Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Too Big to Fail... I Think Not

Over the past several months I've pondered on many occasions the thought of switching financial institutions. Bank Of America is my current home and although I've never had any major problems with them they certainly haven't done society much good lately. And so that nauseating feeling of supporting big greed and over compensated executives eats at me. So as big of a pain in the ass as it can be I think I'll be biting the bullet and moving on to support a local credit union or bank that is more in line with the community's best interest. Anyone want to join me?


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Best Part About Life

I know I may get some flack or jokes about sharing this video and song with the rest of the world but for once in my life I don't care. This makes me happy and I hope it puts a smile on your face too :-)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

One of These Is Not Like The Others - Bean Burritos, Digit Exchanges, Taco Bell

On my way home to Tampa from Miami a couple of weekends ago I stopped at the Taco Bell in Naples for a few quick bean burritos and the subsequent stop at the restroom. Well the burritos went down silky smooth and then I slipped into the bathroom. There's a stall and a urinal and I pick the stall naturally since I'm just that kind of guy (more privacy). A couple seconds after I shut the stall door I hear someone come in and see their black tenny shoes under the stall door. They stand at the urinal for like 8 seconds and then flush and leave. Now mind you I have yet to even get my belt buckle undone so this guy must have been the fastest pisser in the world! So I do my thing and start washing my hands at the sink located within my stall. Then the door opens again and I see the same black pair of tenny shoes under the stall door. As soon as I dry my hands and open the door there stands little Paco the employee or whatever his name is with a folded register receipt extended in his hand to me. At this point I'm thinking to myself "Did I leave my receipt and is it really that important that Paco hunts me down in the bathroom to give it to me!?"

So finally I said to Paco "What's this?" He just hands it to me in complete silence. So I unfold it and he says "That's my phone number." Inside my mind I'm like "Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!" But on the outside I was as cool, calm, and collected as Tiger Woods on the 72nd hole of a major. Believe me you would have been proud of me. So I says to Paco "I'm sorry I'm not interested." He responds in pure disbelief "Why NOT?!!" Now I'm rarely speechless in my life but I was at a loss for this one. Didn't know what to say and was stunned for like a good 10 seconds which is an eternity when you find yourself alone in a Taco Bell bathroom while being the recipient of unwanted advances by a short gay Cuban boy towards you (not that I have anything against the gay community). So eventually after I instinctually quenched my legs together to protect my nutsack I was finally able to mutter "I'm sorry. I'm not like that. I don't live here." I'm not sure why I apologized or why I felt the need to tell him I didn't reside in the city of Nipples... I mean Naples but it just came out. Then I quickly bolted for the bathroom door and then through the main doors of Taco Bell and back into the safety of my car. Whew!!! I think I'll stop at Subway next time when I hit Naples up :-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Honeymoon Is Over

And now I know why I'm presently still single :-)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A New York Story - An Angel From Queens

Who said that New Yorkers were rude and self absorbed?  Jorge Munoz proves this stereotype completely wrong.  He provides meals for the homeless each and every night.  And he doesn't do this at a homeless shelter.  He uses his very own home to cook the meals in and his own vehicle to transport and finally deliver them to people in need.  He doesn't ask questions of anybody.  He doesn't want anything in return.  He just helps.  And his definition of helping means approximately 70,000 meals served over a 4 year period.

If only every single one of us could live up to the standard that Jorge is setting then America's true capabilities as the ultimate unselfish nation could finally be realized.  Watch the video here - A real life "Angel".  Or you can click on the video below.

Just remember that you can also make a difference by volunteering to serve others
even if it's not on the scale of what Jorge is doing. All it takes is a little time,
dedication, and commitment. Believe me you'll be a better person for it and so
will the receiver of your kindness and compassion. I know because I've been there
myself and continue to keep volunteering for the betterment of my fellow human

Follow up video:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Biggest Key To Health Care Reform In The U.S. Is YOU!

I want you to look at the following list and then tell me what the title should be. Ready...

1) Heart Disease
2) Cancer
3) Stroke
4) Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases
5) Accidents
6) Diabetes
7) Alzheimer's Disease
8) Influenza & Pneumonia
9) Kidney Disease
10) Septicemia

Do you have a guess as to what this list stands for yet? Need some help? This is the final report of the leading causes of death in the U.S. for the year 2006 which was published in April of 2009 by the CDC.

