View RSS Feed

Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

Jim: A Newly Minted Marxist Welfare Queen Comin' Atcha

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
Let me dispatch with the swimming portion of this very belated vlog post haste:

Results from our local Y regional meet by yours truly were terrible to mediocre.

1000 free
1 Jim Thornton 56 SEWY 11:50.12
32.25 35.04 35.67 35.76 36.69 36.20 36.12 35.74
36.36 36.39 36.20 36.05 36.38 36.09 35.83 36.05
35.67 35.26 34.78 31.59

200 free relay
2 Sewickley A 174 SEWY 1:36.89
Thornton,Jim 56 Cox,Mark 40
Haney,Mark 40 White,Bill 38
25.26 23.29 24.98 23.36

50 fly
1 Jim Thornton 56 SEWY 28.12

100 fly
1 Jim Thornton 56 SEWY 1:01.47

200 free
1 Jim Thornton 56 SEWY 1:59.28
27.38 29.50 31.34 31.06
29.05 32.42

next day...

500 free
1 Jim Thornton 56 SEWY 5:28.42
29.37 31.44 32.87 33.67 34.24 34.42 34.07 34.28
33.04 31.02

200 medley relay--went fly
1 Sewickley A 174 SEWY 1:49.15
Cox,Mark 40 White,Bill 38
Thornton,Jim 56 Haney,Mark 40
28.34 28.75 27.02 25.04

100 free
1 Jim Thornton 56 SEWY 53.39

50 free
1 Jim Thornton 56 SEWY 24.80

I would add excuses, but the truth is the times were bad enough that it's not worth the waste of breath to come up with reasons why they were so terrible. Bill, my friend and coach, told me he thinks it's just been a hard couple months, and I am currently lacking the psychological fortitude to push myself--in practice or in meets--into the state of pain necessary to do well. This was absolutely the case in the 1000, which seemed to set the tone of the disastrous first day. I just didn't have the energy to tolerate suffering. I wimped out.

Non swimming part of this, summarized:

  1. Our health insurance went up to $1711.50 a month for a plan that requires each member of the family to spend $1400 a year before complete coverage kicks in. For a variety of complicated reasons, we cannot alter any of the terms of the policy. It is a take it or leave it situation. If we leave it, my wife and I have been taking statin drugs and antidepressants and will not be able to obtain individual policies that are not even more exorbitant than the extortionary policy we already have. As close to unaffordable as it is this year, it seems certain that even modest increases in the years to come (as if the bastards are ever likely to be modest) ensure we will not be able to pay, most likely within two or three years.
  2. We got audited by the IRS three weeks ago, and a large part of this was because our acountant set up a plan by which I could pay my wife a salary and give her and her family health insurance as a benefit. By doing this, I could deduct as a business expense not just the premiums but the out of pocket expenses, too. The IRS is challenging this.
  3. If you are self employed and middle class, chances are your largest tax is not income tax but social security. We pay a bit over 15 percent off the top, i.e., before IRA deductions, etc. Those who work for companies pay half, and their employer kicks in the other half. If you work for a decent company, you can also qualify often for group health coverage, which means there is no medical underwriting (AKA cherry picking) involved. A friend who smokes five packs of cigarettes a day and is obese gets health coverage at a tiny fraction of what we pay. He also pays 7.5 percent social security tax and will get much, much higher social security benefits when he retires (assuming he lives that long.)
  4. I later discoverd that Highmark Blue Cross offers a low income insurance policy for families of four earing less than $44,000 a year, adjusted gross income. I can do this! I would save $1300 a month in premiums. It covers four office vists a year, and major in patient and out patient procedures. No prescriptions. So I would either have to switch to all generics, which is fine by me, or--if there is a case where a prescribed drug is not yet available generically--make a trip to Canada or Mexico and try to sneak my supply back.
  5. Did I mention that my accountant told me that one of President Bush's last acts in office was to instruct the IRS not to go after hedge fund managers for audits, because their machinations were much too complex for the average agent to fathom. Instead, target the little guy who works for himself and tries to deduct his home office and his family's health care. Schedule C's, Bush supposedly said, are easy targets beause the are almost impossible to do correctly. Even the dullest IRS agent can find money to pluck here. And the people who get plucked don't have the money to hire top representation that will cost the IRS time.
  6. So, let me get this straight:

