Be careful with your prescriptions

I take several medications.  I was ordering a refill from my local pharmacy when I noticed there was a medication that was ready for pickup.  The only problem was that I had no idea what it was.  I called the pharmacy to have them check.  It turned out the pharmacy tech miskeyed a prescription name.  This is not the first time I have seen this happen.  With meds, just like any other aspect of healthcare, we must be our own advocates. 

Another place I encourage you to take ownership of is drug interactions.  Although the pharmacy is supposed to check for these, sometimes they don’t.  Sites like WebMD (www.webmd.com) and Drugs.com (www.drugs.com) are excellent resources.  I particularly like the one on Drugs.com.  If you look on the left side of the home page, under “Featured Services,” you will find the “Interactions Checker.”  Another great feature on Drugs.com is the “Pill Idenifier.”  If you ever come across a pill that you are unsure of, you can enter things like the pill’s shape, color, and imprint.

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The Gettysburg Address

This Memorial Day, we should consider the words of President Lincoln as he reminded our nation of those that gave their lives during The American Revolution at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of the Civil War’s Battle of Gettysburg where 7,863 soldiers died in three days of gruesome fighting.

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

President Abraham Lincoln
November 1863

Anna Kournikova

It was recently announced that Anna Kournikova would be replacing Jillian Michaels as a trainer on the popular TV show, “The Biggest Loser.” Ms. Kournikova was touted as a world-class athlete. She played a lot of world-class athletes but rarely beat them. Her consistent losing made its way into the jargon of the Texas Hold ’em poker game. For those not familiar with the game, each player is dealt two “hold” cards face down. The players combine these cards with five community cards that are dealt face up to make the best poker hand. Various hold card pairs get names for a variety of reasons. The combination of a two and a ten is called a “Doyle Brunson” because of a historic hand Brunson won with those hold cards.

The combination of an Ace and a King is notorious in Texas Hold’em because inexperienced players will bet a lot of money on this pair of cards since they are the two highest cards in the deck. The reality is, even the lowliest scoring hand, a pair of deuces, beats an Ace and a King. What is the nickname for this hand? It is called the Anna Kournikova. Ask a poker player why the Ace / King hold card pair is called Anna Kournikova and you will hear something to the effect of, “it’s the prettiest hand that never wins.”

Maybe it is apropos for Anna to be on “The Biggest Loser.” After all, one thing she knows a lot about is losing big.

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tricks

Mignon Fogarty, a/k/a Grammar Girl, makes English grammar attainable and fun.  Through her wit and dry sense of humor, Mignon conveys knowledge that, in my opinion, the majority of Americans do not have.  Communication skills are the great equalizer. My grandfather, who never saw college, always taught me that if I was clear in my communications, I would overcome all sorts of obstacles that those lacking the same skills would face every day.  Grammar Girl provides a great service to the English-speaking world.  She is also an amazing entrepreneur.

http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/

My favorite movie quotation

Without a doubt, my favorite quotation from a movie is David Carradine’s “Superman monologue” that occurs at the end of Kill Bill, vol. 2. Here it is:

“As you know…
…l’m quite keen on comic books.
Especially the ones about superheroes.
I find the whole mythology
surrounding superheroes fascinating.
Take my favorite superhero, Superman.
Not a great comic book.
Not particularly well-drawn.
But the mythology…
The mythology is not only great,
it’s unique.
Now, a staple of the superhero
mythology is,
there’s the superhero
and there’s the alter ego.
Batman is actually Bruce Wayne,
Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker.
When that character wakes up
in the morning, he’s Peter Parker.
He has to put on a costume
to become Spider-Man.
And it is in that characteristic
Superman stands alone.
Superman didn’t become Superman.
Superman was born Superman.
When Superman wakes up
in the morning, he’s Superman.
His alter ego is Clark Kent.
His outfit with the big red “S” –
that’s the blanket he was wrapped in
as a baby when the Kents found him.
Those are his clothes.
What Kent wears – the glasses,
the business suit – that’s the costume.
That’s the costume Superman wears
to blend in with us.
Clark Kent is how Superman views us.
And what are the characteristics
of Clark Kent?
He’s weak…
…he’s unsure of himself…
…he’s a coward.
Clark Kent is Superman’s critique
on the whole human race.”

