mardi, mai 30, 2006

Lee and Harriet Reese's letter

Nothing else to say, the letter says it all...

February 14, 1895

Are you alive? Real? Or are you the most beautiful dream that I have had in years? Are you an angel -- or a figment of my imagination? Someone I fabricated to fill the void? To soothe the pain? Where did you find the time to listen? How could you understand?

You made me laugh when my heart was crying. You took me dancing when I couldn’t take a step. You helped me set new goals when I was dying. You showed me dew drops and I had diamonds. You brought me wildflowers and I had orchids. You sang to me and angelic choirs burst forth in song. You held my hand and my whole being loved you. You gave me a ring and I belonged to you. I belonged to you and I have experienced all.

lundi, mai 29, 2006

thoughts to grow on

I went to see akeelah and the bee today and it was an incredibly awesome movie.. there were a few dangling threads which I guess may get resolved on the DVD, but it was well worth the money spent to see it.

"All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience."
--Johann von Goethe

"Love is much more fundamental than any kind of thinking or believing. It is the root and basis of who you are, at the most fundamental level. This means that anything other than love as an expression of your being is artificial and unnatural and is a result of not knowing who you are."
--Bill Harris

"Carefully watch your THOUGHTS, for they become your WORDS. Manage and watch your WORDS, for they will become your ACTIONS. Consider and judge your ACTIONS, for they have become your HABITS. Acknowledge and watch your HABITS, for they shall become your VALUES. Understand and embrace your VALUES, for they become YOUR DESTINY."
--Mahatma Gandhi

"Wisdom is knowing what path to take next... Integrity is taking it."
--Robyn Elpruhzlein

"We fear that we are inadequate, but our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves: "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?"
Actually, who are you not to be these things?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people around you won't feel insecure.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically releases others."
--Marriane Williamson, from 'A Return to Love' - this quotation was used by Nelson Mandela in his inaugural speech.

"Once you do something you love, you never have to work again."
--Willie Hill

"It's easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them."

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do."
--Johann von Goethe

"We see things not as they are, but as we are."
--H.M. Tomlinson

"I hear and forget. I see and remember. I do and I understand."

"The aspects of a thing that are most important to us are hidden to us because of their simplicity and familiarity."
--Ludwig Wittgenstein

"Speaking with kindness creates confidence, thinking with kindness creates profoundness, giving with kindness creates love."
--Lao Tseu

"The man who strikes first admits that his ideas have run out."
--Chinese proverb

"History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely only after they have exhausted all other alternatives."
--Abba Eban

"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish."

"Those who make peaceful reform impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
--J. F. Kennedy

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
--Martin Luther King

"It's never too late to be what you might have been."
--George Elliot

"If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite."
--William Blake

"Man has no body distinct from his soul; for that called body is a portion of soul discerned by the five senses, the chief inlets of soul in this age."
--William Blake

"Those who enter the gates of heaven are not beings who have no passions or who have curbed the passions, but those who have cultivated an understanding of them.""
--William Blake

"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing at all."
--Helen Keller

"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each man's life a sorrow and a suffering enough to disarm all hostility."
--Henry Longfellow

"It is not the function of government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error."
--Justice Robert jackson

"When you look at the long history of man, you see that more hideous crimes have been comitted in the name of obedience than have been comitted in the name of rebellion."
--C. P. Snow

"It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning."
--Claude Bernard

"For it is not death or hardship that is a fearful thing, but the fear of death or hardship."

"The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation."
--Pearl S. Buck

"Treat people as if they are what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being."

"Our identity is very closely associated with our thoughts and feelings. Usually, when we feel anger, we become angry. We are anger itself. When we feel depressed, we are depression. When we feel greedy we are greed. It's easy to see ourselves in the emotional 'guise du jour' and mistake this costume for who we really are beneath it."
--Marc Gilson

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."

"An eye for an eye will only serve to make the whole world blind."
--Mahatma Ghandi

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

"Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. Was it worth it?"

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
--Mahatma Ghandi

"Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius."

"That which does not kill you makes you stronger."

"God will become visible as God's image is reborn in you."
--St. Bernard of Clairveux

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs - even though checkered by failure - than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
--Theodore Roosevelt

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted."

