Monday, April 14, 2008

msb-0287 Shake Down

msb-0287 Shake Down


Disclaimer! Disclaimer! Disclaimer!

MSBPodcast is "not" any kind of a medical podcast.

It is by and for MSers.

Its purpose is to keep us entertained, to explain our symptoms, to remark on our discoveries, and to raise the general consciousness about our disease.

The path to illness is shadowy, murky and rough strewn.

The path to wellness is lit by the lamp of knowledge.


Feedback comes first, so...

Today, I'm reviewing a book.

You'll hear how much I liked it (a lot) why I liked it (a lot) and the kind of questions the book answers as well as leaves up to the imagination.


And I'm pleased to report that "Bacon Salt" is still filled with baconey goodness and my blood pressure has actually gone "down".

I'm loving it.

It only takes a little tiny shake and "everything" tastes great, potatoes, corn on the cob (really!) vegetables, fish (I can report it tastes great on tilapia.)


Just torn from the headlines of the "New York Times" [ ] was a picture of someone with MS.
"Robin Steinwand had been paying $20 a month for her multiple sclerosis drug, which she keeps in the refrigerator. When she went to pick up her prescription in January, it cost $325."
Well an MSer made the news all right.

Now, I'd like to know "exactly why are people against socializing the administration of the medical system?"

What? You think an instant rise of 1,625% is due to an increase of the cost of ingredients or of the processing of these ingredients?

Get your heads out of your butts.

What you are seeing, in effect, is the denial of medical treatment based purely on greed on the part of somebody who is "not" involved in any part if the treatment process at all.

It reflects badly on their bottom line when the insurers, those "HMO"s, have to pay for actually delivering on any "H".

Why are we paying the premiums to the HMOs, if it isn't it for some "H" if and when we need it? (That's the whole concept of insurance: "we pay now, so should we need anything...", "not" "we pay now and we get disappointed later, should we need anything.")

Unfortunately, the "costs" of "H" have "not" really changed while the "profitability" of HMOs "has", as the growth of the industry saturated the number of employers who can afford to pay, drying up the pool of profits available.

The United States of America can't afford the "luxury" of HMOs any more.

The problems that Richard Milhous Nixon sort of solved in his day, passing the buck to the employers at the time, passing laws which mandated the creation of HMOs, those problems of people dying in the streets they'd been thrown into after selling everything they could to pay for treatment and of making the 'States look like a third world country, well those problems never really went away.

The slowly rising curve of health care prices have finally intersected with the flattening and/or negative curve of new membership in HMOs and the HMOs profitability expectations are being satisfied by slowing down and/or even reversing the delivery of health services to their members. (This was clearly visible years ago by anybody who cared to look. HMOs have run their course and when the lines met is when the overall level of health care in this country started declining.)

By the way, if you aren't a member of a HMO, as millions and millions of people aren't, your health care situation is "exactly" the same as it was before the HMOs were created.

You're still required to burn through everything you own before throwing yourself on the pyre.

The only thing we can afford as a society now is, you guessed it, socialized medicine.

The 85% have to take care of the 15%, or trip over the bodies lying naked in the street.

---- "Good Intenions, Bad Reviews" by: "Amazing Death In Audio"

Feed Forward comes next, so...

This is "your" segment.

Say "your" piece on this segment.

Share with other MSers whatever "you" want to share.

Drop me an email: "charles at"

---- "Preview All Tracks" by: "Jerome Epps"

Feed Me comes third, so...

Do you have a therapy, product, good or service that is of interest to MSers?

Consider advertising on this podcast.

Reminders on this segment only cost $0.03 per reminder per download of an episode. (A $30CPM targeted at MSers.)

It can/should lead to a full ad, in text, audio or video, which costs $3.00 per download.

That sounds expensive until you do the math and realize that if nobody downloads it it costs you nothing, unlike print, where you often can't even get an ad in to the specialized journals, or radio or TV where you'd just be wasting your money with the 0.0833% MSers rate of return. (That's about six times "below" the level of "statistical noise".)

But MSBPodcast is 100% in your market, and you only pay per download of your material.

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Reach the MSers who would buy your therapy, product, good or service, with-out having to waste your advertising money on anyone who is "not" interested...

Send me an email at: "charles (at)"

---- "Salazar Brothers - Full Album Preview" by: "Rising Conviction"


Here's what I know about writing fiction book reviews, bugger all...

But it is not something I want to blow off, nor is the author. (In fact, I'll be interviewing him this Friday evening. One of my shows next week will feature him and nothing but.)

Dalhousie University has excellent library services that you can find on the "web" that's just full of great information, like "How to write a book review" [ ] (Isn't the web just great? :-)

---- "blind preview" by: "tonio"


I'm reviewing the book "Shake Down" by "Joel Goldman" (ISBN-13: 978-0-7860-1610-5) which was very kindly sent to me by his editor. [His website is Joel Goldman dot com.]