According to the National Coalition On Health Care the U.S. spent a total of $2.4 trillion dollars on health care in 2007 which works out to be $7,900 per person and 17% of our total GDP. If nothing is done with our current system then these numbers are expected to reach a total of $4.3 trillion dollars by 2017 which would be equivalent to 20% of GDP. All of this while we currently have a little over 15% of the population with no health care coverage and many more millions under insured.


But you already knew that now didn't you. So what can we do about all this? We could argue back and forth like the politicians do. They quickly forget about people like my friend Kate - Health Care Reform Touches Home.

However, I truly believe that there is a better answer. I believe that an overwhelming majority of our health care expenditures come down to the many decisions that YOU and I make on an everyday basis. That's right! Our success or failure as a country to reduce costs in an effort to provide access to quality health care for all Americans is not determined by our government or politicians or even our doctors. It's determined by YOU and I! How is this you say?

In Part I below I will explain to you how the everyday choices of over 300,000,000 Americans has a tremendous impact on 7 of the top 10 leading causes of death from above excluding accidents, influenza & pneumonia, and septicemia. Your choices in diet, exercise habits, and lifestyle are the major determining factors of not only your own overall health care costs in these regards but also everybody else's too. And it is in these key areas where the majority of success can be obtained in providing long term health care reform in the U.S.

In Part II below I will discuss some key points that I believe need to be taken to correct the inadequacies of the structural and organizational components of our current health care system. And I would encourage you to write your federal representatives as I have done so already to voice your opinion and provide them with your solutions regarding health care reform. Here is a website for you to find their information - Contact Your Representative.

Part I

If everyone including you chooses to take a more responsible role in their own individual lives then we as a country can virtually eliminate 7 of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. and substantially reduce overall health care costs. Here's how you and I can do this...

  1. Diet - The vast majority of Americans have an extremely unhealthy diet. This is by far the most important area in my mind where we can make a difference. As Americans we eat foods that are much to high in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and many other unhealthy ingredients. This leads to heart disease, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and many more diseases that diminish our quality of life, empty our bank accounts, and ultimately lead to our cause of death. Here's how you can make some major improvements in your life with diet... Transition to a diet that includes only fruits, vegetables, whole grains, plant based proteins, and is low in fat. Remember to also add a vitamin B12 supplement in addition to this. To learn more I highly recommend that you read The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. You can also view these websites Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's site, Dr. John McDougall's site, Dr. Joel Fuhrman's site, Vegetarian Times and Shattering The Meat Myth.
  2. Exercise - At least 30 minutes of cardio 3 times a week is sufficient. Don't overdo it! Work at a pace that's comfortable for you. Of course you should always check with your physician to ensure you are healthy enough to start an exercise program.
  3. Lifestyle Choices - Stop smoking and/or drinking excessively! And obviously illegal drugs are out of the question along with inappropriate use of prescription medications. Drinking one serving of red wine a day has been shown to be very heart healthy according to the Mayo Clinic. Find ways to reduce stress which include yoga, meditation, praying, etc. Get plenty of regular sleep - at least 8 hours a day.

Part II

Here are some specific reforms that need to be put in place in order to have a health care system in the U.S. that empowers us to succeed instead of encouraging us to fail as is the case with our current system.

  1. Restructure the reimbursement system to reward health care providers and organizations for providing proactive medical care instead of reactive medical care. Preventative care needs to be the cornerstone of our health care reimbursement system.
  2. Create an alternative public plan that anyone can buy into in order to provide competition to the unregulated capitalistic private health care insurance industry.
  3. Prohibit any public or private plan from discriminating against pre-existing conditions.
  4. Prohibit any public or private plan from making a profit on BASIC medical care. This is done all over the world and done very successfully. Making a profit as an insurance company on lifestyle procedures (face lifts, liposuction, etc.) would be permitted.
  5. Prohibit any public or private plan from setting any annual or lifetime cap on medical benefits.
  6. Allow patients to choose any doctor, hospital, or clinic they want.
  7. Provide the necessary funding for 100% conversion to electronic medical records.
  8. Reduce administrative costs by coming up with one single way that health care providers and insurance companies bill for services. Taiwan currently issues electronic cards (similar to a credit card) to all its citizens and this is what is used for all billing transactions. Their administrative costs are a little over 2% as opposed to over 20% in the U.S.
  9. Invest heavily in diet and lifestyle public education. We've done this before with the stop smoking campaigns over the years and it can be done again with healthy diet and lifestyle education.
  10. Consider subsidizing memberships for U.S. citizens to a gym or recreational facility.
  11. Prohibit lobbying of any kind by any health care related industry in politics. The business done on K street needs to end for good!
  12. Put a cap on the amount that can be awarded for malpractice lawsuits. Individuals and families should be compensated for gross negligence but receiving $10 or $20 million dollars instead of $1 million is not going to make that patient or family happier in the long run. And it only serves to increase costs for everyone due to pure GREED!
To learn more about the pros and cons of healthcare systems around the world watch this program - Sick Around The World. We can learn a lot from our worldly neighbors. We can also learn a lot from practicing preventative medicine. Please visit this website to learn more about that topic - Functional Medicine. To learn more about how the current unregulated capitalistic private insurers work in the U.S. watch this interview with a former Cigna executive - Wendell Potter interview.

