Don't You Just Love American Dental Care?

Many Americans fear going to the dentist, but it's not always the pain they fear.  The biggest fear is the cost of dental treatment.  Sometimes we see people with obviously missing, broken, or crooked teeth and automatically think they are low class or indigent. That is until we have to go to the dentist for a problem ourselves.  Many of us have dental insurance through our employer or personal private insurance.  But that only covers a certain amount per year, usually $1200 a year.

Our insurance is fine for cleanings, x-rays, the occasional filling, and possibly a root canal, but that's it. But what happens if we need a crown, a bridge or God forbid an implant?  Then we're sunk.  Employer dental plans don't cover those kinds of dental care.  They're not usually covered by private insurance plans either. And if you are retired, you have neither employer-sponsored dental insurance nor insurance through Medicare.  
The other day I had an appointment for a consultation with a prosthodontist which was recommended by my regular dentist.  I have some missing molars which make it difficult to wear a bridge and my bite changes.  Reluctantly I agreed to this appointment because my dentist thought my insurance might cover any recommended work.  On the day of the appointment, I put the address into my auto's GPS and went on my way. As I turned off the main highway towards my destination my initial reluctance began to be justified.  I entered an area populated with stately oak trees and well-manicured lawns surrounding impressive-looking office suites.  There were probably 15 such buildings within this forested office complex.  As I looked for my final goal, I could see employee parking lots with the occasional  Corvette Stingray, Maserati, Lamborghini, and numerous Lexus and Mercedes.  I remember saying out loud, "holy shit, this is going to cost me."

Upon arrival at the prosthodontist's office, I was immediately taken into the exam room.  When the dentist asked what he could do for me I told him that I didn't expect he could help me, but the appointment was my general dentist's idea.  He then proceeded with the exam and studied the x-rays I had brought with me. He jotted down some notes and then gave me his opinion of what could be done for me.  Then he gave me the cost!

He told me I had 2 options, one was doing just enough to improve my bite a little with a couple of implants and the other option was to fully restore my bite with more implants. The first option was $32,000 and the second option was $115, 000!  I laughed and said, "no way in hell"!  He then said that the only other option was to suggest my dentist make a mouthguard to wear at night which would prevent further damage to my teeth.  The cost would be up to my dentist and it probably would be covered by my insurance. 

As I was driving back home I wasn't disappointed or depressed as I knew that dental care in this country sucked, unless you're wealthy.  If you're a senior citizen or poor you can look forward to a life of liquid diets or gumming your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners!  You gotta love "merican dental care!

You might like a similar article I wrote on expensive dental care published on Medium.

Why Do Republicans Value the Second Amendment Over All Other Amendments?
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" is the second amendment of the Bill of Rights.  There are 9 other amendments in the Bill of Rights and 17 more amendments added to the Constitution since the Bill of Rights was written.  But why do Republicans value this one more than any other amendment?
The ignorant, ill-educated white supremacists armed to the teeth to go to Burger King are as far away from a well-regulated militia as can be.  Comparing these morons to the fit, well-trained members of the National Guard or a unit of any of the armed services is like comparing a Lamborghini to a rusty old tricycle.  The biggest difference is that the members of the National Guard and the regular military serve to protect our country or our community, whereas the gun-toting fascists serve to promote white supremacy and hatred of those of us who may be of different skin color, race, sexual identity, or religion.
The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press,  the right to assemble,  and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  To Republicans, this amendment is not as important.  It is only important when the rights mentioned are in agreement with their own views, their own religion, and their own ethnicity.  Even though the rights mentioned in the first amendment are the foundation of a democracy,  an assault rifle is more important to Republicans.
The Ninth Amendment states that American citizens have far more rights than those explicitly described in the Bill of Rights.  To Republicans, this amendment has absolutely no value, as they choose to deny the rights of women to choose an abortion, the rights of Blacks to vote, or the right of gay people to marry.  This amendment is only important as it narrowly pertains to them.
So why do Republicans value the Second Amendment over everything?  Could it be because they need a gun to affirm their masculinity? Or to reinforce their false sense of superiority?  Or could there be another more sinister reason?  Perhaps they want to be able, sometime soon, to be able to take over the government in another armed insurrection! This is the only way for the Republican party to remain in power forever. 

Fear Thy Neighbor, and Even Friends and Relatives!



American society has changed since Donald Trump came on the political scene, and it's not for the good.  When Trump became President the heretofore hidden dregs of society were emboldened to come from underneath their rocks and into the mainstream culture.  Among them were racists, bigots, Nazis, fascists, and plain evil hate-filled people. Trump loved and embraced them, making up the bulk of his supporters.  He fired them up at his frequent rallies held, before his election, during his presidency, and after he lost re-election.  He attacked immigrants, the handicapped, women, the LGBTQ community, women, and people of color, to the delight of his followers.  

