Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So that was awesome

It's been a little over a week since we got back from Ireland. Gina and I promised ourselves we'd try to bottle (mentally) the inspiration and exhilaration we felt, to keep us going for awhile upon our return... it's lasted this long anyway, which is more than I expected!

In related news, I just took my first of 12 Irish fiddle lessons through Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éire, which was awesome. I'm so excited about this, and the timing of the class was serendipitous; I'm hoping I can keep my momentum going through the dreary Saturday mornings that are sure to lie ahead in November and December.

In more related news, I'm going to start playing out a little more (by a little more I mean more often than not at all, which has been the norm of late), so keep an eye out for upcoming shows. I'm officially inspired again. Thank you, Ireland!

We've got lots to catch up on. For starters:

The Pats
Last night during the Patriots' season opener, during the game-winning drive, the camera caught Tom Brady and he had That Look in his eyes. You know the look — it's not menacing, per se, but it's cold and determined and a little Terminator-esque (the good Terminator). It says, "I am a winning machine, and I'm going to win this game now." It was the first time I'd seen that look in over a year — and I hadn't realized just how much I missed Tom Brady until that moment. I feel confident again. About everything! That's the weird part. I even feel better about the Red Sox today, even though the two have nothing to do with each other. (Or do they? Until the Pats won that first Super Bowl, I didn't think a Boston team could, much less would ever win a championship again. Belichick and Brady saved Boston sports.)

The missus
Today is Gina's last day at work — her company shut down their Boston office. So if anyone out there needs an excellent editor with science and language arts experience (not to mention a lovely demeanor and adorable freckles), let me know!

Health Care Reform
To anyone who's all worked up about this (such as my very Republican parents): if you live in Massachusetts, universal health care is, in essence, already a reality. Over 94% of our residents are insured (compared to 85% nationally). There is a mandate to have insurance, and a penalty if you don't. There is a public option, and if I lost my job, I would not hesitate to use it. (And if it had existed in my mid-20s, I would have used it then, too, instead of drifting through portions of my freelance years irresponsibly uninsured.) Unlike many states, no one in Mass. is denied insurance for a pre-existing condition.

It's not perfect, and it's expensive. But no one has tried to euthanize you in the hospital. You still have the same doctor you used to. Your insurance plan is still the same, still mostly employer-paid, and your provider is still very much in business — making some pretty good profits, in fact — despite competition from the state plan. And while our health care costs are among the highest in the country... so is the cost of everything else here. Besides, you get what you pay for: the two best commercial health care plans in the entire US as ranked by U.S. News & World Report (Harvard Pilgrim and Tufts HMO) are right here in Massachusetts; so are two of the top 10 hospitals.

Anyway, even though they probably think this place is full of naive, insufferable liberals like their son, I'm grateful to my folks for raising me in this most progressive of states, the birthplace of the revolution. (I'm also grateful to my fellow Massholes for reliably drowning out the votes of the FOX News-infused.)

And speaking of politics...
I've been blogging for the Patriot Ledger/Wicked Local, about the mayor's race in Quincy. People are pretty fired up — one post garnered over 200 comments — who knew?! It's been fun learning about the history, local issues, and political passion in our new city. Anyway if you'd like to check it out, here's a link to all of my posts.

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