Monday, October 09, 2006

Columbus Day

Started the day with an uncharacteristic burst of energy. Made a pot of coffee and some toast, took care of laundry, then turned my attention the Dylan contest. Checked Drew’s standings. A guy who came on-line yesterday is now the leader, "obviously cheating". (He’s a systems guy.)

Tried to find a way to compete by creating some shortcuts and tag-teaming with Jeff. We logged another few hundred votes, but actually found ourselves losing ground against the leader. "Scumbag!"

I wrote an e-mail to the newspaper to complain that the "newcomer" apparently found a way to beat the system. (He clearly cannot be adhering to the rules, as we were!)

Jeff "needed" to make a run to "Costco" in Burlington. One of those places I love to hate. Riding in the car with him, we're plugged into his "life's playlist", which he has loaded onto an "iPod" (thousands of songs!) The "iPod" plugs right into the Pilot's sound system.

So, I have to listen to stuff I've heard (at least) hundreds of times. For me, it creates negativity. The constant media barrage causes a tension. The habit of having music constantly playing cheapens it. It’s degraded in our culture to background noise. We should choose to hear music, not be constantly bombarded by it.

So, that was the internal conversation, though I probably didn't mention a word about it to Jeff.

We actually played a game – "name that tune". It is a sad commentary that, having "listened" to this crap for so long (some of it over 50 years!) we can name many of the songs within the first three or four notes.

First order of business at "Costco": hot dogs! We sat in their industrial dining area with our dogs and watched the shoppers checking out. I'm impressed. People here are not as rotund as at a typical "Cracker Barrel". I would have expected a similar "profile".

Jeff bought about 30 pounds of Halloween candy. (Just doing our part to help "round out America!") I got a couple bottles of wine for Priscilla. One was a 2003 Robert Mondavi Cabernet (which I purchased despite an internal protest.)

Back in Waterbury, checked the weather forecast. Dramatic changes expected toward week’s end.

Called Drew to talk about the contest, while Jeff and I laughingly continued to vote on-line. Midstream, the counts disappeared! The paper apparently decided to conceal the counts for the final 24 hours. Drew suspects this will allow the paper to make a judgment on their own, perhaps even disregarding the (corrupted) vote tallies. (How could people be so dishonest!)

Finished laundry, then sat in front of the TV. The constant stream of pharmaceutical commercials would shock anyone not totally inured to them. If these are any indication, we must be the sickest society on the planet!

We like to talk about exercising individual responsibility in this country, and against "big government". Voters must be responsible. Consumers must be responsible. At what point does a society share responsibility for a culture of permissiveness and laissez faire when it comes to our addiction to junk food, drugs, alcohol, sex and gambling, which well serves corporate greed?

How is it that we tolerate pharmaceutical companies spending billions of dollars to market drugs directly to consumers, rather than to the doctors whose job it is to prescribe the appropriate medication for their patient? The pharmaceutical companies know that doctors will eventually give in to patients' "demands" for their product, even if it's not the best course.

Where is the responsibility?

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