Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We Interrupt This Broadcast

I know you're here to make fun of newspapers, and I'm a let you finish. But first I gotta tell you we have the worst healthcare system OF ALL TIME.

Today, my wife's employer held a meeting to explain their new health benefits packages. They've got three: a high-deductible plan with an HSA, a "silver" PPO and a "gold" PPO.

We're on the Silver Plan. It's not great, but it does the job. We've got a $1200 family deductible, which we maxed out last year and are on track to do again. Her company chips in about $600 a month towards the "family" premiums, which is a mixed blessing. Since the federal government considers this taxable income (thanks, Defense Of Marriage Act!), she spends about $150 a month more for her premiums than the straight family man in the cubicle across the way. But whatever.

Anyway, they held a meeting today to explain that everything's going to be more expensive. Silver plan's going up by $80 a month. The family deductible is going up $500. Not sure how much the company's contribution to the silver plan is going up, but whatever that is, tack 25% of it on to whatever we pay out of pocket.

Upshot: a $2,000 pay cut for us, dangerously close to 10% of J's take-home pay.

Now, nobody at her job is happy with the new plans. But most people are switching to the HSA plan, if they haven't already, because it's much cheaper. Which, according to J, the company endeavored to explain.

Under DOMA (whee!), J can't legally pay any of my health expenses out of an HSA. Nor can she pay our daughter's, until her legal adoption goes through. (Hopefully soon. We just submitted affidavits to the court. Wheels of justice, etc.)

What does this mean? It means if we switch to the HSA plan, which has a $2300 family deductible, all of my (and my daughters') health expenses have to come 100% out of after-tax money until we max out the deductible. And of course, J will keep paying her premiums, plus an extra 25% of her company's contribution to the "family" plan. And the $60 a month that her employer kicks into the HSA can only legally be spent on J's healthcare, not the sprog's--ironically, since the two adults in the family have basically stopped going to the doctor because it's already too expensive.

As you know, women can't do math. I got through calculus OK, but this shite is hurting my tender women-brains. Anybody who has any opinions on which is the better bum deal for us is welcome to weigh in.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Emily Rooney Could Use Some Anger Management

Here are some things that women, despite their general reputation for meekness and milksoposity, occasionally do:

"...have violent revenge fantasies
...make disparaging comments about immigrants
...make cranky-old-guy comments about new things
...make sweeping generalizations about gender"

That's from a sharp-eyed reader commenting on Emily Rooney's strange, apoplectic rant about Balloon Boy on the WGBH website. For a Real Live News Reporter, she sounds kinda like one of those pajama-clad Internet crackpots we've been hearing about lately.

And there's this:

I actually have a fantasy that I'd like to make chicklets of Mayumi Heene's smile.


Hat tip to Universal Hub.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Useless Reveal: Now With 50% More Gay

Remember the Useless Reveal? It's in the pages of this week's Phoenix. And it's wicked gay.

It’s just another Thursday night in South Boston.

Be calm, Reader, all is well. Or is it?

Local bars like the Boston Beer Garden and the Playwright are overstuffed with hard-drinking twenty- and thirtysomethings, mostly locals and the new crop of Southie transplants looking for a hookup.
In case you forgot what an ALTERNATIVE weekly we are, we threw some sex in.

The men are knuckling up to the bar, eyeing deals on pitchers of Miller Lite or Budweiser, scoping out prime real estate in front of a flat-screen TV to watch their favorite Boston sports team, and maybe even getting some love from one of the female hotties prancing around in skin-tight denim and low-cut halter tops.

More sex. More aimless verbiage. This is beginning to feel ominous.

The scene is similar at the Junction, another popular local watering hole. There’s a stench of beer and cologne in the air, pint glasses are being filled by the dozen, and the athletic attire that is the unofficial after-work uniform of the Southie male is everywhere in sight. But something seems off in this prototypical pub in the heart of historically xenophobic South Boston.


Maybe it’s this: almost every guy in the Junction tonight is gay.


My Southie bawnanraised ex-girlfriend is going to have a goddamn field day with this.

Thanks to expert spotters Adam and Julia for finding this splendid specimen.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Following Things Are For Men

Science fiction, engineering, know-how, design, coolness, lightning, thunder, beer, GM, America.

Whereas, in contrast, these things are for women:

Environmentalism, organics, food co-ops, that which is emo, Europe.

Thanks for clarifying that for us, Slate.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Ardipithecus Chronicles: Special Women Edition

The NYT had a nice package this weekend on Ardipithecus ramidus, an astounding new Ethiopian hominid discovery. (Ardipithewhatzis? If this is news to you, you live under a rock and should get out more.)

Like the last big human-ancestor fossil find, Lucy, Ardi is a woman sort of hominid. (A womanid?) And you just don't get to be a big deal newspaper editor person without acquiring a deep, deep need to sling gratuitous puns, wisecracks and perky asides at every single female-type thing that passes within reach of your grasping inky paws. They had to go there.

Forget the high heels; her feet had no arches (Lucy’s did).

Was that really necessary?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Distaff Gator Slayers!

For real.

Gators, beware: There are predators stalking the swampland of the South, capable of bringing down creatures up to four times their weight. These menacing forces have bows in their hands. And occasionally in their hair.

Today's shot of breathless incredulity with an "OMG, girlz" chaser courtesy of Sports Illustrated.