  • The Limbaugh Legions praise entrepreneurs, small busines types, Joe the Plumbers, etc.
  • The Wall Street types are given license to steel them blind.
  • US Big Pharma is granted the legal right to join New Zealand as the only two countries in the industrialized world to shameless tout ad on TV direct to consumers for drugs, creating demand for antidepressants, cholesterol lowering drugs, penis inflaters, hay fever and allergy meds, and so forth, all for chronic conditions that often require life time treatment, trumping up demand
  • US Big Health Insurance is granted the legal right to cherry pick through "medical underwriting" any individual who has ever taken any of the above drugs and deny him or her coverage or charge exorbitant rights
  • Big Pharma, furthermore, lobbies to block the reimportation of their drugs from Canada and pretty much any other country in the world, where the exact same thing costs anywhere from 50 percent to 8 times less. The rational: the FDA cannot assure the safety of reimported drugs, even ones in factory sealed bottles. Since the placebo halo effect probably accounts for a good chuck on pharmaceutical efficacy anyhow, those of us willing to take our chances are criminalized if we try to take such importaion into our own hands. Honestly, I wonder why the cartels even bother with cocaine. The big bucks would be peddling affordable Viagra and Lipitor to hedge funders.
  • If you work for a big company, you can qualify for cheap health insurance, but this for all too many people just becomes yet another way to keep you as a virtual indentured servant, putting up with abusive managers demanding you do unethical things to up the profit margins, work nonstop, ignore your family, etc.--all because they know a lot of people have become so stressed out and fat and unhealthy becauseof their jobs they CAN'T quit because they won't be insurable.
  • What, I ask you, is not a PONZI scheme in our modern land of liberty? Every different direction you look just turns your backside to another anal rapist.
  • And on this summary note, then, I proudly announce that I, Jim Thornton, generally affable swimming vlogger, have had enouh of being a sucker. I know I will always be one, that I cannot change my stripes. But by no longer railing against my fate, I have decided to quit the absurdity of financial ambition, of ambition of any sort, in fact, and rather just take whatever I can parasitically siphon off the sinking ship. Low income state sponsored health insurnace! Check! Sell my house and quit paying property tax to the school system tht so nicely educated my kids! Check! Live off pharmaceutical free samples and occasional road trips to Canada and quasi criminal acivities! Check! Use one of my four doctor visits a year to find a quack who will give me a PTSD disability diagnosis and qualify for assistance, food stamps, heat credits, etc. Check! Send away to that guy who dresses up in a suit with numbers all over it for more information on free goverment programs! Check!

To wit, I would like to introduce myself to all of you who have enjoyed, or not enjoyed, my (of late) erratically posted vlog! I am no longer just your friendly inhaler.

Think of me now as your new dependent! Whether you like it or not (and I must say, those who absolutely DON'T LIKE IT are the ones that will give me the most satisfation of all! I think I like being your newly minted Marxist Welfare Queen dependent best of all. In fact, I am sure of it.

I think I am finally going to start seeing some improvements in my swimming times.

Submit "Jim: A Newly Minted Marxist Welfare Queen Comin' Atcha" to Digg Submit "Jim: A Newly Minted Marxist Welfare Queen Comin' Atcha" to Submit "Jim: A Newly Minted Marxist Welfare Queen Comin' Atcha" to StumbleUpon Submit "Jim: A Newly Minted Marxist Welfare Queen Comin' Atcha" to Google

Updated April 16th, 2009 at 01:22 PM by jim thornton



Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
  1. Bobinator's Avatar
    Hi jimby!
    The good thing is a) you know what you are dealing with, and b) you have a plan. It might be an interesting adventure to try and exsist in the manner you just described. I think there's going to be alot of people doing exactly what you are about to do.
    It might make to be a very pertinant and relevant novel...."Adventures as a Nomad of Welfare"...I don't know, I'm not very creative on paper but you could come up with a catchy title.
    Anyway, the HCS in this country needs change....and fast!
    Good luck, happy swimming, and keep on vlogging (we miss you!)
  2. jim thornton's Avatar
    Thanks, bob! I may soon have a lot of free time on my hands, though access to a computer, or, for that matter, sharp instruments like pencils, may or may not come so freely!

