Book one of One Eighteen is free today for the Kindle! Go grab a copy!
”It’s 2008 in America, and the world has gone very, very wrong. Radio and television signals drive men to madness, the dead hunt the living, and the ties that hold mankind together have severed. Whatever we were is gone. Everything’s gone.
Isolated, the town of Greenly, South Dakota has walled itself off from the horrors of the wider world. Safe behind their makeshift wall teenage lawmen prowl the streets and men and women struggle to survive in a town where electronics are banned and supplies are dwindling.
In the center of it all, Jonas Waight; an academic in the wrong place at the right time. Waight does what he can to survive and trade, documenting his experiences in his journal. But when Jonas starts asking too many questions, will he be able to handle the answers to the dark secrets his curiosity reveals?
I didn’t intend to retweet a whole mess of sob stories this morning from young people who thought they were healthy until they got hit by an SUV/bad appendix/thyroid cancer/infection/baby. What a bunch of whiners, right?
All I meant to do was encourage healthy young people and the other people in the world who think they are immortal, who think that health insurance is a luxury that isn’t worth affording, to give that assumption some critical thought, and take advantage of the exchanges to see what their options are.
Then the stories came in, and I was overwhelmed in every sense of the word. It seemed something of a civic responsibility, and personally, something of an honor, to retweet as many as I could with the hopes that I would not drive you crazy.
There were many that I missed, and I’m sorry for that. And I hope I didn’t drive you crazy.
I have a lot of thoughts about what happened this morning, and if you’re interested, you can read them or not. No particular order.
1: I truly didn’t go into this with an agenda. Like you (probably) I am no expert on the ACA and personally favored a single payer plan. But I do appreciate the necessity of getting healthy people into the risk pool if the private insurance system is going to a) function and b) cover as many people as possible, as affordably as possible. So I mainly wanted to remind young people that they are not immortal or immune to ill fortune, no matter how much cheese and alcohol they can eat and still look and feel great!
2: I am a fan of personal choice and personal responsibility. I consider it a matter of personal self-interest and responsibility to get covered if you care at all about you, your family, and your personal financial future. Going uninsured seems like a fool’s gamble to me. And worse to pay the penalty to opt out of the ACA, because then you’re getting nothing for your money. But that is your choice, and guess what, you HAVE THAT CHOICE.
3: Once the stories started rolling in, it really brought home to me how many young people’s lives have been profoundly altered and affected by sudden illness/accidents. Some didn’t have insurance for one reason or another and are still digging themselves out of the hole. Some DID have insurance, and in every case, no one said, I AM SO SAD I WASTED THAT MONEY ON INSURANCE.
4: I mainly retweeted young people who got hurt in their twenties, because these are the folks who are usually so handsome and limber and blithe that they convince themselves they can’t or don’t need to afford insurance. I didn’t retweet a lot of other heartbreaking stories about natal complications, the difficulty of getting insurance with pre-existing conditions, and the importance of coverage for mental health issues, because each of those stories merit in number and importance an entire twitter feed of their own. I hope you understand.
5: But none of those people were sitting around going “I am so sad that Obamacare is coming.” All evidence is obviously anecdotal here, but for the most part I was engaging with real, soul-deep relief and excitement for the ACA, which I had never really experienced before.
6: This evidence is equally anecdotal, but I was surprised by how few people emerged to disagree with the ACA. I have come to expect contrarianism for its own sake on the internet, and I also accept that reasonable people can disagree on this legislation and the subject of insurance in general. But there were really only 6 or 12 people who chimed in to oppose the general theme of the feed.
7: Some of these were koo koo trolls who just hate the law, and there was even a whiff of death panels in some of their rhetoric. OK. Not my thing.
