Hallowe’en and War of The Worlds

At midnight, on All Hallow’s Eve, I light a candle, grab some Kit Kat and listen to an old recording of Orson Wells’ famous “War of The Worlds” broadcast. 


Although I’ve read some online articles stating that there wasn’t a panic caused by the broadcast, my mother’s family verified that there was indeed a huge scare.

In Cincinnati that night, grandparents were hosting a Hallowe’en party, my young mother and her friends gathered around the radio to hear Orson Wells’ broadcast. They said they had been listening from the start of the show and knew it was radio entertainment. But, many people started listening only after their friends called, telling everyone that they’d better turn on the radio, something big was happening. 

When you listen to this radio play, just imagine what you might have thought if you’d come in after the show has started. People did panic. My mother said the phone and doorbell started ringing as neighbors called and went door-to-door to check on each other.

My grandmother explained it was just a show but it took a bit of doing, and some Hallowe’en candy, to calm people down.

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I’m pretty sure I need this..


Godzilla fans looking for the ultimate collectible might want to check out the first release in Bandai’s Human Size Figure line — a giant Godzilla statue based on the design from the 1991 film “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.”

The Godzilla statue by Design Coco stands 6 feet 4 inches (192 centimeters) and costs approximately $43,500

Health Insurance Costs

I’m not posting this as a comment on the politics of the election nor my opinion of political leaders. I’m posting this because, regardless of your political standing, those of us with chronic conditions need to know what is happening to Health Care and why. 

This is an article, written by an analyst for the Center for Data Analysis. It explains why health insurance premiums are going higher each year . It is good to remember that The Affordable Care Act premium increases were written into the law when it was originally passed, everyone had ample warning of what would happen.

Article edited for length and to remove any political statements. 

ARTICLE By : Drew Gonshorowski – 2014

(Drew Gonshorowski focuses his research and writing on the nation’s new health care law, including the repercussions for Medicare and Medicaid. He also studies economic mobility at the Austrian school of economics).

The main reason many insurers are raising premiums this year is because they are experiencing higher than expected costs.

This increase implies that the people currently signed up in the plans are less healthy than what was anticipated by the company when calculating what to charge for premiums.

This also shows, as pointed out by senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center Brian Blase, that the government mandate is not having the expected effect on enrollment. 

Additionally, some government plans are utilizing a narrow network model, which is less flexible on doctors and providers, to keep premium increases low.

While this year’s experience with the Affordable Care Act exchanges has been worse than expected, it is important to remember that the Affordable Care Act had already drastically increased premiums for individual health insurance.

As an example : For 2014, in the state of Tennessee, premiums for a 27-year-old on the exchanges cost 70 percent more than what that person would have paid previously. In 2015, premiums would increase another 18 percent for that individual, in a year that was billed as one including “modest” increases.

For a 50-year-old, premiums increased by 31.6 percent in 2014 and 9.8 percent in 2015. In 2016, the premium increases for younger adults is similarly larger than the rest of the population. While many will point to the subsidies as a reason premiums are not rising quickly for many individuals in the exchanges, it is important to note the effect higher costs have on discouraging enrollment from people that have higher incomes.

These people won’t get a subsidy, and subsequently, shopping in the exchanges isn’t nearly as appealing. The fact remains that these subsidies still have to be funded, and at an increasing rate.

This behavior in the markets is not some glitch or temporary effect. Heavily regulating insurance plans in these markets has led to large increases in premiums. There are several examples, but three factors contribute greatly to increasing premiums.

The Affordable Care Act restricts age-specific pricing to a ratio of 3 to 1. This means that Obamacare doesn’t allow prices to vary between someone who is 18 and someone who is 64 by more than three times the medical cost. The natural variation in medical costs across the ages is, however, at least five times. This restricts the amount a person can be charged directly for his expected costs.

The Affordable Care Act requires health plans to cover a set of “essential health benefits,” as well as a list of “preventive services” for which plans are prohibited from charging enrollees any copayments.

This leads to increased costs by making many plans pay for benefits that individuals do not need or utilize. Finally, the Affordable Care Act’s minimum actuarial requirement establishes a floor for what plans must pay toward the cost of covered services. The law standardizes this into metal tiers. Plans under 60 percent no longer exist.

The Affordable Care Act was sold as something that would lower the cost of health care for millions of Americans. The only thing another year of premium increases proves, now once again accelerating,  is that the promise becomes harder and harder to believe.

