Monthly Archives: September 2013

Obamacare cost difference for Humana Medicare Advantage 2014

Obamacare Humana Medicare Advantage for 2013 vs 2014

Item 2013 2014 % Change
Catastropic Coverage (copay) $5500 $6700 21.8 %
Specialist (copay) $40 $45 12.5 %
Ambulance (copay) $200 $275 37.5 %
Hospitalisation/Day (copay) $223 $260 16.6%
Outpatient Surgery/Hospital (copay) $150 $210 40.0%

The average cost increase is 25.7 % from 2013 to 2014. Remember, this IS affordable!

For Part D (prescription) coverage changes, you may find this useful. (scroll down about 1/4 of the page for charts)

Created on … September 26, 2013

Open letter to Congress: No War with Syria


Dear Congressional Representatives:

This letter will contain few facts. Instead it is a congealing of experiences that have percolated through my life, and admittedly, some ad hominems.

I lived through the Vietnam war. I am NOT a veteran. Instead I saw the horrors of war splashed across my family’s television set, almost every evening. There are images of the atrocity of war indelibly etched on my mind, that even the passage of several decades, have failed to erase.

No one wants war. It is NOT good for business. The cost is always bloodshed and more violence. It matters not what side. Let us examine a brief history of war in the 20th century.

From 1950-1953, the United States nearly unilaterally fought in the Korean Police Conflict. An estimated 2.5 million civilians were lost on both sides. The Police Action ended in a stalemate. The news of the day, were from newsreels.

As time progressed from the early 1950‘s, by the time we put men on the Moon at the end of the next decade, we would be fully entrenched in another unilateral expansionism: Vietnam. This was the first war that was daily brought into living rooms around the world. We did not just hear about the horrors, we saw them. Day after day. Even revered newscaster Walter Cronkite grew weary of what he saw. So did the American public. The Vietnam war sparked many protests and riots.

During this war…something changed. Something was different. We had courageous people like Dr. Martin Luther King, as a guide. The tide of prejudice and discrimination was giving birth to ideas of non-violence, and peace. For me, the birth pangs of change, had matured.

Nestled between the amazing heroism of Apollo 13, and high school graduation, is a little known event: May 4, 1970.

Exercising First Amendment Rights, the students of Kent State University in Ohio, had gathered to protest the Vietnam War’s incursion into Cambodia.

On that fateful day, Students: Allison Krause, Jeffrey Glen Miller, Sandra Lee Scheuer, and William Knox Schroeder were brutally shot to death by Ohio National Guardsmen. In just 13 seconds, they had fired 67 rounds.

The impact of this incident, coming just four weeks before my high school graduation, changed me utterly and profoundly. As I pondered the realities or war, wrestled with the meaning of life, I came to the realisation that wars solve nothing.

On that day, in that hour, I was transformed into a life of pacifism, by the sacrifice made by these individuals. During the course of the Vietnam War from 1955-1975, an estimated 1 to nearly 4 million people had died. It ended in yet, another stalemate.

Fast forward to 2003. Saddam Hussein was in power in Iraq. The U.S. had actionable intelligence that Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (Chemical Weapons.) They were stockpiling uranium, and they were connected to the September 11, 2001 World Trade Centre attacks. Just like Vietnam, the President, Cabinet Members, and Generals’ again lied to the American public. In the 8 years, 8 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days, we unilaterally tore this country apart, what was accomplished? Over 113,000 lives were lost. For the first time, the world was able to see war in real time.

Have we learned anything? There is no such thing as a limited war. We may want to detach ourselves from the killing because someone else is pushing a button. Has the American political consciousness grown so callous, that it is granted some kind of immunity and shielding that it can not see the atrocities and ambiguity?

As a nation, the people you represent, are war weary. We are NOT the policemen of the world. Why MUST the United States act unilaterally? The unilateral military intervention into the sovereign affairs of a foreign government. How is that different from imperialism? Tell us, if you know.

When our allies say NO to war, this nation needs to STOP and reflect on its actions. There are other non-violent methods for dealing with Syria. When Russia wanted to talk with Speaker-of-the-house John Bohener and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week, they both refused. What harm is there in sitting at a table, and listening?

Peace is NOT the absence of war, it is the presence of trust.

I am reminded of this thought, taken from the Outer Limits Episode entitled: The Light Brigade

The greatest horror of war is the fateful transformation
of our children, into heroes.