First of all, let me say that I rarely read fiction (except for Terry Prachett, :-) because I usually figure things out before the end of the book. It doesn't usually hold my interest. I sometimes reread Sherlock Holmes but its a very occasional pleasure. (Even at that, with my memory, its more to revisit the associations I have made and to make the time to walk down memory lane.)

Technical books are basically read, scanned really, "by exception" for any new idea or concept and those pages just fly by.

But this book had the right hook with the right flawed hero with the right flaws to keep my interest alive throughout. I read every word of every sentence of every paragraph of every page of every chapter of this book.

The prime character in this book is a competent senior FBI operative named "Jack Davis".

He's a likable enough schmuck, bedeviled by his work and haunted by an incident in his past involving a son who would never grow up; which led to his recent and mutual decision to divorce, that divorce being more or less amicably reached.

He is also recently being haunted by a mysterious nervous ailment which causes him to shake and "lock up" at inopportune moments (as if there was ever an opportune moment.)

His own personal experience with the legal system has provided his with many persons from which to draw from when it comes to having believable characteristics to draw on.

His own personal experience with the medical system gives him insight into what its like to struggle with a disabilitating and mysterious disease. It has provided him with intimate knowledge of the disease, the medical system and with the persons involved from with to also draw from when it comes to having believable characteristics to draw on.

The progression of his characters parallels the progression of the disease and the accommodations which must be made by the charaters when dealing with it.

The rest of the characters, the "dramatis personae" tend to be fleshed out in relation to their ability to move the plot along.

The "McGuffin" of this piece, as "Alfred Hitchcock" [ ] called the one thing which propels the action along, is the relationship between "Jack Davis" and his own untrustworthy body.

The major theme of this book is one of struggle and acceptance and the trouble the characters have with dealing with them both in their lives.

They are revealed through internal dialogues and through narrator exposition depending on what is appropriate for that particular character. They are also revealed through conversational drib and drabs in realistic dialogs.

The theme is as entertaining as it is enlightening as much for the freshness of its very presence in writing, (something which is regrettably lacking in modern writing, given the revelatory statistics from the World Health Organization, the WHO,) as for its importance to the plot and the "McGuffin".

This book made a welcome break from the usual pap with its subtle statements of the treatment that "Jack Davis" gets from the society he helps serve and protect and the organization he does it through.

This book is escapist fare, but it is educational as well, without pounding anyone over the head with any didactism. It lets the reader easily transfer the characters from the page to the mind.

The plot is ingeniously crafted with characters being called up and disposed of as necessary but not unnecessarily. The focus of suspense shifts from character to character as the action unwinds.

You know that a character's introduction must be relevant, but their importance to the "McGuffin" is not immediately apparent. (That's what got me reading and the disposal and disposition of the character and the transfer of the "McGuffin" is what kept me reading. I never quite knew where this book was going and the plot twists are definitely not of the "The Butler Did It!" variety. I read the first half of the book at a single sitting, because I "could not put it down!")

From a stylisic point of view, it reminded me of my many, many trips to Kansas City Missouri, with its admixture of stark grittiness and elegance; much like the city itself, the plot and its characters were a part of the city, and fit into it well.

I could see and recall in my minds eye the places I was revisiting and I could imagine the parts of the city that I didn't know (I didn't spend any time at the railroad yard, but I could imagine them given the wealth of detail in the book.)

The dialog was simple enough but still conveyed the flavors and complexities of the characters.

The setting for the book was aided by the presence of Kansas City as I remembered it but I think it could have been written almost anywhere, so long as the geography lent itself to the same kinds of twists and turns. (This book would have been impossible to write in its present form in a location like "Bangladesh", say.)

I'll stop here except to say that this was an excellent book.

---- "New Songs Preview" by: "Musuca"


I'm recording an interview special show with Joel Goldman.

You'll get to listen to the two of us discuss his book and "tics".

---- "Warning Preview" by: "dunney"



mdmhvonpa said...

Socialized Medicine is a political death-trap. Do not expect anything for the next 4-8 years.

Charles-A. Rovira said...

It won't be called "Socialized Medecine".

Its a political death trap as long as employers are paying for it.

You know eventually they're going to ask "Why are we paying so much and the supposed beneficiaries, our employees, are getting the shaft.

It makes us look stupid and worse, we look like [expletive deleted] weasels...

Companies are already suffering the double competitiveness and appearance burdens and their passing more and more of the HMO costs onto the employees to boot so...

The health care system is badly broken and everybody knows it.

We're just waiting on some lexicographer to coin a new word so that it can sound palatable. (Chrome plate the turd :-)

(Look at the "invasion of Iraq" going under the name of the "liberation of Iraq from "terrorist insurgents". What utter bull. Like anybody believes that.)

I expect Obama (or Hillary [but not McCain {his head's still stuck in the "Hanoi Hilton",}]) to leap at the new word that is about to be coined and he (or she [but not him, he may never "get it",]) will look like a hero for doing it.

Like the war in Vietnam, (sorry the "police action",) ended after a few years spent deciding on the shape of the negotiating table, look for the victor to couch it in new words.