After his bid for a second term failed, he attempted a coup to stop the transfer of power and remain in office.  He did not attempt this coup alone.  He had the help of numerous Republican members of the House of Representatives and Senate, and even the wife of a Supreme Court Justice. As the January 6 Commission continues its investigation, the United States Secret Service has been implicated.  The coup is not over, even though the insurrection of January 6th is over.  The "big lie" continues with a majority of Republicans frozen in their fear of Trump's retaliation and the Red States scurrying to make it as difficult as possible for the poor and people of color to vote and setting the stage for the Republican state legislatures to overturn the election results if a Democrat wins.
We are now seeing the disastrous results of Trump and McConnell packing SCOTUS with 3 unqualified far-right Christo-fascists, who have overturned Roe vs Wade, New York State's common sense concealed weapons law, crippled major climate policies, and now set their sights on same-sex marriage, contraception, and possibly interracial marriage.  For the first time in our country's history, SCOTUS has become a political body founded on the Christian Bible.

We have become a society where not only do a majority of the people have to fear losing their Constitutional rights, but we have to fear our fundamental right of simply being alive.  Because the Republican party and now SCOTUS represents the NRA we have to fear carrying on with our everyday lives.  We have seen 19 children and 2 teachers killed in a classroom in Uvalde, Texas.  We have seen 10 people killed and 3 wounded in a Buffalo grocery store simply because they were Black. Seven people were killed at a 4th of July parade in Highland Park, Ill.  According to GunViolence Archivethere have been over 45 mass shootings from the July 4th shooting to today, July 24.
The Uvalde, Buffalo, and Highland Park shootings, as well as most, if not all of our mass shootings, had one thing in common, they involved military-style assault weapons. Yet Republicans in Congress have refused to ban assault weapons.  Even though Congress, with bipartisan support, passed a gun bill limiting the age for gun purchase and ownership, as well as ownership by domestic violence offenders, Republicans still oppose sensible gun control.
In the meantime Americans fear for their lives going to the grocery store, attending school, going to church, enjoying a parade, celebrating a holiday, going to a nightclub, shopping in a mall, or simply leaving their home!  Who is going to be the next mass shooter?  Is it the kid next door, the guy in the next aisle at the grocery store or Home Depot, a fellow worshiper, or someone in our family?  It's a gamble merely living your life.
At the same time, Americans fear losing their rights, their right to control their own healthcare, the right to choose to bear children, the right to love and marry the person of your choice, their right to clean air, the right to our Social Security, and even the right to vote. We don't fear the gunman, we have to fear the ones who will vote for those people who have said they will take those rights from us.  In other words, we have to fear those who support and vote for Republicans, who have declared war on our democracy and our right to live as we please. Please read my blog post, "You're Not My Ally and You Are Not My Friend" and be aware of who you trust.

So, What's Your Problem With Rotaries


Fixing the Grid - Flickr

I have lived in two states and two countries that have had rotaries, traffic circles, roundabouts, or whatever you want to call them.  The small city where I was born had one rotary and I never gave it a second thought as I drove through it.  Maybe because there was never much traffic there.

When I lived in Boston I encountered several rotaries driving in the city, and the rest of Massachusetts and New England for that matter.  Once again it was no big deal, for me or other drivers, even in rather heavy traffic.

Living in Penang, Malaysia, rotaries were part of everyday life. And the traffic there made Boston look like a cakewalk!  Regardless of the constant heavy traffic, no one had a problem with the rotaries. I am sure this was partly due to the status of Malaysia as a former British colony.

After 8 years living in Penang, I moved back to the United States.  In particular the Rochester area.  I now live in a small village that has one rotary that people must use to travel just about anywhere in the vicinity. I travel through this rotary at least 3 times a week, on my way to the gym, grocery store, or to run miscellaneous errands. There rarely is any traffic around the area, except maybe for the holidays.
And yet more than half the time I use the rotary I see drivers who are totally confused or terrified as they attempt to enter the rotary.  Some people come to a complete stop and then check their left and then their right to make sure absolutely no one is near the rotary.  Some people enter the rotary and either slow down or stop as they near each exit of the rotary. And then some don't yield to traffic already in the rotary and narrowly miss the oncoming cars. 

These incidents would be understandable if the drivers were from out of state or out of town, but they're not.  The people who are terrorized by the rotary are people who live in the village and have lived there all their lives.  And the rotary has been there ever since they were born, or before. 