8: Others complained that the ACA was going to TRIPLE premiums for young people, especially for young men, whom you know are the true victim of all liberal machinations. @eugenemirman sent in an article that really enlightened me on both a) how certain premiums will indeed go up; and yet b) how the new plans offered by the exchanges increase service and reduce out-of-pocket costs such that, to me, it seemed like a wash. Reasonable minds may differ. If you’re of the mind that you’re never going to get sick, I would imagine having to pay ANYTHING into a risk pool is going to irk you. Anyway, here is the article:
9: And some others complained that young people can’t afford the exchanges, especially in certain states that kind of want nothing to do with ACA. I had an interesting conversation with a person named @matsie who lives in Louisiana and has a bunch of friends who she says simply can’t pay even the cheapest plan on the LA exchange.
10: I don’t know these people’s finances, and they are free to do as they see fit. There’s no place like New Orleans, and if it’s home it’s home. But as I told @Matsie, Massachusetts is also pretty nice this time of year where (as I learned later) the exchange is very mature, well supported, and pretty good. Should her friends move? I can’t say. But there are all kinds of hard choices and sacrifices you make when you are a grown up, and these are some of them.
11: People who refuse to participate in the ACA because THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS BROKEN and the ACA is at best a terrible half solution have some interesting ideas. But ultimately your principles aren’t going protect you from that heart attack.
12: People from Canada and Germany and the UK really like to talk about their healthcare systems. Good on them. I had an experience with the NHS last summer that was so pleasant, swift, and efficient that I felt like I was on a cruise. But I didn’t retweet those people because they were just being braggy.
13: After talking about Massachusetts, my part time home, I decided to check out how the Massachusetts exchange was working this morning. And you know what, I thought it was GREAT. I’m doubled covered by my performer’s unions, but I spent about 7 minutes without even registering and found a GOLD plan in my zipcode that was only about 680 bucks for the year (for me alone, as a 42 year old man, no subsidies). That’s not zero dollars, but I think that’s a pretty good deal, and the whole process was super easy.
(Not surprising, since the Mass Health Connector website system has been in place for seven years thanks to GOV. MITT ROMNEY).
14: So even though I didn’t have strong feelings about this resource before today, I am now very glad that it did not shut down with all the national parks today! WHY WOULDN’T A YOUNG PERSON AT LEAST CHECK OUT HIS/HER OPTIONS? They like the internet, right?
15: That said: GET IT TOGETHER NEW YORK. I could not get through to that website to save my life this morning (ironic, because what if I was dying?). Seems to be working now, though.
16: It’s grotesque to play favorites, as all of the stories were amazingly human and touching in their own ways. But all the same, my favorite was this from @etmckinley:
@hodgman On my 23rd birthday I ruptured my spleen in a ultimate frisbee game, was in hospital for 6 days-$88k bill, luckily I had insurance
What better example of youth’s folly meeting unexpected adult reality than that of the ultimate frisbee spleen rupture. I am glad you are OK and still solvent, Eliot, and I hope you’re still spinning the disc.
17: FINALLY, REMEMBER, YOUNG PEOPLE: just because you don’t want to pay for health insurance now doesn’t mean you’ll be able to bit-torrent it for free when you need it later.
OK. I don’t have anything else to say about this experience except that I learned a lot; it was nice to get to know you all; and
”What do fifty-foot homicidal snowmen, zombies that help the living and gorillas with jet-packs have in common? They’re all part of the strange cast of characters that fill the pages of tl;dr, a collection of the funniest poetry, short stories, and essays of Will Ross, (co-writer of One Eighteen: Migration.)
From Unitarians to plutocrats, no one is spared from the satire (including the writer himself.) Contains “Letters from Gay Camp,” “An Ode to Jackson Pollock,” “Women’s Shoes in a Man’s Closet,” “How to Become a Writer,” and 20 others.”
tl;dr - Kindle edition by Will Ross. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading tl;dr.
