Wednesday, July 4

An immodest proposal, and a very special Wednesday Semi-Random Ten.

First of all, Josh, I don't know what movie you were watching, but "Transformers" fucking rocked. Seriously, I about teared up a little watching it.

Now then. Today we celebrate 231 years of this grand experiment we call the United States of America -- in cosmic terms that may just be a drop in the bucket, but it's a pretty long time for a democratic nation, certainly long enough for us to be getting the senior citizens' discount at the UN surf 'n' turf buffet. It's been a wild ride, we've had a few laughs, even inspired a few other countries to follow in our footsteps.

But man, we've really starting screwing this thing up.

Our president seems to be more concerned with protecting stem cells and disgraced former vice-presidential chiefs of staff than his own living citizens. His puppetmaster second-in-command is, by all appearances, attempting to construct some kind of shadow government from his office in D.C.; he's singlehandedly created a fourth branch of government none of the rest of us knew about. The Republicans in Congress want to continue with a war that has been a virtually unmitigated clusterfuck for more than four years now, and the Democrats are apparently too nutless to bring it to a halt even when they have a majority. And so on and so forth.

D'you think maybe it's time we apologized to Great Britain and got back with them again?

Liz is not amused with all this "independence" bollocks.

I know what you're going to say: "But Doug, they're a monarchy!" Yes, but they're a constitutional monarchy -- and that's a lot more constitution-focused than anyone in our executive branch has been for the last few years. It gives me no pleasure to admit that in terms of democracy, we're getting our asses handed to us by the very same country whose yoke of monarchical oppression we had to work our way out from under just a few centuries ago, but facts are facts: Their elections are going off without a hitch, they've got free health care, and their new prime minister, Gordon Brown, seems to be a stand-up guy. And with the exception of Prince Harry's Cartman impression from a couple years back, even the royal family has been refreshingly embarrassment-free of late. They're certainly no worse than the Bushes at this point.

And that's even before you get into the cultural aspects -- cooler accents, stronger beer, and getting to drop what you're doing every afternoon and have tea, for starters. (It's like an Anglicized, stuffier version of a siesta, but with refreshments.) And just think about all that could've been if we'd stuck with the UK instead of getting all high and mighty and independence-happy. We could be taking credit for James Bond, the Jaguar XJ8, and Lucy Pinder right now; instead we got stuck with Steven Seagal, the Hummer H2, and Paris Hilton.

That's karmic punishment for our arrogance right there, folks, and like Liz Lemon seeing the writing on the wall (at least for one or two episodes) and getting back together with her boyfriend on "30 Rock," maybe it's time we "settled" -- time that we realized the grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side of the Atlantic and reconciled with our smaller, less charismatic, but ultimately smarter and more stable ex. There will be some things we'll have to work out -- being able to keep American football as, at the very least, a supplement to "footie" is a deal-breaker as far as I'm concerned -- but ultimately I'm confident this will be for the best.

Or, if that doesn't work, maybe we could cut a deal with our next-door neighbor and become Southern Canada. I'm just planting seeds here.

For reals, you could have it so much worse than being a Canuck.

At any rate, while I go off and make myself an eggy in the basket and ponder what might have been, I leave you with this all-UK, all-the-time Semi-Random Ten as a peace offering to our former limey overlords. Seriously, guys, TJ was just kidding with that whole "necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands" shit. We're sorry, and if you ever want to, you know, give us a call or something, we'll be here.

The Ten:

1. New Order, "Krafty" (DJ Dan dub remix)
2. Radiohead, "Where I End and You Begin (The Sky Is Falling In)"
3. Groove Armada, "Suntoucher"
4. Underworld, "Rowla"
5. Pet Shop Boys, "Overture to Performance"
6. Phil Collins, "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven"
7. Prodigy, "Firestarter"
8. The Clash, "Spanish Bombs"
9. The Pretenders, "Stop Your Sobbing"
10. Zero 7, "Destiny"

Do me a favor -- no, I'm sorry, a favour -- and throw your own Random or Semi-Random Tens in the comments, whether they're British, Canadian, or anything else. Cheerio, schmucks.


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Mostly British Random Ten:

1)"Tramp the Dirt Down" Elvis Costello

2)"The Call Up" The Clash

3)"Yellow Submarine" The Beatles

4)"When the Whip Comes Down" The Rolling Stones

5)"Sundown" Gordon Lightfoot

6)"Cruel to be Kind" Nick Lowe

7)"Whole Wide World" Wreckless Eric

8)"Everyday I Write the Book" Rockpile

9)"Message to you Rudy" The Specials

10)"Money" Pink Floyd

Anonymous said...

I want you all to get up out of your seats...right now, I want you all to stand up, and say this with me..."Im as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Erik Tylczak said...

Fuck, Southern Canada *instantly*. They even have football already. Kinda-mostly.

And instead of caring a lot about soccer, we can care a lot about hockey.

This is such a better idea than England.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it would work except that the English mistake soccer for football.

Why stop at being South Canada though? Why not annex Mexico first thus solving the illegal immigration problem? Then we annex Canada and solve both our oil and Molsen shortages in one fail swoop?

Anonymous said...