My personal manifesto

Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I’ve taken some time to be alone, in quiet, and examine what I believe. Some of these are theological, some philosophical, and others are political. They are in no particular order and may not be comprehensive. These are right for me. You may feel differently and I’d love to civilly and respectfully discuss those differences. Here is the result of my self-examination of what I stand for. These things are an integrated unit so if you are interested, read them all first and then we should talk. I believe…

1. In the active participation of God in the world He created.

2. That God is knowable within the limits of human understanding.

3. That God is eternal, having always been and will always be.

4. All human life is to be completely protected from the moment it has a unique set of genes until it dies, even if the existence of that life is inconvenient or unwanted.

5. The earth is our home and we must use it responsibly and with a vision to preserve it while being able to enjoy it fully and so future generations will have that enjoyment as well.

6. In an America where the basics of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the rule.

7. The law of the land is to be subject to the Constitution as it was originally intended by those who wrote it.

8. That as we have grown in our understanding the inherent equality of all people and the liberties due to them, the amending of the Constitution was necessary and within the view of the framers of it.

9. The Constitution is not dynamic. If the people believe there is a deficiency in the Constitution it must be amended, not reinterpreted.

10. Private citizens and the state and federal governments should seek to live with as little debt as absolutely possible and live within their means.

11. To enjoy the inherent rights due to Americans, people must either be citizens, legally pursuing citizenship, or working in this country with appropriate permission.

12. The role the judicial system is to decide on conformance to the law, not to create, modify, or do away with laws.

13. That people who are capable of discerning what is right are accountable for their actions.

14. When people have violated the law they must be proportionately and uniformly deprived of their liberty after having been informed of their violation and convicted by a jury of their peers. When their debts are paid they must be freed and reintegrated into society.

15. Trust is earned and not deserved.

16. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Because of that, education of history must be how it really happened, not how we wish it had happened, even if it was embarrassing.

17. Nobody is privileged above anyone else.

18. When incontrovertible evidence exists, accountable people that have permanently removed people’s rights by depriving them of their lives with premeditation deserve to lose their lives.

19. The role of the legislature, both federal and state, is to make sure necessary laws exist to provide for the preservation of all people’s constitutional rights.

20. That I am entitled to practice my beliefs as are all others as long as the practice of those beliefs does not violate the rights granted to all Americans by the Constitution or as established in public law.

21. All people have a right to believe in their understanding of God, even if that belief is that there is none.

22. A free market is the best way to encourage innovation and promote prosperity.

23. Government is to serve the people at the pleasure of the people and to ensure that their constitutional rights are not violated. It should only be as large as needed to do that.

24. Legislators are obligated to personally read page of every resolution they vote on and to confirm that reading under oath or affirmation.

25. The law must be understandable by and be available to the general public.

26. The states have the right to self-government to the point where they either interact with each other, they come under the jurisdiction of the federal government, or when they attempt to enact laws that violate the rights of those protected by the Constitution.

27. Dogma and ignorance are dangerous. We should know what we believe and why we believe it.

28. People, in order to know their rights, must make themselves aware of them.

29. Philanthropy, while not required, should be encouraged. A society is most noble when people willingly share their resources of time and money.

30. The press is responsible to report the news, not create it. Conjecture and unverified information are gossip, not news. Commentary is one person’s opinion, not news.

31. The exchange of ideas is essential to a thriving society.

32. Being a government leader is a privilege that people that may occasionally step into and then return to private life in the midst of their constituents to maintain an understanding of their situation.

33. Our nation is a mosaic, not a melting pot.

34. The freedom of thought and the right to publish that thought must be supported, even if it is repugnant to others. Only actions contrary to the law that grow from those thoughts may be punished or restricted.

35. The practice of civility is extremely important to society and it includes civil disobedience.

36. In the sovereignty of nations and their right to exercise it. We are not the world’s police force nor its conscience.

37. We are to respect our leaders, even if we don’t agree with them.

38. If those who lead us fail to serve us legally, we have the right to require and execute a vote of confidence, even before the end of their terms.

39. The national military has one and only one purpose. That is, provide for the common defense of the nation. Our defense must be robust enough to deal with all threats in a swift and decisive manner. It is not in our prerogative to invade other nations unless it is expressly for the rescue and recovery of American citizens or the direct and proportionate reponse to aggression against out nation.

40. Sacrifice is the ultimate manifestation love and it was embodied by Jesus Christ through His life and death for the purpose of bridging the gap between God and humanity.

41. We have a responsibility to educate our children as locally as possible. That means education should be provided in the home, in the towns, and in the counties and that taxes must be structured to support that.