In conclusion please realize that we are capable of so much more here in America and yet we settle for less. We have a healthcare system that needs some major reform but ultimately long term success is not dependent on any government program or private insurance company but rather OURSELVES. You and I need to make better everyday choices to reduce not only our own individual costs but the entire nation's cost in general. By making better decisions on our diet and lifestyle we'll also attain the added benefit of feeling better and living a longer life filled with years of positive activity instead of dreadful suffering. And if you're telling yourself that it's just too hard to break old habits then my advice is that any small, positive step forward is better than doing nothing at all.

Thank you for reading this post and feel free to email me at rxvettemaster@yahoo.com with any questions or concerns and I'll be happy to respond. Please share this with everybody you know to allow for an open and healthy discussion of real solutions to our many health care challenges.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Healthcare Reform Touches Home

The national debate over healthcare reform is hotter than ever right now. And as we all get passionately worked up about our own individual views on what's right and what's wrong we tend to forget what this cause is all about. We focus on our differences and forget about the people who this is affecting the most.  So allow me to share a story of a very close friend of mine that hopefully puts some perspective on it. The following is a letter that I wrote to both President Obama and various Florida House of Representative members and Senators.

Dear __________,

What if this was your daughter?

Kate Markwith is a 29 year old vibrant young woman with an incredible passion for infusing the best of mankindʼs joy and generosity into her fellow human beings. But it is her personal everyday battle with health and happiness which Iʼm going to share with you that will leave you scratching your head as to how such a radiant personality continues to flourish on an everyday basis. The important question to focus on is how will her story
affect the decisions you make regarding national healthcare reform? In other words, what if she was your daughter?

Kate has a chronic medical condition called Crohnʼs disease which is an autoimmune disease that affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It causes severe, debilitating pain and discomfort and there is no cure for it. She was diagnosed with this condition 21 years ago. She and her family have endured many personal and financial hardships due to this illness. Kate has gone through a total of 14 major surgeries to remove the lower half of her GI system including a portion of her ileum, her entire colon, and rectal stump. She now has an ileostomy as a result of this. Kate has also had approximately 200 minor procedures or surgeries in addition to fight this disease.

Her primary education years were not always spent in the classroom but often in the hospital. She didnʼt get to play any sports of any kind because of her illness. Family vacations and holiday gatherings were all too often cancelled or postponed due to her medical condition flaring up. And for the past 11 years Kate has been working extremely hard to attend college and achieve what many other twenty something year olds want - a college degree to help her compete in this very competitive world. However, Crohnʼs disease has remained her Goliath and a 2 year associateʼs degree in art that took 6 years to achieve is the extent of her well deserved accomplishments so far. She puts it best though with this quote, “I would liked to have finished college in a reasonable time but I appreciate the good things in life more now due to working harder for everything in my life.”

Kate and her familyʼs financial struggles over the past two decades are extraordinary in their own way. For the first 7 years of her illness Kate was lucky enough to have private medical insurance through her parentʼs plan. But this “safety net” of private insurance can be misleading in itself due to the many surgeries and hospitalizations that were required to treat her condition. The out of pocket medical expenses reached into the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for her and her family. Like many Americans her parents work hard for a modest middle class life but these medical expenses left both them and their daughter with very poor credit. Many of the bills went unpaid as they passed their 7 year statute of limitations with collections because the money simply wasnʼt there. It left her parents with no money left to help pay for any of their 3 daughterʼs college education and a credit history that nobody would want. It has left Kate with awful credit to the point where she is denied approval to live in any apartment complexes (even with roommates) without one of her parents cosigning as a guarantor. She has no credit cards and rarely ever gets offers in the mail from credit card companies.

