The Book!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Grandma McMillan




Grandma McMillan, who lived out the station road
Raised six daughters and a son through the depression
And, of a Wednesday in later life, her youngest came to visit,
My mother,

With a daughter and three sons.

She would walk with grandpa to the gate for welcome,
Though grandpa was unsure who we were,
There being so many.

And mama talked to grandma in the kitchen
While grandpa talked to us;
Made tea with canned milk on the Franklin stove
And spilt it
Rubbed whiskers and asked if he were handsome
Looked at us with eyes now cloudy, watery blue.

Grandma McMillan, big as a boulder and laughed a lot
Sideways,
And with her whole body,
Would be, in summer, somewhere in her garden
In a broad straw hat
Or at the kitchen table, anchoring house
While grandpa padded randomly into town.

And so I saw him time to time homeward from school
On a park bench, waiting for the train
And knew this old man, cane-gripped, had vaguely to do with me
And thought nothing; or nothing I could know.
He would not nod or smile as I walked by;
And his eyes were cloudy, watery blue.

And one day he was gone.

Grandma McMillan, whose wallpaper was ivy,
Called me to her room the day before the day before she died,
And said nothing.
We looked out window at the early spring
Squirrels nuzzling snow for breadcrumbs;
Too much snow and too few breadcrumbs, I thought.
And one uncanny robin.
We looked, then she told me to go.

And she was gone.

And her eyes, the last I saw her eyes,
Seemed like her dead husband's eyes. 
Cloudy, watery blue.
-- Stephen K. Roney


Fixing the Health Care System


The aging population is putting an increasing strain on OHIP and other provincial health plans. On the other hand, our current health care system is absurdly inefficient. We ought to be able to cut costs.

The monopoly given to doctors to prescribe causes vast extra costs to nobody's benefit but the doctors'. In the real world, a patient who has been taking a medicine for years is likely to know more about it than the doctor they have to go to to renew a prescription. Proposal: as in some other countries, give pharmacists the right to prescribe. That alone would cut out a huge number of unnecessary doctor visits.

Add a small deductible to public health insurance. This would discourage frivolous doctor and hospital visits, without really keeping anyone who needs it from health care. The true value of health insurance is in covering catastrophic expenses, not a quick clinic visit to see about a nosebleed.

For purely political reasons, we currently publicly fund some voluntary procedures. For financial reasons, even aside from human rights concerns, we should not fund abortion and sex change operations.

We are already at the point that AI software can diagnose more reliably than a human doctor. The rigorous educational qualifications we require of MDs are a waste. We ought to allow someone with the training of a nurse to diagnose and prescribe treatment in most cases, with the aid of diagnostic software, referring on to specialists only for more complicated treatments.

We ought to allow those who want to to pay extra for prompt treatment outside the government system. Yes, this gives the rich an advantage, but it is a matter of human rights--the right to life, and the right to property. Moreover, it helps everyone by taking some strain off the public system--making it easier to give essential care to the poor, with shorter waiting times. The one danger is that doctors might abandon the public system en masse. To prevent this, doctors' fees might be capped; or, better, a certain number of years spent in the public system might be required before a doctor could legally practice outside it.

Makes more sense than rationing treatment, which is where we are now.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Politically Correct Book Titles



It hasn’t happened yet, but it is bound to happen soon. If those oppressive dead white males really eant us to keep their sexist writings on the English Lit curriculum, they are going to have to do something about male hegemonic, cisnormative and otherwise obviously discriminatory titles. White privilege only goes so far.


For example:

Goodbye, Mr., Miss, Mrs, Ms. or Mx. Chips

The Sun Also Rises, and the Moon Also Also Rises

Doctor Faustum

A Farewell to Arms and Legs

The Senior Citizen and the Sea

Ben-It

The Person’s Not For Burning

Moby Dick and Jane

Lad: A Dog; And Lassie: A Bitch

The Body-Shamed Duckling

Friday and His White Colonial Oppressor

Return of the First Nations Individual

The Capitalist Bourgeois of Venice

Aboriginal Descendant

The Kyphosis Sufferer of Notre Dame

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Issues to Ponder

One in every four humans is Chinese.

Now, look at the person on your right. Look at the person on your left. Look at the person behind you.

Draw your own conclusions.