And another thing, don't be diss'n Paris, unlike Scooter she did her time!

DAve said...

"When governments attempt to regulate the balance between a limited supply of health care and an unlimited demand for it they're inevitably forced to ration treatment. This is certainly the situation in Britain. Writing in the Chicago Tribune this week, Helen Evans, a 20-year veteran of the country's National Health Service and now the director of a London-based group called Nurses for Reform, said that nearly 1 million Britons are currently on waiting lists for medical care — and another 200,000 are waiting to get on waiting lists. Evans also says the NHS cancels about 100,000 operations each year because of shortages of various sorts. Last March, the BBC reported on the results of a Healthcare Commission poll of 128,000 NHS workers: two thirds of them said they "would not be happy" to be patients in their own hospitals. James Christopher, the film critic of the Times of London, thinks he knows why. After marveling at Moore's rosy view of the British health care system in "Sicko," Christopher wrote, "What he hasn't done is lie in a corridor all night at the Royal Free [Hospital] watching his severed toe disintegrate in a plastic cup of melted ice. I have." Last month, the Associated Press reported that Gordon Brown — just installed this week as Britain's new prime minister — had promised to inaugurate "sweeping domestic reforms" to, among other things, "improve health care.""

Hooray, finger-quotes-free-finger-quotes health care!

DAve said...

Oh, sorry, and my Ten is here.

Anonymous said...

Dave, I won't argue with anything that you wrote about the NHS today, but seeing as how they managed to keep my father from dying of spinal meningitis (including loss of a kidney) as a teenager, and provided my aunt with world class care for breast cancer 5 years ago, I'm not convinced it's all bad. (I'm not going to saddle them with any of the credit / blame for getting me into the world in one piece.)

A large part of the challenge that the NHS faces is that they are both provider and insurer - other countries such as Spain focus on providing insurance over being a near monopoly on providing facilities and care. I'd be willing to bet that if the NHS stuck to providing facilities only for inner cities and rural areas (traditionally underserved areas) and acted as an insurer elsewhere, results would improve.

As for health care in this country, what makes you think it isn't being rationed? I have never yet had someone explain to me why it is better for the working poor to be uninsured and get no operation - as an argument against any form of nationalized health insurance, which would simply expand the market rather than dictate the supply of health care facilities available.

Leaving aside an economic justice argument, there are simple economic efficiency arguments, such as: 1) Up to 40% of the cost of health care is administrative, and a significant portion of that is simply managing insurance payments; 2) the current approach to insurance is pooling risk only in ways that work for insurers, whose poor funds management is more likely to cause premium spikes than anything else; 3) American companies face competitiveness issues from having to build health care costs into their product pricing.

Happy 4th of July, BTW.

Anonymous said...

as for the more or less random 10:

1. The Clash, "White Riot"
2. Let's Go Bowling, "Badminton on a rope (Ska Parade Theme)"
3. Supergrass, "Tonight"
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Pretty Little Ditty"
5. Jane's Addiction, "Sympathy"
6. Blondie, "Call me"
7. Green Day, "Long View"
8. The Chemical Brothers, "Orange Wedge"
9. Air, "Le Soleil est pres de moi"
10. Fishbone, "?(Modern Industry)"

Anonymous said...

Fucking rocked indeed sir, now I know what they call it Transformers... because all my buddies and I were magically transformed into 6 year olds as we watched THE. BEST. MOVIE. EVER.


And just randomly pick any ten old Archers of Loaf songs, they're all I've listened to this week...

Anonymous said...

1) Doug- no Pet Shop Boys?

2) US healthcare is rationed by access (largely socioeconomic factors) and by insurance compamies who, from the comfort of their penthouse suites and nowhere near a hopsital or doctor's office, make clinical decisions about who does or does not need procedures or how long patients need to be in the hospital. These are frequently made on the basis of the company's own best economic interest and not on clinical grounds. I know, I've been there, and they can argue till they're blue in the face, but it is so.

Anonymous said...

Mildly interesting article about the composition of the NHS medical staff

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Christopher thinks his scenario with his severed toe wouldn't or couldn't happen in the USA. At a hospital like MLK in Los Angeles horror stories worse than that have been in the news lately as the state has moved in to shut the place down. I broke my leg playing rugby at USC and was taken to a hospital in South Central. It was a horror show. Eventually they x-rayed my leg but the doctor didn't feel like dealing with it so he told me that my leg was broken and I should keep off of it and come back tomorrow.

One reason that a band-aid costs $20 and an asprin $40 in a hospital is those with insurance already are subsidizing the large numbers of people who never pay their bills (around 50-60% according to my sister who once worked for a hospital).

My 10 songs...
Elvis Costello: When I was Cruel
Radiohead: Everythings in the right place
Pink Floyd: Fat Old Sun
Arctic Monkeys: Fake Tales of San Francisco
Nick Lowe: Cruel to be Kind
Imogen Heap: Daylight Robbery
Clash: Know Your Rights
Queen: Tie Your Mother Down
Sia: Breathe Me
Police: Driven to Tears

Anonymous said...

Seriously, Transformers ROCKED! I was worried I was the only one who thought that after my husband thought it was a piece of shit.

Anonymous said...