Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Congrats Reykjavík!

I was listening to NPR breifly this morning, I think to a re-broadcast of BBC, and they had the current president of Iceland talking to them about the (suprisingly successful) financial recovery in his country following the collapse of the banks.

Congrats is two-fold:

The Icelanders didn't succumb to international pressure (or international folly) in bailing out the banks with government funds and the "too big to fail" concept. Just because everyone else jumped off a cliff like panicked antelope, they didn't need to.

Icelanders did put their former president on trial for the lead-up to the financial collapse. Or rather are in the process. Whether he is actually even a little at fault or not, I have no idea. But I wish America took that kind of resolve, and also I wish our government knew some accountability rather than all their formal bribes and self-interest-over-short-sightedness nonsense. In my opinion, every congressman involved in the bail outs should be forced to resign.

I read recently that Edgar Allen Poe was decidedly against the idea of democracies. He appears to have favored a constitutional monarchy more than anything. I found that fascinating.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Where have you travelled?

With my mom's fledgling travel agency, I have been to Costa Rica providing assistance with dental tourism. Before that, out of the USA, only barely into Canada (Sault St. Marie) and barely into Mexico (Puerto Penasco). Within the US, lets see, NC, the Outer Banks of NC, SC, Tenn, Arkansas, Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, Florida and Virginia. Also, I have driven though parts of Texas, Missouri, Georgia, Ohio, West Virginia, and Michegan. Did I forget any? I bet I misspelled Michegan. And I misspelled mispelled.

Well, who'd da thunk, I got misspelled right. I slaughtered Michigan, though.

An important comment regarding "travel ethics"
No, I'm not talking about eco-friendly, socially conscious, sustainable toursim, although that's all important. But I am talking about how YOU as a person feel about travel and YOU make OTHERS feel.
I know when I've heard others talk about extravagant travel experiences, and especially conspicious globe-trotting, it's rather depressed me. As if I already wasn't feeling badly about not having a job.

So, I aplogize if my travel talk has done that to anyone.

Travel, like all of life's luxuries, is best kept as a special occassion, I think. Living within one's means is a virtue that America seems to have veered away from (the government and the people).

new flier/ handout for Dental Travel business

Today I typed up a new flyer for our young business.
How does it sound? I have received friendly criticism to certain grammar sacrifices made in the name of expediency.

Fair, Affordable Dentist Visits (and Medical Scans)
imagine, if U.S. prices $6,000, then Costa Rica as low as $3,000 (including all normal travel costs, even airfare!) At {our business}, we don't seek the cheapest care, but rather affordable quality care.
Can you imagine getting world class dental care for up to 70% less than in the USA? Root canal: $300, Porcelain Crown: $395, Dental implant: $1800. This is all by highly skilled dental professionals in a modern, high-tech dental clinic in Costa Rica. You get a great vacation and save lots of money BUT you don't want to travel alone in a strange country BECAUSE "I don't know where to go, the language, or where to begin finding the best hotels and dentists." Well, we have simplified EVERYTHING for you. While some dental tourism agencies book the dentist and hotel for you, we are right there at the hotel and dentist office with you, WITH A BILINGUAL REGISTERED NURSE and staff on hand to attend to your vacation and dental needs. Personal service makes us unique in this industry.
JOIN OUR UPCOMING TOUR! We are here in the USA, and in Costa Rica to help you.
Our services include before, during, and after your trip! Assistance with airlines and passports, our partner hotel and catered breakfasts, and ready FREE international phone and bilingual nurse
Visit our website at {?}
Learn more at the Clemmons Library Auditorium, Thursday, April 5, 2012 between 5 / 6 pm.
No Internet? No problem! Call our local travel representative 336-300-4000

Monday, March 19, 2012

Reading about eggs today

Note to self: Soft boiled eggs are healthier than scambled eggs, according to these articles. Number Two, find a local farmer's market type source for real free-range eggs (rather than trust a grocery store) once I have an income.

Number Three, I still say it looks like store-bought eggs are "whitewashed"



I don't really know enough to recommend that above website, but it sounds like an intelligent resource (if taken with the requisite grain of salt).
Moreover, these are not new ideas to me, although I hadn't heard about the scrambled eggs bit.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Poe as translated by Baudelaire

I have read it said that "Poe translated by Baudelaire is better than Poe in English."

I can't really comment from personal experience, but I can well beleive it. Why? After reading various works of Poe, while I congratulate him on being an excellent story-constructor, and an adept at playing on a readers' subconcious, and at "getting inside the head of" his (often) insane protagonists, his works have little of what I would call a Shakespearean mastery of wordplay.

However, Charles Baudelaire does appear to have it. Although even then I find myself at the mercy of the translator (and editors) to reach any opinion.

Shakespeare and Baudelaire aren't the only authors to have such a "way with words," and I find myself unable to properly explain the distinction. It is one of those few ideas felt rather than conceived, I think.

What have you read by French authors?

This blog post is directed at my American audience (assuming anyone otherwise is listening), and I thus apologize if it offends and French readers by its ignorance.

Anyway, except for Les Miserables force-fed in high school, not much I can think of. I think that is pretty true for most European languages. A German story here, a Spanish story there.