Hermitage No Kill Cat Shelter Celebrates 48 years


Founded in 1965 by a Russian Orthodox Nun, Sister Seraphim made a deal with God. She would care for any animal He put in her path as long as He provided the means. The Hermitage was the first no-kill, no-cage cat sanctuary in Arizona. [1]

In 1969, the shelter moved to its current location at 5278 E. 21st Street in a quiet residential neighbourhood, located just off of 22nd and Magnolia (near Thoroughbred Nissan.) The shelter is home to about 200 cats, including some permanent residents with special needs such as GI issues, allergies, or timidity. Some of the adoptable candidates include cats with FIV, and diabetes.


The shelter has undergone major renovations under the leadership of the new executive director, Joe Sprague. The shelter now includes a new adoption area, fresh paint, a modernized computer network infrastructure, air conditioning, and cat walks though out the shelter.

The Hermitage will be hosting movie nites at the shelter, The first movie: Mama Mia (a sing along) on Thursday, September 12 starting at 6:30 pm. The cost is $5.


Dates            Movie

September 12     Mama Mia Sing A Long
September 21     The Birds
October 3        Muppets (Original)
October 18       That Darn Cat
November 2       ***Special Horror Night Oldies
                 but scary Start at 7pm goes till Midnight*** $10.00
November 7       Grease
November 15      Sci Fi Night
January 9        Big Fish
January 24       Breakfast at Tiffany's
February 7       Hairspray Sing a Long
February 20      Little Shop of Horrors    
A pass for $25.00 is available to view 6 movies of your choice!

RSS and Email subscriptions fixed

I never realised that the RSS feed and the email subscriptions do NOT work. I have now fixed that.

If you were previously subscribed to either feed, you will need to re-subscribe.

DOH! I mean, WOO HOO!


Where can I go, when I’m addicted?


Where can I go, when I’m addicted?

Betsy is an attractive middle aged blonde, living with her parents. In this economy it is difficult to make ends meet. Appearances are often deceiving. Besty had travelled from the mid-west, to take care of her parents: her father has senile dementia, and her mother just had surgery to remove a cancerous tumour, and has a feeding tube.

One day I heard a knock at the door. It was Betsy. Her hair was a bit dishevelled, she slurred her speech, and she was not steady on her feet. As she passed by, I knew the reason. She was drunk. I could smell it on her breath. God must have had a reason to send her my way. Like the prophet Nehemiah, I shot a “prayer arrow” (Neh 2:4-5) to God asking for wisdom.

She wanted to go to the store for more booze. She had the keys to her car in hand. But she realised that she could not drive. Okay God, what do I do now? Almost by instinct, we have a tendency to do a knee jerk response. We want to play junior Holy Spirit, and judge. I sensed that was not my role. That is NOT what God wanted. It was a “woman at the well” (John 4:1-26) scenario. There is an old saying: “In vino veritas.” In wine, there is truth. I have 2 ears and 1 mouth, so I did twice as much listening, than talking.

As I listened, I discovered that she was trying to take care of her parents by herself, with no respite (rest and relief.) My family reached a point with my Dad, where we could no longer provide for his care. I understood where she was coming from. Betsy’s mother is very critical of her, and did not appreciate the sacrifice. Her parents did not drive her to drink, but they contributed. Scripture warns parents not to exasperate their children (Eph 6:4)

I asked Betsy, what role God played in all of this? She said: “I can’t believe a loving God would allow my parents to suffer this way.” “Ahh” I muttered to myself: “The Disneyland Syndrome.“ For a moment, I was able to share good news. I gave her a card for an online church, which she can access from her computer, on her schedule. God opened the door, just a crack.

There are many people who are on the fringe of society. Drunk, poor, addicted, gay, hiv/aids, lonely, widowed. Where can these people go? I could have just shut the door, instead God provided an opportunity to share the good news.

can i take my addictions into your theology
is it big enough to feel my pain
or will i stain your glass
with street smells and sweat
and where can i go
and where can i go
when i’m addicted?

Steve M. –

UC Irvine offer online Zombie Course


Sign up for UC Irvine’s online Zombie survival course. It is based on the AMC series:

The Walking Dead

A little nonsense now and then,
is relished by the wisest men.

— Willy Wonka