DO NOT READ THIS POST

Do not read this post. I’m warning you with peace and love. Click on another blog. Go no further. You’ll be sorry.

I need to vent. Some vents can be entertaining but this isn’t one of those. This one is going to be boring. I can’t imagine it being of interest to anyone, but I need to get this shit off my chest or I’m going to explode.

I’m one of those people you’ve read about who’s about to lose his healthcare insurance policy due to the Affordable Care Act. Currently, I have what’s referred to in the insurance industry as an “overload” policy. Normal people call it a “junk” policy. The deductibles are high and there’s no provision for catastrophic illness. It’s better than nothing, but just barely. I’m an extended hospital stay away from being wiped out financially. Because this policy does not meet the minimum requirements mandated by the ACA, it’s being cancelled.

My Bride works part-time. Consequently, we are not eligible for a subsidy or tax abatement. We fall just above the demarcation line. According to the ACA actuary tables, we’re rich and don’t need any help. The least expensive policy available to us under the Affordable Care Act is going to cost $1,025/month with a $4,700 deductible.

HOW IS THAT AFFORDABLE?

WE DON’T HAVE $1,025/month to spend on HEALTHCARE. Do you?

It is entirely possible that I could send $17,000 to AmeriHealth of New Jersey annually and here’s what my family and I will get in return for all that money:

DICKED.

To review: AmeriHealth of New Jersey could potentially get as much as $17,000 annually.

We get: DICKED. How did the medical and insurance industries become so powerful and corrupt?

Thanks a lot, El Presidente. Don’t do my family and I anymore favors, okay? And I voted for that guy! TWICE!

I don’t align myself with any one political party. I think to do so is lazy. When you do that, you surrender your objectivity. I prefer to think for myself, thank you very much. I’ve voted for Republicans in the past (although, it’s been a while) and would gladly do so again in the future if they present a viable candidate. I have liberal leanings, especially on social issues, but I’m not an ideologue. Far from it.

It actually causes me great physical pain to type this sentence, but those howling lunatics over at Fox News, none of whom I have a crumb of respect for, might actually have a valid point. The Affordable Care Act is being financed on the backs of the middle class. Maybe I should have voted for that wealthy robot. What was that dude’s name, again? I’ll bet he’s got pretty good healthcare.

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Well, I tried to warn you. You made it this far so I’ll reward you with two amusing pics.

We have a corporate dining room on the 12th floor. They post a new menu every Monday morning. Each week, they create festive dishes and cuisines that celebrate the seasons and holidays. Here’s what’s coming up this week:

Black History Month poster

Now, how tone deaf is that? Someone is going to have to pay a visit to Human Resources and sit through one of those corporate sensitivity videos.

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I rolled over in bed and before clicking out the light, I impulsively took a shot of my nightstand.

photo 1

Two half-finished books, one I haven’t started  and two that are read but haven’t migrated their way back to the bookshelves yet. One bottle of eye drops, because my eyes always hurt. The beast that roars at 5:00 a.m. every Monday through Friday. There. You’ve been to bed with me.

What does yours look like?

Calm > chaos

Each morning, I have one hour to myself, from 7:00 to 8:00. It’s the only time of my day when someone doesn’t require my attention. At work, at home or even walking down the Avenues, it seems like someone is always in my face. During that peaceful morning hour, I sit in the same coffee shop and either read blogs or write or pop my earbuds in, listen to Howard Stern and make loud snorting noises that cause people to stare.

Recently, an elderly derelict has taken up residency in the same coffee shop. He’s always there during my morning caffeine ablution. He’s not homeless or insane–he doesn’t smell bad or babble incoherently–he’s never drunk. But he’s clearly on government assistance and doesn’t have anywhere special to be during the day. He takes the seat near where customers wait to pick up their coffee order. Customers who are, more often than not, tourists, this being midtown Manhattan.

His move it to engage someone in conversation while they wait. But once they have their coffee, they’re not free to go. His stream-of-conscious dialogue doesn’t have a natural braking point and since most tourists are nice people who don’t want to appear rude, they stand there, trapped, nodding their head and sipping their coffee. Perhaps they feel they’re having an authentic New York moment. He tells them about hanging out in Studio 54, a book he wrote, an album he recorded and other sundry events that are entirely plausible. But eventually they start that slow dance towards the exit.

I never engage him. I know he’s lonely and just needs someone to talk to, but my heart hardened years ago. When I first moved to NYC, I used to carry a pocket full of quarters to dole out to the homeless on the subways and streets. If I didn’t have any change, I’d at least make eye contact so they felt like human beings. But it became too much. I was overwhelmed by the tsunami of sadness, so the destitute became invisible to me. It’s a defense mechanism many New Yorkers employ. A coping device to help deal with the grind of the city.

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I’m one of those poor bastards trying to sort out the Affordable Care Act. I’m just a consultant and need healthcare for my family. I won’t go into the details because how boring would that be? But here’s how another in a series of live chat sessions opened yesterday. It tells you everything you need to know about how well the system is working.

healthcare

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bergdorf

Bergdorf Goodman holiday window display. Monday, December 16, 6:30 p.m.

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I made my annual holiday pilgrimage to the Morgan Library to view the original manuscript for A Christmas Carol. From Dickens’ own hand, a cultural touchstone was born.

dickens1

Just look at this mess! This stuff is such a thrill for me. How the printer was able to make heads or tails of this is a mystery.

dickens2

I read A Christmas Carol every December. It puts me in the proper spirit. It’s maudlin and overwritten, but it gets the job done. I have to read those last several pages alone because I always see them through a veil of tears. Scrooge’s transformation washes over me. So embarrassing.

“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas…”

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carnegie2

Carnegie Hall, Monday, November 18, 7:45 p.m.