On a different note, my brother made what he is reporting to be his final blog post this weekend. I'm not sure I want to get too sentimental about the purported end the League of Melbotis because, as I've repeatedly told Ryan, I'm just not sure that this supposed end to his blog is going to stick, or that he won't just start up a new blog somewhere else. (yes, the appropriate comparisons to Brett Favre's retirement and Ozzy Osbourne's repeated farewell tours have already been made) Without putting too fine a point on it, I remember sitting in Jeff Wilson's backyard years ago (Ryan and Jamie were still living in Arizona) and having a conversation over a beer about why The League kept threatening to end his own blog. Anyway, the possibility that The League of Melbotis might come to an end has been sort of an ongoing theme of the blog, and so I'm not sure that The League won't return once he gets a break from the blog for awhile and gets a chance to work on some other things (my brother is also a talented fiction writer and artist, so hopefully he'll find a way to do some work in those directions).
All of this being said, if, in fact, this does turn out to actually be the end of The League of Melbotis, I would be remiss in not taking a moment to point out my appreciation for it. My brother's blog helped to inspire me to start my own blog over five years ago, and I've met a lot of good people and had a lot of positive experiences by way of The League of Melbotis.
While he'll occasionally go off on a rant or express some frustration on his blog, I would probably also have to admit that my brother's blog has consistently been more entertaining than my own. Ryan has managed to infuse his blog with a sense of humor and, generally, a greater sense of cheerfulness than I think I tend to project on my blog. Where I've pretty much come at blogging from a standpoint of rumination, emotional venting, and cheap self therapy, Ryan has done a considerably better job of keeping his audience in mind- keeping them entertained, interested, and engaged. I like my blog for what I get out of it, but it seems pretty clear to me that Ryan's blog is probably more fun to read and that he just does a much better job of pleasing his readers.
Anyway, I have a fair amount of confidence that The League of Melbotis will eventually arise again in one form or the other, but if not, it's been a fun ride, and I want to thank Ryan for the experience. I've looked forward to checking for new posts and reading them on a daily basis for years now, so its absence will be missed. Good luck with your new endeavors, League.
What else? I watched Public Enemies this weekend on DVD. For those who don't know, this was a Michale Mann movie that told the story of John Dillinger, played by Johnny Depp, and his pursuit by FBI agent Melvin Purvis, played by Christian Bale. It had decent acting, cinematography, direction, and even music, but in the end it was a pretty forgettable movie. The movie hit some of the major points of Dillinger's career, exploring the strange relationship between the abk robber and the law enforcement agents pursuing him, but in the end the movie just didn't give a very compelling reason to be interested in Dillinger as a character (or at least nothing that would make him any more compelling than any other bank robber that we've seen in a heist movie), and the bank robberies, while well depicted, didn't really bring anything new to the table in terms of a heist movie. Anyway, Public Enemies wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that interesting, either.
What else? Well, I took Cassidy to the dog park yesterday, and I had band practice.
Cassidy really had an extra good time at the park on Sunday. She found a few dog friends to play with and wore herself out.
And the Senate passed its version of a health care reform bill late last night, so Democrats are claiming a victory as their bill moves toward reconciliation with the House version of the bill and a final vote. I guess I'm guardedly happy that a health care reform bill was passed by the Senate, but my satisfaction is significantly diminished by the absence of a public option and the removal of a provision which would have allowed for a Medicare buy in for people 55 and older. I guess I won't really feel good about this bill until I see the thing working and see that it's keeping a significantly greater population of the American people insured and keep[ing healthcare costs down. The bill includes a mandate for insurance coverage (so now people will be breaking the law if they don't have coverage), but it also includes subsidies for people who aren't able to afford coverage on their own. The bill also prevents insurance companies from denying people insurance because of pre-existing conditions, limits total out of pocket expenses, and creates insurance exchanges which are designed to help small businesses, the unemployed, and the self employed find afford coverage.
So there are some things in there to feel really good about. At least theoretically.
In practice, I still have some serious questions about whether this bill will ultimately bring down health care costs. Without a public option, it still seems like there's some danger that the insurance companies will continue to manipulate the system, collude, and find ways to artifically inflate prices. I still think that the creation of a public option would probably have been the best safeguard against manipulation and artificial cost inflation, but, despite some considerable skepticism, I'm trying not to judge this new bill to harshly until we see how it works. Hopefully this bill will help to relieve some of the worst problems that Americans have been facing because of defects in the current system (including inability to get coverage and health care related bankruptcies). I'm just worried about whether or not prices will really stay under control. Implementing a mandate for coverage if prices can't be kept at reasonable levels seems like it could create really serious problems.
So I just hope that some good comes out of this bill. I'm glad that something got passed, but I'll save any full throated endorsement or celebration until we see the bill having real, measurable effects (and all of this, of course, assuming that a final version of the bill ever gets passed at all).
Well, I guess that's it for now! Hope you guys are starting off your Chritmas week on the right foot!