U.S. health care crisis and reform

Our health care crisis is twofold.  Primarily, the rampant cost of both critical and excessive services is totally out of control due to the largely unregulated third-party payer system that has evolved. All the players (hospitals, labs, insurance companies, doctors)  are trying to maximize profits, and free market principles don’t lead to efficiencies or economies when the consumer is not paying the bills.  You cannot argue with this; just compare U.S. health care pricing with any other industrialized nation.   It is flat out ridiculous.

Secondly, access to those third-party payer privileges is not available to a large segment of  Americans, and the majority of us are subject to financial ruin in the event of a health care crisis.  The Affordable Care act really only addresses this second issue, by making access to (our overpriced) care more equitable.  There is a minority who will be penalized or disadvantaged by the specifics of this act, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t sound public policy based upon the presumption that health care is a legitimate human right.

But IMO, the more critical of these problems is the out of control costs and that can only be addressed by dismantling the current powerful health care insurance industry.  Obama was not able to do this.  Just my 2 cents.

Bob R.

breaded pork tenderloin sandwich

Always been a fan, hard to find in Florida.

High Tide Harry’s‎ ,4645 S. Semoran Blvd Orlando, Florida 32822
Po’ boy version, OK, nothing special
Soup To Nuts Diner‎,381 East Burleigh Boulevard, Tavares, FL 32778
The real deal.  good eats
Burger Inn  1819 North Harbor City Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32935
lame, frozen pre-fab


The Mulligan’s Pub‎ 11375 Big Bend Road,Riverview, FL 33579(813) 672-7347  (south of Tampa)
Lazy Flamingo 3 Inc‎, 16501 Stringfellow Road, Bokeelia, FL 33922(239) 283-5959 (Punta Gorda)
Rooster’s Restaurant‎,7370 West Atlantic Boulevard, Margate, FL 33063  (Ft. Lauderdale)
Conway Cafe‎ 4542 Hoffner Avenue, Orlando, FL 32812
Gold Rush BBQ Inc‎ 661 Tamiami Trl S, Venice, FL 34285

Mail order:

The real thing, 2006, somewhere in SE Iowa:

yet another new cellphone

The  bargain-priced off-contract Palm Pixi Plus I picked up last summer went terminal with major malfunctions of the touchscreen.    I got a new 2-year verizon contract android phone, the Pantech Breakout.   Its the low end of Android devices, and I liked it because its the smallest smart phone they offered.  I just don’t want to have to carry a brick in my pocket.  All phones w/tactile keyboard were thick and heavy.


  • Android apps (its OS 2.3)
  • GPS run tracking program is accurate and usable
  • excellent voice recognition and voice prompted search
  • 4G with front camera for face calls
  • google navigation good enough to drop verizon navigator
  • much better camera than the pixi
  • much faster than the pixi, capable multitasker
  • speakerphone mic works when connected to car audio


  • no free wifi hotspot
  • Android OS instead of WebOS
  • no tactile keyboard, I make errors every single time using touchscreen keyboard
  • larger than I would like.
  • no capacitive touchstone charging available
  • no flash on camera (and no flashlight)
  • shorter battery life, but I’m managing it well, see below
  • marque time display does not show when phone is locked (this is a clear UI design fail)
  • Pixi had a silence rocker switch, and a keyboard key for the @ sign.   Nice UI touches.

The best android tip I’ve come across so far is the battery saver application Juice Defender.  Try it, it really works.  Otherwise, my ‘droid experience has been pretty good.  It has a built in task manager that displays and kills applications, so I don’t have to engage with the ad supported app Task Killer.  I haven’t figured out shortcuts for highlight, copy and paste yet.   Haven’t tested or used any bluetooth functions yet.   My biggest complaint is the phone came jam packed with junky apps that I can’t remove, and I’ve run out of internal storage already and have to put additional apps on the micro-SD card storage.

Did I mention the size?  Its the smallest I could get, but I’ll bet money that the current trend towards large-screen phones is going to reverse, and we’ll see some more compact devices in the next year or so.



I’ve figured out how to get a comfortable shave without showering first.  Just soap up your beard and let it sit for a minute or two before scraping.  I can hardly believe it took me 40 years of shaving to figure this one out.

Spacecoast half marathon

I ran my 6th half marathon on Sunday (11/27).   This is me near the end, alongside the Indian River lagoon. My time was pretty average for me (2:24).  Plantar fasciitis was killing me later that evening, but 24 hrs after run, heel is almost back to normal.


I rode from about 1978 to 1986 and used to think I would someday get a BMW boxer twin cylinder motorbike for long distance highway travel, perhaps in my retirement.

But recently I’ve had my eye on the Suzuki Tu250, a single cylinder, retro-styled small 250cc motorcycle.  It seems a much preferable alternative to the popular scooters that have been trending in recent years.     Linda’s expressed interest in learning to ride and this would be perfect.  Maybe we’ll hit the lottery.  oh wait, we’d have to play the lottery.


Link for Florida sales: http://www.cycletrader.com/Suzuki-Tu250x-Motorcycles-In-Florida/search-results?make=Suzuki|2320128&model=Tu250x|764861455&state=Florida|FL&vrsn=hybrid

Robert M. Reed, 1932-2011

REED, Robert M., Media Executive, Age 79

Robert M. Reed, who had a long career as a leader in electronic and print media, died Saturday, September 17, at 7:10 p.m. in Winter Park, Florida. The cause of death was respiratory failure, according to the family.