42. Tax should be levied in proportion to income at the same rate for all people.

43. God will ultimately turn our world into His literal kingdom and He will rule over us in our midst as our King.

44. All people are accountable in eternity to God regardless of belief or lack of belief in God.

45. This world will ultimately be changed to a place where no tears are shed and there is no death and war.

46. We exist to glorify God and enjoy God forever.

47. The simplest understanding of what God requires of us is to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

48. Just because we can do a thing does not mean we should do a thing.

49. There is one and only one human race. We have many ethnicities and phenotypes that determine what we look like, not what kind of people we are.

50. War is always awful. Sometimes it is necessary. It should always be ended as soon as possible.

51. Justice should be swift. People should not languish in jail awaiting a trial.

52. If it’s legal and you don’t like it then don’t do it. If you think it’s wrong that it’s legal then work to have the law changed.

53. Believing in absolutes does not make someone narrow-minded.

54. Discrimination is always wrong thus discernment is always necessary.

55. In order for justice to be served, punishments must fit crimes. The punishment must also be in line with the permanence of the harm done. Rape, murder, and child molestation have life-long impacts that must be punished with the highest degree of serevity because the affects of them are so indelible.

56. Our nation is a pluralistic nation, not a secular one. There is always room for people to express and practice their beliefs and philosophies. The only power the government has in regard to this is to ensure that all people having a particular faith keep the freedom to practice it without showing preference to any faith or philosophy.

57. The rights to speak and assemble freely require people to respect those rights in others, even if they don’t agree with them. E.g., I believe in God and although I may do so freely, speak my beliefs freely, and assemble with others having common beliefs freely, it would be completely inappropriate, and even wrong, if I were to walk into an assembly of humanists and shout them down because in doing so, I am denying them of the uninhibited exercise of their rights to speak and assemble freely.

58. Members of the American military must never answer to the command of officers of any nation but ours.

59. The government, both state and federal, has no jurisdiction when it comes to allowing, restricting, or defining the marriage of two consenting, responsible adults.

60. All taxpaying citizens that are married should enjoy the benefits their taxes provide for each other at the state and federal levels, period.

61. Habeas corpus is the right of all people that are under the authority of the government, either by citizenship or by arrest by agents of the government. The suspension of habeas corpus must only be as brief as possible and as locally as possible to deal with the frenzy of war and must then be reinstituted as soon as possible. Furthermore, during periods where it is suspended, regular congressional review of the continued need for that suspension must be conducted.

62. Violating the civil rights of American citizens is not acceptable to enforce the law. Exceptional situations must always be dealt with by the issuance of a proper warrant even if it means that a judge must be inconvenienced to grant such a warrant.

63. As a signer of the four Geneva Conventions the United States is obligated to act in accordance with them even when our enemies do not.

64. The government has no business dictating what I put into my body.

65. The governor of each state has the responsibility to establish an armed militia that may be called upon to temporarily ensure that the civil rights of that state’s residents are not violated. Thus, the right of people to own and bear arms must be preserved.

66. The practice of eminent domain is wrong, all the time, every time.

67. The government may not own, establish, or control a business in the private sector. Necessary interstate public services such as the postal service should be paid for directly by those using the service when they use the service.

68. Taxes, tolls, fees, and fines are to be used only for the services related to them.

69. The government has no jurisdiction over intra-state commerce.

70. The government must be subject to its own laws to include fair hiring practices and anti-trust.

71. All government agencies must be subject to public and independent audits on a regular basis.

72. Any presidential appointee must be subject to congressional review and approval.

Welcome to the world of my random musings

For years, many of my friends have encouraged me to start a blog.  I guess it is about time to listen.

What do I have to offer?  I think about random things at all times and I really enjoy writing about them.  My background is very eclectic so I really don’t know what I’ll be writing about until I think of it.  This blog has no theme.  If George Carlin (R.I.P) hadn’t used the title “Brain Droppings,” I would have used that as the title of this blog.

I might come at things from my educational background.  My degrees are in Psychology, Sociology, Military Science, and Biblical Studies.  Before I was ready for it, I started working toward a Doctor of Sacred Ministries degree.  Currently, I am working on a Master of Information Systems and following it with a Doctorate in Education.

Another approach might be vocational.  My job history includes electronics repair, shoe sales, military service, help desk, pastoring a church, software instruction, programming, Web development, legal technology analysis, business analysis, and systems analysis.  When I grow up, I want to be a professor of as many disciplines as I can get my hands on.

One other possible tack might be from my passions, which are very important to me, but are subject to change if I feel like it.  Some of these include theology, philosophy, ethics, marital equality (a/k/a gay rights), technology, politics, the U.S. Constitution, libertarianism, economics, grammar, and music.

I’m up past my curfew so this is it for my first post.