Hocus Pocus


Hocus-pocus has been around since the early 17th century. The Oxford English Dictionary tells of a conjurer called Hocus-Pocus who used the phrase as part of a faux-Latin incantation during his act: “Hocus pocus, tontus talontus, vade celeriter jubeo.” It’s been plausibly suggested that hocus-pocus is a corruption of the genuine Latin words hoc est enim corpus meum, “for this is my body,” spoken during the consecration of the Roman Catholic Mass when the wine and wafer are said to be transformed into the body and blood of Christ. Some experts, presumably non-Catholic, think hocus-pocus itself was then corrupted into the word hoax.
Abracadabra is a much older term, turning up first in a second-century poem. It was used by the Gnostics, early Christians who placed great stock in esoteric knowledge. The term has been explained as (1) a combination of the Hebrew words ab (“father”), ben (“son”), and ruach acadosch (“holy spirit”); (2) a derivation of the name of one Gnostic leader, Abrasax; or (3) a derivation of Abraxas, a Gnostic word for God, “the source of 365 emanations.” Allegedly the Greek letters for Abraxas add up to 365 when translated according to numerological principles. If you wrote abracadabra on a parchment in a triangular arrangement —
A B R A C A D A B R A
A B R A C A D A B R
A B R A C A D A B
— etc., and hung it around your neck, you’d supposedly be cured of the ague (fever). The over-the-counter remedy of the day, I guess, and probably worked equally well.
Presto, Italian for “quickly,” has been used by conjurers for centuries to command the unseen demons. A possibly related term is prestidigitation, or sleight of hand, which is probably derived from the Latin words for “quick fingers.”  (Article by Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope)

Spooky Pokemon

Ah, there’s nothing like spending October hanging out in Pokemon haunted mansions with these guys.

And then there’s this..

A Scottish Hallow’een


Halloween Traditions

Like many ancient festivals, Samhain continued with the coming of Christianity. November 1st was henceforth to be All Saints Day. The night before was Eve of All Saints Day, or the Eve of All Hallows. But while the name might have changed, old habits persisted. Halloween was a time when witches and warlocks might walk abroad, engaged in wicked practices. In many parts of Scotland it was customary to leave an empty chair and a plate of food for invisible guests. People believed that it was the night when the souls of the dead were set free to roam. They might come into their houses and eat at their tables. The hour before midnight was the witching hour when the departed returned. Silence was marked as the chimes of midnight rang out.
Its not hard to understand why, in Scotland of all places, Halloween continued to be important. Much of the nations history involves the supernatural. From the witches of Macbeth as imagined by William Shakespeare to the real burning of women, accused of working with the devil, in a rash of satanic trials during the seventeenth century. There is a special atmosphere in many parts of Scotland even to this day where, as daylight fades, the flames of Halloween bonfires show up ancient ramparts of castles and buildings where devilish deeds once may have been done.
Robert Burns, Scotlands greatest bard, wrote extensively of how ancient beliefs had survived well into the Christian era, as he twisted stories of witchcraft and the devil with the traditions kept alive during Halloween. What is remarkable is how so much of the pagan past persists to this day. Bonfires, which once were lit to scare away the undead, still illuminate the October sky. Lanterns, which in Scotland were always carved out of turnips, are fashioned for the same purpose. Until recently trick or treat was unknown in Scotland. Instead children here dressed up in old clothes, or pretended to be evil spirits and went guising. The custom traces back to a time when it was thought that by disguising children in this way they would blend in with the spirits that went abroad that night. Any such child who approached a house would be given an offering to ward off evil. These days children who knock on their neighbours doors have to sing for their supper. Or tell stories for a gift of sweets or money.
Childrens parties are still an important element of Halloween. One of the most popular games in Scotland is dookin’ for apples, where bairns (children) have their hands tied behind their backs and try and grab apples from a basin full of water.
Apple dookin usually follows on from the game of treacle scones. Here again the hands of the children are tied, and sometimes they are also blindfolded. Participants are invited to bite a scone, covered in treacle, hanging from a rope. Messy faces are usually then washed in the apple basin!
As part of the Tweed Valley Forest Festival in November 2008, the town of Peebles set the world record for the most amount of people to dook for apples at one time. Amongst the 70-strong participants was a local MP and a councillor.
The modern world has had an effect on some of these customs. Pumpkins are now as common as turnips for lanterns. Children turn up shouting trick or treat and expect gifts without having to perform, and traditional songs and games are dying out in some areas. But there is still sufficient spookiness in old Scotland to ensure that the Halloween rituals will be as everlasting as the spirits that are said to return to earth when dusk arrives on October 31st.

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