Thursday, December 02, 2004


Well, we went to see the movie. It certainly wasn't as bad as the reviews made it out to be - but it wasn't a great and epic movie, either - though it had all kinds of pretentions to be just that.

Personally, I felt it was a casting error (challenge). The bleeched blond Irish dude simply didn't strike me as having the kind of charisma that would inspire men to folllow him to the ends of the earth.

The battle scenes (were there only two battles in seven years on the road?) were awsome. The first, against Darius, gave me for the first time a feeling that I knew the scale and scope of an ancient battle, of how the armies were arrayed, how they actually fought (much better staged in this regard than Braveheart, to be sure) and what the tactics looked like. The battle in India had more gratuitous bloodshed and was far less informative and enlightening for the effort.

Given we took in an afternoon showing at discounted prices of $5.50 a head (no discounts on the pop corn and soda - which actually cost us more than the tickets to the movie), I felt the first battle scene was worth the price of the flick.

Would love to have sat around over coffee or brandy or whatever for a post mortem (and there certainly was a fair share of mortem to go around).

Too bad about the blond dude, what's his name? He struck me as being more suited to a smaller screen. I liked him better in both Telephone Booth and Heart's War whre his characters were really quite credible. It was all too obvious that he couldn't fill Alexander's sandals, coming off more as being a little person filled with post teen angst and confusion than being a highly complex, emotionally torn conquerer of the known world. But then, maybe the conquest of the world was merely an overly dramatic cry for daddy's attention and approval after all.

We'll buy the DVD when it comes out and prices drop to about $14.95. I could stand to watch it again, now and then - but Band of Brothers would probably get more frequent rotation on my hit list of war movies.

Unhealthy Insurance

Fell off COBRA effective yesterday. We now have "affordable" health insurance from BCBSAZ. Interesting how it works - the insurance / health care business. If you have insurance, you pay $17 for prescriptions that would cost you $84 if you don't have insurance (even thought we have no prescription benefit). It'll be some time before we hit out five kilobuck deductible. The system is structured specifically to hold down those who are already down. Also, having insurance affords one cut rates on visits to the doctor as well. How much is health care? If you have to ask, you can't afford it. Fortunately, I see it as a relatively minor thing for us, however, my heart goes out to those who are really "going it alone".

Out of pocket cost of a visit to a doctor's office - granted, a specialist,
but it points out a severe inequity:

  • With company insurance policy: $15 co-pay
  • With private insurance: $165
  • W/Out Insurance: $325

a reason to withstand corporate humiliation handed out by bone headed bureaucrats... they pay for the privelege.

There is an argument that would suggest that an unintended consequence of current health care system profit structures will be socialized medecine. It is little wonder that so many people don't have health care insurance, preferring instead to let the state take care of it via Medicare and Medicade and the passage of laws that hold hospitals liable for providing "free" health care to those who can't afford it.

A doctor of our acquaintence complained that malpractice insurance caused him to close his practice and retire (in his 40s) - he said that it was breaking him. Interesting to note that, following the closure of his practice he took a six month vacation before retiring to his new home in the Caribbean. Is there something about this that strikes you as ... odd?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Contract Time

The contract has arrived. It's been modified .. oh, how it's been modified! First, to the good. The contract has been changed to an annual renewal cycle from the original six months cycle. The bad news is that the new version was assembled by emptying a wastebasket full of boilerplate into an agreement format and throwing it at me to see if I noticed anything smelly about it.

  1. The first paragraph of the 16 page document announces that I am a subscription service and that the company will arrange to buy the output of my services by means of a Purchase Order. If we are going to use a purchase order, why do we need a 16 page document?
  2. A second and related question that is unanswered in the grey ambiguities is are we talking about a single, blanket PO to cover the twelve month period or are we anticipating twelve purchase orders, one fir each successive month?
  3. The agreement outlines provisions for communication so convoluted as to make communication totally impossible.
  4. and on and on and on ...

Thought process like the one outlined in the agreement would have even the most obtuse Solomon cutting babies in half.

Is it now fashionable for corporate attorneys to wear both suspenders and a belt to keep their pants from inadvertently falling off?

I'm assembling my concerns and suggestions for modification - the original run at it involves some level of sarcastic humor and Bob thinks that to be a tad inappropriate. Must do a serious version that he can take to the legal department without, in his words, "starting World War III."