When Kate turned 18 she was very close to reaching the maximum lifetime cap on medical expenses allowed by her parentʼs private medical insurance plan. The only option for medical coverage was now Floridaʼs Medicaid system since she couldnʼt afford a private plan and even if she could no private insurance company would accept her because of her medical condition. But the financial struggles donʼt stop there for Kate. Even with Medicaid and Social Security disability benefits her out of pocket expenses and previous medical debt has left her in financial ruin. Kate has monthly expenses of a couple hundred dollars just for ostomy supplies that she canʼt live without. These supplies are not covered by Medicaid. She works and goes to school when she can but as mentioned before long term stability in both these areas of her life are compromised by inevitable disease flare ups and hospital stays.

Kateʼs biggest health concern now is her teeth. Due to being on regular, long term courses of corticosteroid medications to treat her Crohnʼs disease she has developed osteoporosis. Osteoporosis has left her with fragile bones and her teeth are no exception to this. They are severely worn down and cause discomfort and pain while she eats. Unfortunately, Florida Medicaid provides no dental coverage so Kate has only been to a dentist twice in the past 11 years. On her latest visit, the dentist told her that she either needed crowns put on every single one of her teeth or a full set of dentures. Either solution will cost several thousands of dollars. I think it goes without saying that all Kate is left with to remedy the situation is hope and prayers.

I was curious as to what Kateʼs view on our current healthcare system is like here in the U.S. so I came up with a few questions for her that Iʼll share below.

Question #1 - Do you feel society owes individualʼs like yourself accessible and affordable access to healthcare insurance?
Kateʼs response, “Yes, everyone is entitled to good quality healthcare services and should not be discriminated against based on gender, race, social class, etc.”

Question #2 - What changes would you make to improve the healthcare system in the U.S.?
Kateʼs response, “Give everyone equal access to any physician they choose instead of there being a selective list of doctors that are covered by certain plans. Donʼt let the healthcare system cater to wealthier citizens. It should be an equal opportunity system. And simplify the healthcare system so patients, providers, and organizations all understand one set of rules.”

Question #3 - If you had the chance to ask one question to a member of Congress who completely opposes any kind of universal healthcare plan in the U.S. what would that question be?
Kateʼs response, “What if you werenʼt well off in life and you or a member of your family had to deal with a chronic disease? How would you do this?”

Question #4 - What would you like to say to President Obama regarding your personal story of Crohnʼs disease?
Kateʼs response, “My story is unique to me but not unique in the grand scheme of things. Everyone deserves a chance at being healthy. Without your health your ability to reach your full capabilities towards yourself and society are compromised.”

Iʼve known Kate for the past 8 years and weʼve grown very close in friendship with one another. In those eight years Iʼve never once heard her ever play the self pity card. Iʼve never heard her complain about how her chronic medical condition has ruined anything in her life. In fact, she has been nothing but an eternal optimist about what life holds for her. She doesnʼt let the physical and emotional scars of her past dominate her chance at living. And she continues to lean on her incredible faith in God and the righteousness of her fellow human beings to carry her through each day.

If youʼd like to reach out to Kate or myself then please look below for our contact information. And whatever you do please keep this question in the back of your mind as you head off to the many debates and tasks that await you regarding healthcare reform in America - What would you do if this was your daughter?


If after reading this blog post you feel compelled to help Kate please contact me and I will provide you with the information that you need. My email is rxvettemaster@yahoo.com.

To find out more about revamping our healthcare system read this - http://rxvette.blogspot.com/2009/06/biggest-key-to-health-care-reform-in-us.html

Monday, May 11, 2009

Isn't It Ironic

I had one simple goal to accomplish this evening. It wasn't hard and would only take about 15 minutes from the time I left my house until the time I returned. This goal was to pick up a card at the store that would be used to brighten a particular individual's day tomorrow. A pretty mundane process right?

After a few minutes of browsing I chose a card that contained these words on the front, "An act of kindness is long remembered." Now I always place my card upside down and partially shoved underneath the envelope tongue so that all that is showing is the barcode on the back of the card to make it quick and easy for the cashier to scan. My total came to $1.06 and of course I never carry change on me so I presented the cashier with two $1 dollar bills. He smiled and said very gleefully, "Just $1 is fine. Somebody left some change here earlier so you're good."

I find it ironic that here I am taking a few minutes out of my day to eventually make someone else's life a little happier and yet I am the recipient of an act of kindness :) That just made my day!