A couple of weeks ago, I was scheduled to take a trip from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles on JetBlue. Every year, my family goes on a one-week pilgrimage, where we put our work on hold and spend time visiting temples, praying, and spending time with family and friends. To my Jewish friends, I often…
Tried to post this before i went under but it never went through. Waiting For an upper endoscopy. Still trying to figure something out about episode 501 of community. 502’s going to be great, 503’s going to be greater, 504 makes me cry sometimes…it’s really great to be back. It’s religiously,…
I’ve released this track as a single – it should be on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play eventually if it’s not already. It’s a cover of Glee’s cover of my cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s song, which is to say it’s EXACTLY THE SAME as my original version. I’m releasing this under the same Harry Fox license I used for the 2005 release, so Mix will get all the royalties due to him. I’ll donate the proceeds from all sales that happen between now and the end of February to two charities: The VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and The It Gets Better Project.
Genius. Jonathan is making some amazing lemurade out of these lemurs.
(SATIRE WARNING: Bobby Anderson is a character I do when I’m writing satire - an unlikely genius with MASSIVE ADHD from a broken home - and his homework throughout his life. At the end of his assignments the teacher always grades them with a note, so I thought this would be fun. Please don’t send me your manifestos. :) /end satire warning.)
A Modest Disposal by Bobby Anderson
Dear President Obama,
So the history teacher with the NRA sticker (that has the eagle holding the dove holding the gun holding the football,) and the social studies teacher with the Coexist sticker (spelled with the symbols of incompatible religions) are fighting again, and you posed with some kids and their letters. Now everybody in the school has to write a plan to end gun violence, so the Principal can send them to Washington where she hopes to be noticed for her pluck and given a real job far away from me.
First, I would like to point out that I am doing this assignment out of protest. Granted, I do ALL my assignments out of protest, but this is extra special protest like the kind you’d get pepper-sprayed right in the face for.
Here’s why… If you’re in Washington and you have time to read what a High Schooler who has to go to court mandated therapy twice a week (because the school fire extinguishers are not to be used as propellants for skateboards) has to say about policy, then we are all going to die.
If our government is getting its best ideas from Sarah Peterson and the kid across from me who smells like a pine forest ninja-sleeping behind his book, then I’d have to say government is broken and a little bit silly, but I’m sure I’ll understand it better as I mature. I’m still in Civics 101.
Anyway, here goes…
We were told to ask our parents about this first, and I did what I was instructed to do.
First I found Mom’s long time boyfriend/no time provider, Daryl. He was looking up “commonlaw deviorce” on Bing (yes.) when I found him, so I agree with the principle that he’s totally someone I should ask for advise from. A wise elder.
Because Daryl is really smart (and sober) I recorded the conversation on my phone, so I could trancribe his wisdom down exactly.
BA: “Daryl, what’s the cause of all the gun violence in the world?” Daryl: “Fuckin jew-rabs.” BA: “I see. Could you extrapolate?” Daryl: “Why don’t you go bother your mom.”
As for mom, I started at 8PM, and that’s when ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ is on so I was getting about 70% attention from her. Mom was on the extreme opposite of Daryl on this issue, and wanted me to get her a beer because having opinions can make a person work up a powerful thirst.
BA: “How do you feel about the importance of an assault rifle ban?” Mom: “Did Daryl fuckin’ say he’s buyin’ that rifle again?! I WON’T HAVE IT IN MY HOUSE, DARYL!” Daryl: (other room): “It ain’t even mine, it’s in Mark’s name!” Mom: “WHO IS MARK?” Daryl: “Mark, that guy we met at the bar that time.”
So as you can see, there’s a lot of division on this issue between mom, Daryl, and that guy Mark they met at the bar that time. When neither side can reach an agreement on something, or when I want to go on Reddit, or when I want to play video games, I often turn to the Internet. An hour after that, I decided to also research statistics into this subject.
Assault weapons? Not used most of the time, so not a magic bullet… though if there were a magic bullet you could shoot like 100 of them out of an assault rifle at a time.
Mental health? Well we hardly need to go THAT far. We’re in a recession, we can’t exactly afford what Daryl calls “Obamaphone $*%&@* spending” (which he personally feels is needlessly lowering the checks from his 15th week of unemployment.)