"If he is indeed wise, the teacher does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather he leads you to the threshold of your own mind."
--Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

"In the midst of great joy, do not promise anyone anything. In the midst of great anger, do not answer anyone's letter."
--Chinese proverb

"Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory."
--Betty Smith

"Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life."
--Northrup Christiane

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
--Eleanor Roosevelt

"The best way to know God is to love many things."
--Vincent Van Gogh

"Comfort is found among those who agree with you; growth among those who don't."

"If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere."
--Frank A. Clark

"It's easy to be brave from a safe distance."

"He who spends time regretting the past loses the present and risks the future."

"The highest form of spiritual work is the realization of the essence of man.... You never learn the answer; you can only become the answer."
--Richard Rose

"Yesterday is the past. Tomorrow is the future. Today is a gift and that's why we call it the present."

"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him."
--Galileo Galilei

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dwell in the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
and though they are with you, and yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday."
--Kahlil Gibran

"The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."
--Albert Einstein

"A Friend is one who Knows you as you are, Understands where you've been, Accepts who you've become, and still gently invites you to Grow."

"What most people need to learn in life is how to love people and use things instead of using people and loving things."

"We avoid the things that we're afraid of because we think there will be dire consequences if we confront them. But the truly dire consequences in our lives come from avoiding things that we need to learn about or discover."
--Shakti Gawain (The Path of Transformation)

"Whenever you find you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."
--Mark Twain

"The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."

"Don't be so humble; you're not that great."
--Golda Meir, to a visiting diplomat

"Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else."

"Namaste" is an East Indian greeting (by putting the palms of the hands together in prayer position) which means, "I respect the place in you that is of love, of truth and of Light. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are one."
Or in other words, "The divine within me recognizes and honors the divine within you."


mardi, mai 23, 2006

Lloyd Bentsen dies...

A good man died this morning.

His name was Lloyd Bentsen. He was a senator from Texas. I for one am saddened that the heroes of my younger days are slowly dying one by one. I met Lloyd Bentsen when I was a lot younger than I am now and a very different person than I am now.

Senator Bentsen (as he was when I met him) was an incredibly stately man. I was young at the time, but even at the age I recognized him as a man who carried himself with dignity. The level of respect he accorded himself and those around him made him a pleasure to be around, but mro than that it made him someone I admired and hoped to be myself.

I fall pretty short of that these days. In my younger years I wanted a political career. I worked for the local legislature, was a political civic reporter, aspiring to the governorship of the lovely Commonwealth of Virginia and to the Virginia State Supreme Court. He was convinced that in the future years the United States would need good people who were self-confident and self-assured and as a result met with students sometimes to ncourage them in their interests in politics.

So many things have changed in my life since then that I doubt I could be anymore what I had hoped to be there and then. Still.. being reminded of it, by his death, reminds me of what a great charge we have in life to be bigger and greater because we who have been given much, owe to our fellow man so very very much. It is our responsibility not to just pursue our bliss, but to pursue what the responsibilities we have to the world in which we live.

Every once in a while I'm reminded of the nobility of humankind that I knew when I was a child. I'm hopeful that someday I might fulfill my own hopes for achieving a place that I can do such great good for others with the same level of dignity and gracefulness.

God Bless Texas with equally wonderful people to guide her. God Bless the USA. God Bless the government of the USA. May Lloyd Bentsen's soul rest in peace.

jeudi, mai 18, 2006

Barry Sharpless's talk

"The training received in the group is neither predictable nor
quantifiable; likewise, it is not intended to produce a product that, for
example, industry wants. Since nothing original is intentionally
discovered by scientists who cannot tolerate (indeed, they should welcome
it) a high degree of uncertainty, group membership does not guarantee
results. Because of the nature of our research, however, group members
preselect themselves and possess a remarkably high degree of independence
of thought as well as scientific motives tilted toward discovery, not
reward. As a group, they hold superior standards for judging the
significance of research, and I share with all them all of the glory that
is a Nobel Prize."

If there was ever a reason to "sell" or appreciate what a graduate degree
in science is or should be about.. it would be this paragraph.. you see..
he captures something essential to the scientific lover. Someone who
finds a passion in science will chase after this elusive thing --something
significant that we can give to mankind from our minds and really then
from our hearts.

dimanche, mai 14, 2006

my response to "How to Stop Medicaid Fraud" by Steve Malanga

Steve Malanga misses an important, though perhaps complex, point in his consideration of Medicaid fraud. (See the City Journal article linked above.) The first part of this missing piece of your assessment is that the cost of the medical services and providers that overbill Medicaid are themselves expensive to educate and maintain. The second part is that Medicaid itself pays very little for services rendered, causing all sorts of ethical dilemmas within our system. The third point is that Medicaid doesn't create an atmosphere for healthy Americans by encouraging preventative medicine, but a band-aid for sick Americans. Health care reform, if our country is ever wise-enough to implement it, would entail changing the way we practice medicine, so it covers an integrative approach rather than our current attempts at healing a patient's current complaint or assuaging symptoms. If we could ever do this -and it would require the compliance of medical schools, hospitals, insurance companies, pharaceuticals, etc., which bodes badly for this ever happening- we would do more for the American public and probably lower the incidence of these kinds of infractions.