Bob was born February 18, 1932, in Sheldon, Iowa. The third child of Carl and Hazel (Dockendorf) Reed, he grew up in nearby Marcus, Iowa, where his father was Station Master of the Illinois Central Railroad. He graduated from Marcus High School in 1949 and the Naval School of Music in Washington, D.C., in 1950. Bob’s enlistment in the Navy was extended during the Korean War and he served (as he put it) “3 years, 9 months, 14 hours, 10 minutes, and 17 seconds”; two years were spent in Korean waters in intelligence services.

After his discharge in 1953, he attended the University of South Dakota, then transferred to the University of Iowa where he received a B.A. in Speech (Radio/TV) in 1956. He worked his way through graduate school as the Assistant Film Director of the University of Michigan Television Center, receiving an M.A. from that institution in Speech (Radio/TV) in 1958.

Bob began a twenty-year career in educational (now public) television as Production Manager at WETV-TV (Atlanta) and moved to Director of Special Projects at WHA-TV and Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin in 1959. He founded the Hawaii Educational Television Network and served as its General Manager and Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii from 1962 to 1969.

He returned to the mainland and over the years served as Executive Director of the Syndication/Video Division for PBS at Indiana University and in Washington, D.C., and as General Manager at KUED-TV at the University of Utah. He left public television in 1978 to found the National Video Clearing House Inc., a publisher of program directories and trade magazines, in New York.

Bob retired in 1989 to write nonfiction, including the books Career Opportunities in Television, Cable, and Video (four editions), The Encyclopedia of Television, Cable, and Video, and The Dictionary of Television, Cable, and Video, all coauthored with his wife, Maxine (Max).
He then turned to writing fiction, specifically religious humor. Among his recent books are The Potluck Dinner That Went Astray, How to Survive Being a Presbyterian, The Choir That Couldn’t Sing, and a memoir of his fatherhood, They Were Only Here on Loan.

Music was a big part of Reed’s life. He played trombone in a Navy band and he led a Big Band dance band in his college days. He and his wife Max performed (with his banjo) in many venues and at private parties throughout their marriage. The duo was particularly popular entertaining at retirement communities after moving to Orlando in 2002.

He is survived by his wife of fifty-seven years, Max; their three children: Bob (Linda) of Winter Park, Fla.; Rick (Louise) of Alameda, Calif.; and Deri (Ira) of New York, N.Y.; as well as four grandchildren: Regina Reed, Reed Austen Saltz, and Connor and Kelsey Reed.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Reed Family, 8004 Woodfare Court, Orlando, FL 32817, and/or take the form of contributions in his name to the Reed Center-Box 321, Marcus Historical Society, Marcus, IA 51035.

A memorial service will be held at the Winter Park Presbyterian Church on Sunday, September 25, followed by a celebration of his life at the University Club of Winter Park. Burial will be in the family plot in Sheldon, Iowa. Loomis Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Run, Fish, Sing

Makeshift was booked for a private anniversary event in Rockledge Sunday afternoon.  Seth planned to meet the Wickham Park runners for a multi-lap ultra trail run Sunday morning, and invited me to join him.  I wanted to get some fishing in while near the coast. A plan emerged.

I loaded up my car Saturday night with fishing gear, barbershop costuming, running shoes, a jug of water, and a towel, plus my kayak strapped to the top. Seth was to arrive at my house for a 5:45am departure.

My phone somehow went into hibernation and the alarm failed to go off. I happened to awake and notice the time was 5:40am. No time for food or caffeine, I pulled some shorts on and grabbed a shirt and found Seth waiting in the driveway. I took a few minutes to get my phone rebooted and we were on our way.

Got to Melbourne and grabbed a black coffee at a Macdonalds drive through.  Seth provided a powerbar for me, and we got to the Wickham Park race site 15 minutes before the 7:30am start.   This informal running group is made up of hardcore long distance runners. They prefer running in the Florida summer because its harder. And the more sand on the trail the better. Their plan was to run 9 laps for a total of 56 kilometers.    The trail is poorly marked and runners frequently get off track. The dozen participants broke into two groups and I ran the first lap with the “speed is overrated” group. For the one lap it was not terribly challenging, quite scenic, and I generated a good sweat which soaked my clothes.  See a facebook collection of photos, and full race results here.

Seth on lap 4

After the lap, I bailed from the group, re-hydrated, and drove off to find a put in spot for the kayak. Across the river near Patrick AF base, I launched the yak for nearly 2 hours of paddling and casting. I was armed with a top water plug on one rod and a 1/8 oz jig on the other. It was a pretty barren area with dirty water and no seagrass. I worked my way out to a couple of mangrove islands and drifted and cast around them. I hooked a healthy 20″ trout just a few feet from my boat, fought and thrashed with it a bit, and pulled it on board to pin it between my calves.  She was unhooked and released.  I only had one other strike, but I call it a success.   It was the 2nd largest fish I’ve ever landed on the yak.

Headed back to Wickham Park to pick up Seth after his 4th lap, stopping enroute at a 7-11 for a sandwich and some gatorade.  We set out for Rockledge and stopped at a YMCA on the way to shower and change for our Makeshift gig at 2pm. We arrived in plenty of time for the 1pm setup and soundcheck.  It was a 60th anniversary party for Pete Anderson’s inlaws, and the Knights of Columbus hall was packed. We sang  The Lords Prayer for the vow renewal ceremony, then during supper had a 30 minute stage show, and followed up with some tableside singing.  We included some straight up barbershop material (at request of the honorees) but also had beatboxer Scott P. with us to support some of our rocking contemporary repertoire.  All in all, a great afternoon with good food, good friends, cold beer, and some great singing.

Home and collapse by 6:30pm.