By the way, I'm including a Tag 10 with my card tomorrow to keep the generosity going. Have a great day everyone!

Monday, April 27, 2009

You're Smart. They're Hungry. What a Great Combination!

Did you realize that your massive vocabulary (or lack there of - Ha ha ha!! just kidding) could actually feed the hungry all over the world? Or how about those skills you got in 11th grade learning the periodic table in chemistry class? Think those could put food on the table for some poor kid in Africa?

The answer is YES!! I stumbled upon this website called www.FreeRice.com that actually couples your ability to learn with the generous donations of multiple sponsors to end world hunger. How cool is that!

And its free! And it's fun! Believe me I tried it. Try as I might I couldn't make it past level 35 on the vocabulary test but I'll be polishing up my skills in the coming future.

They have all sorts of subjects to test your knowledge out including geography, art, chemistry, grammar, vocabulary, foreign languages, etc. So what are you waiting for click the link already!

Help end world hunger

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What If...

What if 9/11 never happened...
What if the Great Depression was just made up history...
What if the Iraq War didn’t actually occur...
What if disabled human beings were never made fun of...
What if children were never abused by enraged parents...
What if animals weren’t discarded like trash for the simple fact that a shelter ran out of room for them...

Then this world would be nothing short of a splendid piece of perfection and paradise. Would you not agree? But these things do happen and they all to often crush the human spirit. They leave us wondering why? Why such evilness, destruction, and sinful nature? Now ask yourself an even more important question:

What if Jesus Christ never willingly endured the most brutal and vicious beating and persecution of all time?

It is because of this very act that humanity learned of one of the greatest gifts of all time... forgiveness. And without forgiveness neither you nor I would be able to remain sane in this nonsensical world that we inhabit. Forgiveness allows us to love once again when love is the farthest thing from our heart.

Let us reflect on this today, Easter Sunday. And let us give thanks for God’s unconditional love for us as he sacrificed His only son so that we may be saved.

Happy Easter and may God bless you!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

America's Failing Healthcare System... Educate Yourself And Be Opened Minded

As a medical professional (pharmacist) I would hope that my message would be taken seriously by all those out there who are reading this even though it has more to do with politics than pills. Why? Because your health now and in the future depend on it.

Like many in America I was against the idea of universal healthcare coverage a few years ago when the idea was being talked about. That was when I was naive, closed minded, and hadn't educated myself on how our system in the United States worked or failed to work in many cases.

Now for all of you who don't want to listen to me please swallow your political pride and take a chance that you might actually learn something about the details of a healthcare system that you probably have very little knowledge on how it works. That's probably because you are either - A) healthy and lucky to be healthy right now or B) lucky enough to have a job and insurance to go with it.

Our current hodge podge healthcare system made up of uninsured patients, privately insured patients, and government insured patients is unsustainable. And before you get all worked up about universal care then know this - universal care is not just a system where the government and the taxes they collect covers everybody's healthcare issues. There's more than one way to achieve universal coverage and still do it with a combination of private and government sponsored insurance programs. To find out how take the time to watch the following two videos. They are very fair in my opinion at evaluating the pros and cons of healthcare systems (capitalistic and universal) around the world and in the United States.

Sick Around the World - www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld

Sick Around America - www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundamerica/view

For those of you who have taken the time to educate yourself about the importance of this topic.... Thank You!!

For those of you who think our current capitalistic healthcare system is superior to anything on the planet then let's have a discussion. Feel free to email me and I will gladly communicate with you in anyway (email, phone, letters, etc.) about this issue. I'm sure for every horror story of a universal healthcare system that you may have I can find two stories of our capitalistic healthcare system ending in bankruptcy, hardship, or even death for someone in the U.S. In fact, I have a very close friend in her 20's who's already had to declare bankruptcy because she was born with an illness that she didn't ask for. I'd be happy to talk to you about it :)

We all have to be a part of finding a solution to our failing healthcare system. And by failing I mean more and more people losing their health insurance while healthcare costs keep skyrocketing out of control. All this is happening while America has a shorter life span than many other developed countries with universal care and we spend nearly 25-50% more on healthcare. Patients, healthcare providers, insurance companies, drug companies, and healthcare organizations all need to compromise and give a little to allow for a sustainable healthcare system in this country. I'd be more than willing to take a cut in pay to do my part if everyone else would do the same.