    I am about to try working on my swan song swim story now. I had what seemed to be a nonstop nightmare last night, which has left me exhausted from my night's sleep. In it, I was stuck somewhere in the suburban sprawl between St. Petersberg and Moscow with no money, no knowledge of the Russian language, no vehicles, sore feet, and a GPS thing on a cell phone that did not translate to English. I met a girl who said she was from "Salt Lake" and who then promptly exited my dream, never to return. I went into a Rooskie 7-11 and wandered down a corridor gaurded by KGB. I heard splashing noises and convinced one of the policeman to let me see what was going on. It was a swim meet of old hairy russian men who may not have been wearing swim suits. I am not sure because the policeman made me go away.

    Anyhow, I have to shake off this dream, and then get started working on my swimming story swan song.
  3. The Fortress's Avatar
    I wouldn't worry about your Y meet times. You've been training hard and are preoccupied and stressed. Are you going to rest some for Zones? Anger generally seems to work well in the competition pool.
    Updated April 16th, 2009 at 11:31 AM by jim thornton
  4. qbrain's Avatar
    Change your contract to a C-Corp. Insurance is now fully deductible because it is a corporate expense. If someone sues, they sue your company, which never has any assets other than whatever outstanding contracts you have, and are suing an entity with no money. Audits end because you no longer file a schedule C. You now qualify for foodstamps and well fare because your income paid by the C corp is so low. Your SSN and Medicare expenses decrease because you only pay on your income, and your income has just plummeted. All your expenses for researching articles are paid with pre-tax dollars, because they are corporate expenses. One nationals every year is an all expense paid trip, except for entry fees, because that is where you board meeting is held every year. New office equipment is paid for pre tax as capital asset acquisition, but written off immediately because it is less than $20k. Business lunches and dinners are pre tax expenses of the company as soon as you start writing restaurant reviews. Maybe you should start a local grocery store review site and write off one shopping trip to each individual store a year, and hopefully you can plan your shopping well enough that the foodstamps will pay for repeat trips to the same store. Your company can have a policy of 100% reimbursement for medical expenses, including your current coverage, thus paying for the coverage with pre-tax dollars.

    Disclaimer: I don't know anything, and the tax avoidance strategies stated above were found in the back of a comic book next to an ad for a levitating chair. Use at your own risk.
  5. RustyScupperton's Avatar
    Contact Mother Jones or the nation. You sir, are the new H.L. Mencken/Upton Sinclair and your voice NEEDS to be heard across this land of ours!
    Bravo, Bravo, Bravisssimo!!!!!
  6. RustyScupperton's Avatar
    PS Me likees that comic book strategy next to the ad for the levitating chair!
  7. The Fortress's Avatar
  8. jim thornton's Avatar
    Qbrain! You are a genius! I am proud to be your dependent! I must say, unlike those who hate supporting me with their tax dollars, I take no pleasure siphoning away yours! I will try to figure out a way that I can be more of a burden on those I hate than those I like. But perhaps this is asking too much of our system. The one thing about democracy: would-be deadbeats like me must spread our pestilence across the body politic in a uniform way. Otherwise, we risk becoming socialists, nationalists, muslims, or whatever we don't want to be, according to our anal rapists!

    Oh, if only we could pick our unwilling patrons selectively!
  9. jim thornton's Avatar
    Leslie, thanks for the link. I had already found a similar one. I think that what is so obnoxious about this is the utter thanklessness of the demand. My argument: let the ****ing lawyers write the stories then, and everyone can sleep well, and in fact, have no choice but to sleep well, pretty well sums up my attitudes about these indemnification clauses.

    It's conceivable, though unlikely, I can get it plucked out--if they want me enough. But what about younger writers hoping to get established, who have no track record yet but are desperate for national publications to get their career started? Writers, that is, identical to me 25 years ago, back before I won a National Magazine Award and got MH nomintated for three others?

    People get away with what they can because they can. I think we are back in a Dickensian world these days, and the tighter money gets, the more we rats scramble and cannibalize each other, while the King Rats horde and cannibalize the most of all!