Magazine restrictions? I really don’t think the magazines are causing this. Well, maybe Cosmopolitan.
Take all the guns away? Can’t fight aliens.
Take all the video games away? Can’t digitally fight aliens.
Take all the movies away? Can’t watch people fight digital aliens.
Give everybody a gun? Can fight… basically anything… all the time.
But everyone agreed, the answer was in statistics. None of it was something that might have to be felt out; that laws might have to be made, and repealed if necessary, and new data taken. That it might be a process of coming together. That was for dumb, stupid morons, and only one sides plan or the others could be passed in it’s totality, otherwise either Hitler, or the Hunger Games would happen in real life.
So what’s the reason? Good science says that it’s not assault rifles that show up at every one of these crimes, and in the case of crimes involving knives and explosives there wasn’t even a gun at all. Not all shooters were mentally ill, not all did it for a reason. Many races, ages, and colors….
Then I found it… I found one statistic that was teabagging us right in the face when it comes to gun violence.
The only thing present at 90+% of these crimes is pretty obvious: testicles.
The types of guns varied in most of these crimes, but the gender didn’t. If you want to go by what statistics say we ought to do, men commit 88% of murders. So the most logical way to fix this without changing any of the gun laws would be mandatory castration; instead of taking away the assault weapons, we should take the nuts.
We’re already taking the foreskin anyway, and you’ve got the scissors for the umbillical cord anyway… now follow me here.
This has been tested with chemical castration in sex offenders, and it works in animals. It would eliminate both unwanted pregnancies AND hyper-aggression, lowering the number of unwanted children and calming us of our natural evolutionary need to kill people for going to the mall/scuffing our sneakers.
Both should lower the murder rate, because it’ll make the statistically obvious non-gun cause of gun-violence go away! We don’t have to restrict the implements of doing harm, we’ll just slash out the harm at it’s eggy source!!!
(And in terms of home defense it eliminates a dangerous weak spot - increasing your defensive readiness.)
Now that doesn’t mean you couldn’t participate in sports. Prized men would be allowed to keep their jelly babies if they completed anger management, got a licence to carry them, and wore a warning saying “Warning: Unfixed, dangerous male. May shoot you right in the face, statistically.” In fact at the end of an athlete’s career, we could remove their bollocks in a special ceremony, and retire them with their Jersey. Plus, do you think athletes would juice if being banned from the sport meant castration of their one solitary ball?!?
Your Vic Mackeys would still be alive, of course, growing in a vat of nutrient rich water made to mimic conditions in the human scrotum. If you wanted to have some babies, a doctor would just remove some sperm, and inject it into your girlfriend with a great big needle while you sit in the corner waiting patiently. You wouldn’t even have to be there, she could see him while you’re at the office!
Honestly, if we just did just that one thing, anybody could have any kinda gun they wanted, because we’d have regulated the one clear statistical correlation in all the shootings; dude-balls. We don’t even have to have full man-control; just remove their magazines!
Plus nobody would call you a pussy for not having balls, because you’d have a gun (guns are statistically shown to add balls to people without balls 100% of the time.) Sure everybody would be wandering around as eunuchs, but not really cause you know where your trouser-pals are. (In the test tube at the lab.)
Won’t you join me in calling for the voluntary castration of all statistically dangerous genders, President Obama?
Because guns don’t kill people, MEN kill people. (Usually with a gun, cause it’s easier.)
Bobby Anderson, Unwilling Letter Writer
P.S. Is Malia seeing anybody? If not, could you give her the attached Valentine? —- Dear Bobby,
Thank you for your… interesting ideas regarding decreasing firearms deaths. I don’t think it’s practical, or feasible, but it’s certainly an inventive solution to gun violence. Also, please consider contacting social services, that’s what they’re there for.
All the best, Barack Obama
P.S. I’d respectfully ask that you stay far away from Malia. I have drones.