Well, I was reading a book about Poe recently, on my continuing Poe bent, called The Unknown Poe. The book itself is about half Poe's writings and about half writings about Poe, many of them by French authors.

And that brings me to the point of my blog today. Charles Baudelaire was Poe's most celebrated translator, defender, and apologist, from what I understand. His writings on Poe comprised the best part of the book for me thus far. His use of language leaves me breatheless (which is a monumental complemint to his translator, whose name I cannot remember, certainly a great wordsmith in his own right).

I am now determind (when I get the chance) to look up more works by Baudelaire, which I assume I can find. Although my patience with poetry is not especially robust. Also, Ernest Himingway himself recommends Valéry (I assume he meant Paul Valéry), and I also want to look him up, too.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

our new travel business

My mom has had an idea to start a travel business (I am leaving it unnamed by request). After we made our 2-person trip to Costa Rica to have her dental work done (much cheaper than American prices, but with suprisingly high standards of care) she wants to offer her experience to others, especially the many Americans who aren't very comfortable with the idea of international travel. Even after including her airfare (for both of us!), hotel, travel expenses, and then dental bill, she still calculates she saved $5,000 AND had important dental work done. She might have left her problems unaddressed because she wasn't happy with the cost of care in the U.S.

We (this propsed company) would make it easier for people to travel. When you're an American in Costa Rica, it's easy to have problems. We did. Badly at first. Especially money. As a tourist, you don't want to carry too much cash, but once you're in Costa Rica, getting access to your own bank account is very tricky. We can work that out. Also, we can set-up international calls.

A $6,000 U.S. bill would probably take a Costa Rican trip costing a total of around$3,500 (dental costs + airfare + hotel + agency fees + various travel expenses). That's a lot of money, but a two thousand dollars' savings is also a lot of money. And in the U.S. dental insurance doesn't seem to help very much, even if you are lucky enough to have it. The price might be much lower, because airfare can be as cheap as $58 sometimes.

It's a good idea, I think, one that helps her, me, Amber, all our family make money, but also helps any customer of ours to save a lot of money and have better healthcare because they can suddenly afford what they need. And with the idea of making money (having a honest-to-goodness job) while helping others out it something I like a lot. I bet you know some older people who can't afford their medical and dental, and are putting off things they really need. This is for them.

She has put together a website, just a few days ago.
I am impressed with how good it looks.

The worst part about the whole trip for me was the international travel, especially the airports, and feeling helpless and price-gouged by the airports. Once in Costa Rica, it really wasn't bad at all if you have money you can access.

We're still working on the prices a bit, but it is mostly final. We want to get a group together for April 22 to March 3rd. That's soon. A bit scary soon.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rush Limbaugh insults by calling 'slut' and 'prostitute'

I find it intersting to hear multiple sides of this issue.

Rush Limbaugh actually first broadcast on this, saying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODI-NALkI4c

He apparently followed up with about 3 days of name-calling.

Glenn Back says: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnnMcLHjueI&feature=related
(with some clips from Ms. Fluke's original testimony)

The Young Turks say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEl9p1tN8BI
and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgPQgZH89Kg

An independant critical comment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEiOY2SUSs4

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My dental trip to Costa Rica

I don't have bad teeth (I am only 29), but my mom was doing all this, and so since I didn't want her to go alone, I planned to go. But that isn't to make it sound dreary. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, except for the {excessive and unnecessary] hassle of international travel. So I got dental work done too, although not urgent, I might as well take advantage. I have my whole dental life ahead of me.

You see, for her (or most any American needing at least a few expensive dental procedures) is was significantly cheaper all told to pay international airfare there and back, a touristy luxury Costa Rican hotel, daily tourism activities (such as museums), AND the (quality) dental work itself.

That is a sad commentary on American medical/dental/insurance circumstances.

I'm not just guessing at the value or savings or quality. After having made this trip ourselves, we can now make totals of all our expenses as well as our equivalent American prices. We can also know which dentists are actually of the good quality and skill an American would want to make all this worthwhile (for instance, my dentist, a Dr. Ms. Marin, did much of her training at UCLA).

For American prices, I used an online Consumer Reports article, www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/02/dental-care.html. Too view the full price listings, I'm afraid you have to be a subscriber.

For Costa Rican prices, we have our receipts and dental work agreements from where we actually had this work done (Feb 2012)

I had some extraordinary sight-seeing experiences, but for my 6 days there I spent the large majority in and around dental offices.
However, I got one day of real sight-seeing, which was a great value through Expediciones Tropicales, in which I went on their Combo tour, with the Doka Coffee PLantation, the Poas Volcano National Park, and the La Paz Waterfall Garden.
I say great value, because although it seemed pricey at first, I later looked at all that I did that was included and realized what a value it was!
I have a keen interest in waterfall sight-seeing, and so this day trip was especially meaningful for me.

I never made it to the San Jose Zoo, nor the Jade Museum, and I never got to taste fresh guanabana fruit. That was disappointing, although what I did get to do was more than I ever expected.

My mom wants to try and do more of these trips, for herself and her friends. I felt very safe in Costa Rica. It seemed quite a safe place to go, unless of course you went into the worst areas (same as any U.S. city). You hear many scary things online, but I didn't face any (although I did take malaria tablets).