    Once in my life before I die: **** you, all my wold be overlords! You can't get away with it. I will not assist you in your efforts to manipulate the corrupt system to your advantage any longer! I can't stop or interfere in any way with your success in so doing, but no longer will I help you! No sir! Not one bit more! Again, let my vocal cords echo with the deliciousness of this phrase: **** **** **** **** **** you!
  10. poolraat's Avatar
    Jimby, I feel your pain. As a partner in a very small business, I can relate to the SS tax complaint and , like you I also pay a similiar amount for health insurance for myself and my family. My hopes to retire (or even semi-retirement) when my youngest finished school, dissapated into the same thin air as a great part of my retirement savings. Oh well!!!
  11. jim thornton's Avatar
    I think a lot of us are in a similar bind. I also think that we mammals are hard-wired to see movement and change more than static images. I'm hoping that once the new reality of my economic circumstances emerges, becomes clear, and stabilizes (for better or for worse), I will have an easier time getting used to it.

    I think the uncertainty associated with my (apparent) free fall is worse than whatever the ultimate reality will prove. IRS decision, job decision, healthcare reform (or not): all these should eventually emerge. Then I can habituate! Much of my current noise is that of a pig going down the chute to who knows where the chute is leading!
  12. tjrpatt's Avatar
    First of all, Joe the Plumber is neither a plumber nor named Joe. He is just a fame whore looking for attention. If the GOP wants to follow anything he says, then the GOP has the brain capacity of an ameoba! Bush only cared about the super rich and Dick Cheney's interest in Halliburton.

    sorry to hear about your personal Drama!

    Your swims weren't bad considering you weren't rested. We all have our bad meets. Anger over bad swimming can be helpful for future fast swims.
  13. Iwannafly's Avatar
    Jim, as far as I'm concerned, you can have every single cent of my income tax. Although, I would prefer to keep it for myself. I know that I have to sacrifice to support the greater good. And I enjoy your Vlog so much so that I would consider it part of the greater good!:-)
    I don't really have any advice for you, but I feel for you nonetheless! Keep up the good vlogging and forward the 'moobs' article when you can.
  14. ViveBene's Avatar
    qbrain is a genius. Absolutely, change the status of your corp.

    Congrats on going off the blocks while feeling de profundis. In natando virtu est.
    Updated April 16th, 2009 at 12:35 PM by jim thornton
  15. jim thornton's Avatar
    Hi, ViveBene.

    I looked up your second latin saying, and google asked: Did you mean: [ame=" pell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=In+nintendo+virtual +est&spell=1"]In nintendo virtual est[/ame]

    I must say, I found that rather amusing. Didn't Oscar Wilde write a tract entitled "de Profundus" while rotting in prison for "degeneracy" charges?

    I've been watching Little Dorrit and wonder if I have been dwelling too much of late on the days of shame and shabbiness that await.

    The stress of feeling like the victim of thieves who will not allow me to join their fraternity (don't know which is worse, actually: to be robbed, or to be left out of robbery school) --anyhow, it seems to have left my less than robust to begin immune system with even less of its guard up. I am sick, really dizzy, alternating chills and sweating spells, paradoxically gluttonous, and mercifully too weak to endure too much more frenzied self pity. It is now on the slow simmer setting, much more relaxing.

    I think when I am returned to physical health, I will work on its pyschological flipside. Then find myself a mentour who can help me with my new philosophy of what to look for in a charity:

    If you can find someone to give you an infusion of cash pillaged from your fellow man, you can stay solvent a little while longer.

    But if you can find someone to teach you how to do and get away with the pillaging, you can remain solvent, if soul-less, for the duration.

    You must have studied Latin, ViveBene. Mea cupida _______, can't remember for sure her name, that so captured the heart of Catullus and broke it so horribly after a while.
    Updated April 16th, 2009 at 12:37 PM by jim thornton
  16. ViveBene's Avatar
    Natando virtus.
    Virtue through swimming, which evidently they something 'bout. (Article idea: swimming through the ages, in story and rhyme.)

    Quintus Horatius, better known as Horace:

    Quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa
    perfusus liquidis urget odoribus
    grato, Pyrrha, sub antro?
    Cui flavam religas comam,

    Simplex munditiis? ...

    Et cetera. It ends:

    "I have hung up my dripping garments to the god of the sea."

    Catullus is also fine - Diffugere nives, the snows have fled, the young girls titter in the corner.