Maintenance of Healthcare Infrastructure

Any ambulette service or hospital has operating costs and a desire to make a profit. Maintaining the equipment, facilities, and staffing in order to keep the hospitals working well is not easy, no doubt, but hospital administrations are working to pay their administrative staff the huge salaries required to keep people employed in the field. When we talk about staffing, we're not just looking at the dentists, MD's, nurses, and double billing from hospitals, we're also considerinng the security staff, the lab technicians, the check-in staff,the administrators who oversee all areas of the hospital. Your wording "even hospitals" implies that you are astounded the hospitals double bill and overbill. Such an implication if it is indeed correctly interpreted on my end would indicate you have not used hospital services in quite some time. Hospitals are notorious for overbilling and doublebilling all patients --not just Medicaid.

If you would go out of your office and interview people, ask anyone who has had to go to an ER or had to have treatment of some sort in a hospital what horror stories they might personally know of. You'd be astonished. A young woman I know had a biking accident. ER physicians sent her home with a leg brace that was unnecessary in addition to crutches and a vial of prescription pain medications. An assessment by another physician revealed that she should never have been put in a leg brace and that a costly MRI should have been done instead. Another young woman I know was taken to the ER complaining of fatigue. She was admitted by the hospital erroneously as a potentially suicidal psychiatric patient. The doctor for the case afraid that she might be sued in case the girl really might be suicidal insisted that the girl be held in the hospital for observation though the patient insisted she was fine and wanted to be discharged. The doctor insisted also on putting the girl on anti-depressant drugs. After a week of normal behavior, the girl was discharged. The girl immediately stopped taking the antidepressants. She filed a complaint at the hospital, which waived her portion of the charges, but kept their payment from the insurance company for her drugs, treatment, and weeklong hospital stay. How you can think hospitals are an afterthought in the medicaid fraud is amazing to me.

Nonetheless, I would argue in their favor that hospitals are terrible to maintain. In order to pay all the necessary personnel, administrators who manage healthcare protocol, public relations staff who win over the "marketshare" of patients to choose their hospital over another one, lawyers to manage malpractice issues, security and valets to win over public trust and keep order, etc. and still make money, each hospital has to not just pay for their facility costs -electricity, water, sewage, taxes to the town/city/village/borough for the property, couches in the lobby, possibly a water fountain, etc.- , their actual medical practioner staff, technical lab staff, but also cover the tremendous cost of auxiliary staff -janitors, medical records, secretaries, computer maintenance personnel, plumbers, etc. ad nauseum. Add on the fact that diagnostic technology is expensive to purchase, upgrade, maintain, and dispose of. Medicaid doesn't pay even a fraction of a patient's fair portion of this grand production. Forget how much goes into assessing similar costs for ambulette service -mechanics, garage, etc. These services aren't in use all of the time either, but a hospital still has to pay the personnel to be on hand for a certain amount of time in case the service is needed at least between certain business hours. Some staff like lab technicians or some kinds of nursing assistants aren't even needed for the full time they are on duty. So, of course, they overbill. Is there any wonder then that hospitals work hard at defrauding Medicaid?

Cost of medical education -time, tuition vs. payoff -vacation time, salary

There are also staffers who take advantage of the system. You have a tremendous disparity among medical practioner staff. There are those nurse practioners, interns, residents, and young doctors, who work inhumanely long hours and can hardly be expected to really provide excellent care given the stress and terrible shifts they are forced to work. We hardly take note of how those people are the slave labor of hospitals nor do we give any thought to how anyone can possibly learn how to be a good doctor under such conditions. We're teaching the young medical practioners of tomorrow that they will be pushed to their breaking point every day for several years at a low salary. Any human under those conditions can develop a sense of entitlement and a lower sense of ethics. What restitution do they demand? They want to be paid well later on. They want to pay off their medical school debt of $200,000-$275,000? Of course. It doesn't take rocket science to understand this. Pursuing what is wrong with our healthcare system today requires a serious look at medical education and a serious intent to reform that system. Contrast that for example, with the life of a PA, a physician's assistant. A PA can routinely take off vacations and choose how many hours he works. His quality of life is better than the physicians and nurses with whom he works. Often if he wants he can work at two places in a hospital to make the bigger bucks for 10-20 hours a week and then at a clinic where he can really help people (without the bureaucracy) for say another 10-20 hours a week. He takes home a paycheck that is anywhere between $40,000-90,000, depending on where he works, what hours he chooses, and what his specialty is. PA's spend a great deal less money and time in their education, but can often make a similar amount of money as a doctor if not more in the first 15 years of their career after training is completed. It is the hospitals that pay the bulk of a PA's annual salary. If you were a doctor wouldn't you be jealous? You go to school for two more years than this guy, endure a training of 4-12 years more than this guy, indenture yourself and go into debt for anywhere between 200K to 300K -- and he gets easier hours and a comparable salary?! Forgetting the unpleasant issue of a doctor who overbills to make up for his education costs, the bottomline is that medicine is a business and every doctor's practice has an operating cost with similar problems to those mentioned above in the case of hospitals.

Reduction in Payments by Medicaid for Healthcare

I read recently that Medicaid may again slash how much the government will pay per service. Practically speaking, this does not solve the issue of how much we pay per Medicaid patient, nor does it help the purpose of Medicaid -which was to give healthcare to those who could not afford it. As it is, most providers are not willing to take Medicaid patients unless they *can* get more money out of the system to cover their bottom-line. I have heard from off the record sources that many doctors, nurses, hospital staff are told by administrators that they have to limit the number of medicaid patients they see (say the doctor cannot take any more new patients or make it impossible to schedule the appointment) or else try to bill more so they can recoup the losses of having a Medicaid patient. It just doesn't balance out on the books. Healing people is a profession that is difficult to do when the bottomline is always going to be making a profit. In order to keep from going into more debt (when one begins to practice medicine add malpractice insurance onto your medical school bills!), taking fewer Medicaid patients or else taking the patient and overbilling Medicaid in order to cover your costs is the only way to go.

One Ethical Dilemma: who are we making into doctors? and why?

I have even heard one young doctor agonizing over how he's going to justify to his group/partners his having accepted another Medicaid patient, because he "just couldn't turn the guy away." I think we all would prefer this kind of a compassionate person to be a doctor over the sort of person who is business-oriented. Our medical schools are geared towards the sturdier, more business-like, less sensitive, and less compassionate students. Those are the ones who come out successful, because they can stomach the long grueling shifts. They're the ones who focus on the salary and benefits prize at the end and who perfect the system for the "5 minutes with the doctor" appointments, complete with sparsely written charts full of incorrect information. One young man I know who is now a young doctor told me that if he had known he was going to speak with and see patients only 15% of the time and spend 75% of his time doing paperwork for charts, billing, and insurance, he's not sure he'd have gone into medicine. Though many of the more sensitive and compassionate people who go into medicine are horrified and unhappy about such practices, it's the more businesslike and aggressive people who make it and who force the hand in the long run. These people find a way to work the gauntlet of hospital pressures, group pressures, and insurance pressures for number of patients seen, amount billed, number of drugs prescribed, and number of procedures done. Older doctors train younger ones. The young ones who are more efficient and see more patients, bring in more money are rewarded. Most training goes on in hospitals -who have too m any business professionals screaming about profit and sales. We are creating more and more of those kinds of doctors, because of how much the education costs, the way our medical education is set up, and because of the way that the medical profession is practiced today. A profession that ought to be about compassion at its core, has the least compassion for their own practitioners, and as a result has the least compassion for all people, including Medicaid patients and the taxpayer that pays for them.

At the end of the day, if you want to stop Medicaid fraud, you have to ask why these people are doing it. We've chosen some very clever people to be our nation's medical school students, I'm sure they'll find a way to fool the system even with a team of analysts in every state. Solving the problems that push them to defraud the Medicaid system may lead you a lot farther in the long run than hiring a bunch of analysts to go checking every medicaid claim... though that's a start for helping us to pay for the reform that surely must follow.

vendredi, mai 05, 2006

Conservation of people

There IS a conservation principle in the world...

Q and R were in love in 1950. Because of various laws, they were unable to be anything more than friends. Sad as it was, they developed a very nice and rewarding friendship and revelled in the knowledge that they were kindred spirits. They agreed to remain in touch and all, but that they needed to move on and date other people.

In 1953, R met W and they were thrillingly happy. Eventually it came up that W was not of the proper legal status to marry R either. So dissolved that relationship.

In 1957, Q met Y. Y was madly in love with Q and convinced Q to get involved in a long 5 year relationship. After a while, they loved each other greatly and thought they would get married. A few incidents happened in those intervening years that caused Q to remember eventually that Y was not the right person to match Q's life. One who is more superstitiously inclined might say that Q's neshama woke Q up. At any rate, whatever the case, Q broke it off.

In 1962, Y met W. They fell fabulously in love. They got engaged and lived happily ever after. (Or so the story goes.)

Q & R found out about Y and W and rejoiced for Y and W, all the while thinking how marvellous Hashem's world is. Mah rabbu ma'asecha...

Y and W had children L, K & M.
Q married D. They had children J and F.
R married Z. They had one child T.

Many years down the road it turned out that K's son S married F's daughter E. S & E had a son B.

B married V. Guess what? V is the great-granddaughter of R and Z, the grand daughter of T.

It is said that in three generations, I shall bring you into my fold. So it is.
I'm ever amazed at the hashgacha that seems to appear in the world. It is a phenomenally intriguing thing to me.

juxtaposition of Yom HaZikaron against Yom Ha'Atzmaut

Recently, someone I'm fond of wrote the following line in an email I received...
... I never quite understood how to appropriately make the transition between Yom Ha’Zikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut…

I'm curious about that statement... and curious, too, to know what you all think of it for yourselves and what your comments might be regarding my thoughts below inspired by the statement.

Isn't the transition similar to that of Ta'anit Ester to Purim and Ta'anit Bechorot (though for most people ta'anit bechorot is a joke, because people just make a siyum to get out of it) to Pesach? Part of the fast is that lives hang in the balance --ours or theirs. Specifically, we mourn both the lives we have already lost as subjects to Pharaoh in the case of Pesach, the lives we might lose to Haman's people in Purim, and the lives we did lose defending and regaining Israel in Ha'Atzmaut, right? So in each celebration there is a twinge of the sadness and pain that came -hence the drinking on Purim -we also drink to dull the pain of the deaths, not just to make merry- and the affliction of Pesach, many died in Mitzrayim, and in the nesim that were made for our sakes -the actual passing over our homes and our firstborn as well as the death of those in the Yam Suf, so when we eat matza and we spill wine -which in those days was precious- we are "saddened" (lesser and lessened so to speak, bad pun, sorry) and likewise the juxtaposition of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'Atzmaut, no? Or am I just imagining the similarity of those connections?

Perhaps I am waxing philosophical, but I think it is natural to ask -- is there any simcha in all of Am Yisrael that does not come with pain?

For myself, I would answer no. I think that might be borne out by Jewish history. This idea appears in Milton's _Paradise Lost_ and in "the paradox of the fortunate fall." I would then propose that the reason we juxtapose the pieces that you and I see of Yom HaZikaron before Yom Ha'Atzmaut here, because we want to never forget that one prize of being alive, being among those who can do and are alive to do, is that we can gain sensitivity and as such we implement strategies to cause the living of Am Yisrael to always remember first the pain and then to rejoice so that we don't take for granted what we rejoice about and that we don't lose sight of the fact that as we are brought up, so too we can be brought low --the inscription that is fabled to have been on Shlomo HaMelekh's ring "this too shall pass" or what goes up comes down, the ages old idea -though particularly prominent in the Middle Ages- of Fortune's wheel. If that might be a worthy answer then the transition is that in mourning we value what gift the ones who are dead now gave us and in celebrating we remember we are lucky -and perhaps only just so, perhaps it is not that we are any more deserving than the next people- to have what we have. On a broader scale, maybe it is a lesson about not swinging to extremes,I suppose too. When one is happy, remembering not to be too happy, when one is sad, not to be too sad. I like that lesson a great deal less, because it seems to be very much against being fully present in the moment, but perhaps. for my own preference, I would say that the transition between the two is that it is really one whole thing, just that the first thing is to remember that we have paid for our celebration and so in our celebration to be sensitive to others.