If you're still not convinced then read this blog entry from Dr. Charles Clark, medical director of Corpus Christi Medical Center.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Simple Act of Giving

The day was February 24th, 2009. That's right, just a couple days ago. I had just gotten home from a very busy day at work and was going through the normal routine of heating up the oven to throw some bachelor food in to appease my growling stomach. Then I heard my cell phone ding reminding me I had a message. This Tuesday evening was about to become very memorable and would undoubtedly change the way I reflected on many special moments in life.

The voicemail was from Betty, a staff member of Hands On Tampa Bay (HOT). She asked me to call her back at the office or if it was after 4:30pm then call her at home. I'm thinking to myself that this must be important. I never get people who I barely know asking me to call them at home after business hours. And so I called and Betty so eagerly shared these words with me "I want to inform you that you've been selected as Volunteer of the Year for 2008 for Hands On Tampa Bay!" I was in complete and utter disbelief! I mean what had I done that was so deserving of this magnitude of achievement? There are currently 1,903 active volunteers who have participated in at least 1 project in the past year and they chose me!?

The first words out of my mouth were - "Is this a joke?" She confirmed that it was definitely not a joke and that I had made a very positive impression on the award committee who had chosen me for such a distinct honor. At this point my throat swelled up and tears started rolling down my cheeks. My simple everyday efforts over the past several months had made a difference and this was God's way of telling me to keep doing what I was doing because it was touching lives beyond my own. In fact, HOT has touched many lives and Betty told me that with everyone's help they managed to give back a little over 15,000 volunteer hours in 2007 to the local community because of individuals like myself.

I'm sharing this because my hope is that it inspires you to give back to your community. Your fellow brothers and sisters have needs and struggles that only seem to accomplish pulling all the hope and optimism out of them. You may not see it because you might be too busy dealing with your own struggles in life. But 3 hours on a Saturday at a homeless shelter or 90 minutes on a Wednesday evening at a domestic abuse shelter can be a powerful thing for both sides of the generosity that's taking place. For it is within these moments that previously untold stories of hardships and the return to the splendor that life has to offer are communicated. And it is in these words and these smiles that life becomes sweet again and our precious gift of existence is reinforced.

Nobody is going to remember the nice house you live in, the fancy car you drive, or the things you do to entertain yourself. But I guarantee you that the single, homeless mother will remember the meal you fed her and her children when they were hungry. The child with downs syndrome will remember how you boosted their self esteem as you accompanied them on a horseback ride. And don't think that the 93 year old veteran who is full of pride but can't physically walk down the hall anymore without somebody at his side doesn't appreciate your guidance and gentle support. These are the exact reasons why it's so important to give back to this world. We are a species of incredible goodness and devotion. All we have to do is find a way to let it out.

God bless you and may you feel the jubilation that I've been so lucky to experience this past year. It is priceless and very consuming.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Virtual Truth

What exactly is so great about the biggest craze of the last few years of social networking? Am I just not down with what's cool? I mean I'm not really that old at 31 or at least I don't like to think so but Friendster, Myspace, Facebook... what happened to Earth World?

So I have to admit I was probably one of the first one of my friends and family on Friendster when it first came out years and years ago - like almost back in the 20th century. I found it pretty useless other than the blogging feature. Over the last few years I kept getting all my real friends giving me a hard time for not having a Myspace and then for not having a Facebook. I resisted for a long time but finally gave into both. But I still remain clueless as to what's so extraordinary about it? I mean really... I find myself and I'm sure you do too just staring at an internet page of status updates, moods, and walls of stuff that is somehow suppose to make me feel like I'm spending quality time with my "peeps".

I miss spending actual time with my flesh and blood friends. You remember that thing you do when you call up your homies to go check out a baseball game to enhance your bromance. Or maybe that late night run to Steak and Shake you do with your girls to stuff a bunch of needless milkshake lard into your thighs while laughing hysterically at nothing at all. Now that's what stays with you when you're old and crippled sitting on the front porch in the retirement years.

I guess there is one good thing about having my virtual friends who are really the same as my actual friends.... I get to see updated pictures all the time. But that's about all I can think of that's hip with all the FaceMySpaceBook orgies going on.

As my mocking blog post comes to an end all I have to say is this... I want my friends and family in the real world to - Inform me. Challenge me. Inspire me. And I will become the best man I can be in real life. But you're probably better able to accomplish this by face to face or ear to ear time on the phone with your very real friend Dustin :)

God bless and may your day be full of optimism and hope. I miss you all.