    Hmm. What if you start with the overarching concept and write article (chapter) after article (chapter), then you write the introduction, and there's a book?
    I used to write encyclopedia articles for a living. Or part of one. The fine young minds of the world are being edumacated by ppl writing on the dime.

    Maybe I should start a "Swimming and Belles Lettres" blog.
  17. jim thornton's Avatar
    Well, you are definitely a latinate scholar, or a Papist, but i suspect the former. It was mea cupida Lesbia, but i didn't want to give you the wrong idea. ViveBene, speaking as one who temporarily is going by the name ViveTristeInpecuniumque, if that is even close to a word, anyhow, could you translate the Horace passage. All i could get out of it was something about throwing a boy into a pool of liquid fire to cleanse of his smell!

    I did once try to write a book on the impact of birth control on human evolutionary biology that I entitled in the uppityness of youth: De Profundus Contraceptionque.

    Thanks for triggering a chain reaction of memories, crackling down the ruined synapses and sending old sparky smoke volts across the amyloid plaques in such a way as to bring back to mind the tidbits of my once Highest Pomposity Airs!
  18. ViveBene's Avatar
    I know about the Isle of Lesbos, where dwelt the most beautiful women of the world. I once had a fascinating discussion with a librarian as to whether Orpheus was torn apart by screaming maenads on the Isle of Lesbos, as I claimed, or on Thrace, as he claimed. Well! Torn apart on Thrace (historical accuracy), but his head, still singing, floated downsea until it reached the shores of Lesbos, where it was collected and a shrine was built (poetic truth).

    Where was I. U kin lk up Pyrrha an' git a translation. It is a marvelous poem. Utterly marvelous. I consternated one of my professors (not Latin) by writing it out in Latin before beginning the "discuss" part of the exam. The youth-words entwine the Pyrrha-words, in the center of the poem is the rosy bower about which all else entwines, her hair is done up, "simple in its complexities." It's called "Seafarer," but the whole world knows it as the Pyrrha poem. Shipwrecked love; he escapes the maelstrom with his life: I have hung up my dripping garments to the god of the sea (who is a standin for the god of love). A most intricate and technically sophisticated poem, yet light at heart.

    Yes, I probably read the Cupida poem. Spent one day on Caesar (Gallia ist omnis divisa in partes tres, quorum unam incolunt Belgae) and years on the poets. 'Struth!

    **Are you thinking of, "Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus"?
    Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love,
    And let's not pay any 'tention to those old fahrts who would disparage us.
    Da mihi basia, millia basia, centia basia, basia, basia...
    Updated April 13th, 2009 at 01:26 AM by ViveBene
  19. jim thornton's Avatar
    There is nothing like a real Intellectual to once again, and with the forcefulness of a punch to the solar plexus, remind me how truly pseudo-intellectual I am! Having said this, I nevertheless feel that the overall cognitive level of my vlog has skyrocketed through your generously posted comments! Thanks and please, please continue to post thusly! I have no idea what basia means, but to the Google I plan to immediately beat my path!

    My guess: it means either "garbage" (as in basura) or "bastard" (because both words start with "bas" and the world has no shortage of bastards).

    My pre-Google translation of Da mihi basia, millia basia, centia basia, basia, basia...

    Give the bastards a mai-tai, the military bastards, the centrist bastards, bastards, bastards, garbagey bastards...

    I will let you know later how close I have come to the Google translation.
  20. jim thornton's Avatar
    I WAS RIGHT! Barring just a wee bit of poetic license, my translation appears to have been right on the money!

    This from the Google:

    “Da mi basia mille, deinde centum, dein mille altera, dein secunda centum, deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum” just meaning: “Give me a thousand kisses, then hundred, then another thousand, then a second hundred, then yet another thousand more, then another hundred”.

    The Roman poet Catullus(ca. 84 BC – ca. 54 BC), often considered the greatest writer of Latin lyric verse, dedicated this poem to his lover Lesbia, a pseudonym of a real woman likely named Clodia.
    Uncanny how I, like Catullus, managed to pick up on the exact same themes of intoxication, betrayal, bastardom, and garbage! Clearly, of course, my translation sports a "reading between the lines" quality that Catullus has left a bit hidden, vis a vis his coming fate with Clodia!

    But aside from this, we understand the world in exactly the same way!
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast