of them can't possibly mean this and just don't want to part with their precious paycheck, most acquired disabilities don't involve long-term dependence on any sort of life support that one can opt to remove. If someone sustains a brain injury and can't work or live independently, there are absolutely no sorts of living wills or legal orders, pre-existing or not, that allow an individual or his/her guardian to choose to kill the person. A guardian also can't decide that someone without basic life skills can leave a facility and go wander around in traffic. The courts will decide that this isn't in the best interest of the person. You know those mumbling incoherent people wandering the streets panhandling? Those are the higher-functioning of the people who have brain injuries and/or psychotic disorders. Those are the people who have enough ability to eat and keep safe so that they're legal competent to choose to refuse treatment. A lot of people who have acquired disabilities aren't in any place to choose. But more importantly, if people really had good information about the disabilities they could possibly acquire, I really don't think very many of them would say that they'd prefer that if they get in a car accident, they aren't fed or bathed or provided with any sort of activities, since they don't believe in being part of the healthcare system.

Interesting post about accessible parking placards

Which starts out being about Suffolk County Sheriffs abusing accessible spots, then devolves into commenters thinking that people with disabilities shouldn't have parking rights.

Delores Handy word of the day


Delores Handy word of the day

"eight puont eight"

Delores Handy word of the day

"to secede the late senator"

Where can I find a level surface?

I'm trying to calibrate a digital level, and doing this entails
setting it on a perfectly level surface. Of course, if I could tell
which surfaces were perfectly level, I wouldn't need this damn thing
in the first place. Is there something really obvious I'm overlooking?
Or will i need to revert to the sorts of disasters I'm envisioning
involving balancing it on a seesawlike contraption or trying to set it
on the surface of water?

Delores Handy word of the day

Tossup between "assident" and "former heroin attic"

You money people are so weird

These new guidelines on issuing credit and whatnot are so arbitrarily interpreted by various lenders. To give some background, we have a lot of debt compared to income, but obviously don't take on debt we can't handle, as evidenced by never having a late payment on anything ever. We had paid our couple of loans way down, but then just accrued a huge amount of debt due to the house needing to be replumbed and the furnace needing replacing within one month. The value of these things gets added to the house value in the long run of course, but until we sell the house (not planning to do this) or refinance it (likely will do this), it looks like we just have a lot of unsecured debt.

One of my credit cards, which has a small balance, sends me a letter every month telling me they've decreased the credit limit to just above my balance, due to their new stricter credit standards. OK, fine with me, but do you really need to waste your time and energy and money ensuring that customers who never miss a payment don't use available credit to pay more interest and fees to your business?

When we got the loan to do the work on the house, the plumbing and mechanical company's financial person tried various companies and types of loans, and I inquired about the open lines of credit that I have but haven't used. One bank *cough*BankofAmerica*cough* wouldn't give us a thing, and the inquiry prompted them to close the unused line of credit I have, due to my current status as a high-risk customer. Right. Other banks, like Wells Fargo, gave us a shit-ton of credit at really good rates, saying that we had excellent credit history and were obviously people who pay our bills.

Once the loan showed up on our credit reports, one of the banks *cough*BankofAmerica*cough* sent me a letter saying they'd reduced the limit on my (paid off every month) card with them, because I've taken out debt I obviously don't have the means to pay off. Similarly, except totally not, Wainwright Bank sent me a letter saying that upon reviewing recent changes to my credit report, they've substantially increased the credit limit on my account and offered me a great balance transfer or cash advance rate.

(And now of course, just as happens every time I talk about money, my blog is going to show google ads for payday loans and sketchy "credit repair" places. Oh well, maybe a Bank of America ad will show up and tons of people will click through so they can go get rejected for loans, and then Bank of America will pay me and I can use the money to pay lenders who aren't them!)

SUNNAN solar-powered lamps from IKEA are awesome (and support two great causes)

Started June 1, 2009, for every SUNNAN solar-powered lamp sold in IKEA stores worldwide, one lamp will be given to UNICEF to light up the life of a child.

The lamps are really awesome-looking, come in five great colors, and they work really well. We've put the solar thingy on a table near a window facing our (wooded, not very sunny) backyard, and it charged up and the light works great, as seen here. It has a good base on it, so it's freestanding in a number of positions. It's also lightweight and sturdy so it could be used as a flashlight. Best of all, it's good for the planet, and it helps kids in developing nations. Granted, this product contains a lot of petroleum products much like most things from IKEA, but it has no carbon footprint after it's made, and the company is about as socially responsible as they can be while still using a lot of petroleum products. The flat-pack boxes save energy to transport, they make sure not to use sweatshop or other exploitative types of labor, and most of their natural materials are renewable. I still think that the amount we consume and where it goes after we're done using it make a huge impact, and are things any of us can do even if IKEA is all we can afford in terms of when we do need to buy new things.

Chives hate me

I can't seem to grow chives. I know that they're basically a weed, and people say to grow them in pots so they don't take over the whole yard. But mine just won't grow. Every time I plant them, I end up with one skinny pale chive. It doesn't matter whether I plant them inside, outside, on the deck, in full sun, in partial sun, in the dark; they don't freakin' grow. I have all these weird dead pots all over the place with one wilted chive lying there.

I also suck at growing spearmint. Which, yes, is also a weed. I do fine growing catnip -- also a mint, but a less hardy one -- inside a house occupied by four cats. But spearmint won't even grow to the point that it has leaves on it.

I seem to be able to grow more difficult things just fine. I got a ton of giant delicious tomatoes this year while most people's didn't produce anything. Also cantaloupes, eggplants, tons of huge zucchinis, and a bunch of other herbs and veggies.

Why do chives hate me?

Delores Handy weird inconsistency of the day

"Thursdee and Friday"

People, telling kids to stay in school isn't political

Seriously? People protesting the president telling kids to stay in

When I was in school, we wrote letters to Reagan. We got letters back
telling us to, yes, stay in school and keep reading. I don't recall
any protesting. I'm in favor of any president delivering this message.
It shouldn't have anything to do with their other views.

I posted too soon

She just called DeutscheBank "Dutch bank."

Delores Handy word of the day


Delores Handy word of the day

Again, nothing terribly impressive today, aside from a couple of really well rounded "puont"s.

So I'll go with "sevenTEES" since there were a lot of them in the forecast, and no two were quite alike.

I'm glad the guy was OK, but really

This morning I was driving down Morrissey Blvd. just past the Shell station about to take the right turn onto Victory Rd (right before the CVS). Over on the right shoulder in the brush I saw two legs with bare feet on the ends of them sticking up out of the brush, and a baby stroller lying on its back with only the bottom visible. I slammed on the brakes and went to check, thinking I was going to find a diabetic dad or some hit-and-run carnage or something. Instead, a middle-aged somewhat disheveled guy was lying splayed across the ground in the brush there with his head up against a tree in what looked like an uncomfortable angle, and the stroller contained duffel bags and some bags of cans. "Are you OK?" I asked the guy? "Yeah sister, I'm fine, just enjoyin' the day...thanks!" The guy was obviously a person with chronic mental illness, but seemed perfectly stable and not under the influence of anything. But really, there are some great parks and beaches nearby, or shady bars or alleys if one prefers. I wonder why this guy's hangout of choice was lying in the gutter looking like a dumped body.


Not completely mature obviously, but definitely has edible flesh.

Today's harvest

The cantaloupe was a forced harvest since it had broken off the vine.
We'll see if it's any good.

Still three zucchinis, several dozen tomatoes, two cantaloupe and a
buttload of eggplant that aren't quite ready.

Delores Handy word of the day

Nothing terribly awesome today, so I'll just go with the "Fur-eye-dee"
and "yunniversity" that've happened at least once each today.

Excessive customer service at Fort Point post office

I just went and used the automated postal thingy, you know, to avoid
dealing with people, and this postal employee was stationed at the
thing (while there was a long line inside) and she would not stop
"helping" me. I told her several times I was fine and didn't need
help. She kept telling me what button to press (and was wrong a couple
of the times) and took my remaining mail out of my other hand and
insisted on holding it for me. Aarrrggghh!

MassHealth no longer covering treatment for acne

I was just told by someone with a teenager that MassHealth has stopped
covering the teen's prescription acne medication, since they view it
as a cosmetic treatment. I suppose it is, technically, since it
doesn't cause serious physiological harm even when people get
infections from it. Still, did they not consider the mental health
aspects? Teenagers are really cruel to each other about this stuff,
especially in the case of kids like this one, who has mild MR and is
in regular classes. He's already a teasing magnet.

I'm guessing the decision is solely financial -- a medication that's
commonly used and could be cut without a huge outrage that kids will
be dying in the streets or anything. Because it's not rational from
any other standpoint; they still cover repairs to "cosmetic"
disfigurements that are either congenital or a clear result of
disease. They even cover plastic surgery to revise injury scars that
healed badly. It would be interesting to see if this would apply to
acne scars; probably not, but interesting to toy with the idea of
MassHealth covering expensive repair of disfigurement that resulted
from MassHealth not paying for a cheaper-than-surgery medication.

Delores Handy word of the day


Yay Vermont!