I have always been a tiny bit torn, because, as much as I'm probably closer to a settler type and feel sad about giving up land Jews fought and died for, I have always wondered what Arabs living in Israel felt about Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'Atzmaut and whether there wasn't a better way to handle the whole thing.

If you've time to respond, I would greatly love to know your thoughts, though I more than understand if you haven't the time to do so right now.

mardi, mai 02, 2006

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? By Edward Albee

Uncontestably touted as one of the most stunning dramas in our time, _who's Afraid of viriginia Woolf_ by Edward Albee throws low punches and scores hits in the most tender parts without fail. The work highlights humankind's most powerful drive to continue the species and how childlessness can in so many ways be a total renunciation of all that we think we are meant to mbe.

Anthropologist Emily Martin, formerly Emily Ahern, wrote about how Western medical texts portrayed a woman as nothing without children. Albee's text shows that this tremendous power of reproduction actually extends even further to male-female relationships. In the sort of contemptuous banter that many a husband and wife fall into in the later stages of their marriages.. Albee shows us all too clearly perhaps how one's incrediblly low self-esteem can destroy relationships... where the words are just cover for the vital subtext that is pervasive in our society. Pepole who are brash, braying, aggressive on the surface, but inwardly really are just incredibly unsure of themselves and terrifyingly unhappy about who they are, their failings, and who they have become.

The power of this play and the fact thatit still strikes people so deeply shows us just how accurate Albee's portrayal of our world is. The simple fact that people have applauded the play reveals to us that its message clearely still applies today as much as it did in 1962 when it was first written. (much like Hansberry's _A Raisin in the Sun_)

Martha is a classic discontented housewife on the surface.

I should have been working, but I stopped to do something I really wanted to do instead, which is read another play. I love reading plays. If I could figure out how to be a good playwright I might do that someday in my life... anyway I read Edward Albee's _Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?_ It was a stunning.. truly truly stuning play.

I was really touched by its portrayal of how much having children and childrearing itself are a huge part of our sense of self-worth. and more than that at how low sense of self-worth hurts marriages/relationships and causes people to respond and react in really angry and hurtful manners.. the substance of the anger Albee wrote and created isn't that the people don't love each other, but rather that there is such a combination of hurts and pains that they can't help it, because no one else knows or sees their pain as deeply as the spouse/friend, etc... and so the firing of shots in a huge way is miscommuniation on the small level, but on the wider level it is totally understood by both George and Martha -and even I suspect Nick at the end- as the cry of pain from one woman and her total psyche from how much she hates herself ro not having children, for not thinking she is worthy of love, and onwards to how those things are expressed in awful mean-sounding barbs to other people... but really are just an expression of the misery that she is in. The interaction Albee sketches out for us is a means of saying "I'm miserable" --not just without actually having to say "I'm miserable," but in a manner that can reveal more about our misery than simply the words "I'm miserable." It is fascinating that humans need to communicate that deeply in fact.. and is obvious to some level that when the misery is at a certain level and the person is in dire need of someone to hear and know and connect with them in their level of pain that this method of caustic barbs are how some people can choose whether unconsciously or consciously to express the pain. (I don't think I had ever recognized that people are actively expressing pain in this fashion having always thought that crabbiness was a byproduct of being miserable. It seems thought aht on some level, even if it is unconscious as I belive most such expressions are, the suspicion remains in my mind that such an expression is actually the subconscious reaching out and trying to tell another person how unhappy he/she is deep inside. In which case also, any time someone is mean, hurtful, or crabby, really then I should be looking to see were and how that person is hurting inside rather than being hurt, taking offense, or responding the way we all tend to with our own hurt and upset. A fascinating concept for how to rule one's own emotions and passions.)

It is so easy to see that in the people around us all the time. The pain a human being can feel is an amazing thing. It isn't as simple as I hurt, but rather extends through time, through memories, through emotions, and interpersonal connections, and even connections to inanimate things.. all those cells and chemicals in the brain uniquely connected (unique in that it is different from one human to the next) to formulate a signature of pain that reeals itself in one of the most common ways that human beings can reveal pain.

I'm really impressed by Albee's writing. I hope someday I can write like that. I really do. It's fascinating that he can capture people so clearly in their moment of unconsciousness and bring the pain up so sharply that we can see it as readers or an audience.
Nothing moves me like literature. I suppose I like nothing morethan reading literature, psychology, and histories. It's a it sad considering what I do. I'm considering changging fields becuase I think it would be more in line with my character and make my life less of a struggle.