You might think that the people I am complaining about are old people, but you'd be wrong.  They're all ages, from new teen drivers to the oldsters.  It makes no sense why some drivers can maneuver the challenges of rotaries, while others are completely terrified and mystified. Let's just hope for their own safety and that of others they stay off the expressways.

Nail Fungus Cure - You Gotta Be Kidding Me!

Sooner or later we all will probably suffer from fingernail or toenail fungus and search for remedies to cure it.  We will soon discover that anything we can find over the counter simply doesn't work.  Then we find out that our doctor can prescribe a medication for the fungus, but we will have to have our blood tested periodically because the medication can destroy our liver.  So we just give up and hope the fungal infection disappears.

The other night I was watching television and saw an ad for a prescription medication, Jublia,  that cures toenail fungus without the dangers of liver disease. I was curious since this was the first time I can remember seeing an ad for a prescription medication that cures nail fungus. So I Googled Jublia and found out that it apparently works after about 48 weeks.

I then checked GoodRx to see how much Jublia would cost.  The cost, without insurance, ranges between $678 and $715.  Most insurances will not cover the drug as it is considered an optional or cosmetic treatment.  Medicare plans vary in regards to whether or not it is covered, but the cost is still steep.  According to an article in the Seattle Times, a bottle lasts about one week, so the cost of a complete 48-week treatment would be well over $20,000 a year!

Isn't the American healthcare system great?

What About My Freedoms?


           Wikimedia Commons

I'm so sick and tired of all the morons whining about their freedoms being taken away by being asked to wear a mask when in public or getting a vaccination. They wear a mask on Halloween or at their local KKK rallies.  They cover their bodies with tattoos without knowing what substances are in the ink.  They eat fast food without knowing what the ingredients are.  They attended elementary and high schools after receiving the mandatory vaccinations against polio, the MMR vaccination, and others. They take drugs intended to rid dogs and horses of intestinal parasites.  They drink bleach and drink their own urine as recommended by right-wing idiots who couldn't pass high school biology. Yet they're terrified to take a vaccine developed by some of the world's preeminent immunologists and refuse to wear a piece of cloth over their face to protect their fellow citizens and even their own family members.

Because of these misinformed, deranged cult members, the pandemic continues to rage.  Unvaccinated people are dying every day and they continue to resist the only remedy available to save their lives. They openly fight, sometimes violently the administration of the life-saving vaccines.  They attack those very people who are risking their lives to save the rest of us.  They have even threatened the lives of Dr. Fauci and his family members, after listening to the lies and conspiracy theories being pushed by low lives like Rand Paul.

And when these miscreants do become sick with Covid, the first thing they do is rush to the hospital seeking treatment from the very people they have demonized.  It's not only hypocritical, but it is almost criminal, denying care and hospital rooms to those people who need help for situations not related to Covid.

Who are these selfish bastards that are so afraid of losing their freedoms?  We all know who they are.   They are the same ones who are fighting against voting rights, especially for Blacks and other minorities. They are the same ones who are fighting to take away a woman's reproductive rights. They are the same ones who want to destroy same-sex marriage and deny rights to the LGBTQ community.  They are the same ones who staunchly oppose immigrants.  Whether they know it or not they are the ones, through their cultish beliefs and behaviors, who support an authoritarian form of government over democracy.  Hopefully, despite their ignorance, we will survive the pandemic. Whether or not our democracy survives their presence in our electorate is another question.

You might want to check out my post, "Time is Running Out on Our Democracy".

I Guess Times Have Changed


    Wikimedia Commons

During the time of the American Revolution, our colonial "patriots rebelled against the tyranny of the English King and English Royalty. They believed that no man was above the law and fought for independence from the privileged ruling class. America won that fight and continued to hold that principle, of no man is above the law, in great reverence, until recently.

Today, Queen Elizabeth II, announced that she has stripped all military and royal titles from her second son, Andrew, who is embroiled in a sex scandal involving underage girls.  He can no longer be referred to as Prince Andrew, as he is now a private citizen. Even royals must be held accountable for their actions.

Meanwhile, back in the colonies, members of the wealthy class and government officials accused of sexual misconduct are held in high esteem, by patriots of the day. Hell, one of them was elected President and some sit freely as Republican members of Congress.  Being investigated or under indictment is no obstacle to serving in the government. 

How things have changed!

I'm Not Sure If I Am Amused or Ashamed, But I'm Definitely Not Surprised!

    Wikimedia Commons     Every day I read some of the news from my hometown , basically to see who among my friends and classmates has pass...