The Price of Reassurance

Body Vox in Carmina Burana

I received the insurance statement regarding my recent stress test: $2,408 in clinic charges, less $917 “provider responsibility,” netting $1,491 out-of-pocket. As such things go, not too bad. Well within our budgetary constraints. (Provided, of course, there are no further charges, like from some doctor for “interpreting” the results.)

It makes one think once again about private-insurance vs. universal health care. Specifically in terms of portability.

We eventually will move from our present house. The present budget says 2015. That can change depending on numerous factors, but for present purposes assume it remains accurate. Another assumption is that one or both girls will not remain in NYC. One is already speaking of moving to California. My wife wants to move closer to at least one girl, presumably in 2015.

The question for me will be, will the private portion of my insurance be portable at that time? (I’ll be on Medicare by then.) With my type II diabetes, I don’t know how an insurance carrier other than my present one will view an application for coverage. It’s a big unknown to which I’ve not devoted any research.

Under universal health care, portability would no longer be an issue. In principle I’m opposed to at least the “socialized medicine” aspects of universal health care. Portions of the proposals, however, merit a closer look and consideration. Certainly for many people such a system will be far better than what we’re experiencing presently. As my wife reminds me, one major, chronic health condition could destroy all our plans.


Is it my imagination, or is my favored nomenclature for labeling inkjet prints, “Archival Pigment Print,” gaining currency? I’ve seen it at the Museum of Modern Art, and most recently on the weekly GalleryPrint Picture of the Week. As I’ve said elsewhere, this phrase should become widely adopted by printmakers, museum curators and gallery owners alike as the best description of modern inkjet prints.


I just received a mailer from “One Steamboat Place,” apparently a new condominium development in the Colorado ski mecca, Steamboat Springs. Where do these people get the idea I’d be interested? I’m no longer a skier (haven’t been for over a decade), have never been to Steamboat, and (discussion above notwithstanding) have never indicated any interest in moving from our present location.

What pisses me off most, however, and with which I’m sure all U.S. readers will agree: I’m subsidizing the promoter’s right and ability to send me this crap. If I read the postage tables correctly, to send these brochures these people pay about half what I pay (the postage frank says, “PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID”). My first class postage starts at 41 cents, so you have to figure that my rate is higher in order that their rates stay low. All thanks, I am sure, to the bulk mailers’ lobbyists.

I know there are self-help methods for dealing with this stuff (although nothing as effective as the “do not call” lists) — just read this. I’m just too lazy, I guess.


The Minnesota Opera offered us an unusual pairing: Pagliacci with Carmina Burana. With dancers from Body Vox (Portland, Oregon), it turned out to be inspired. (The photo was taken with the Canon D30 and thus was very noisy, and thus appears a little soft due to techniques used to reduce the noise.) (Click the image to see full size.)

Speaking of the Minnesota Opera, last night was the Opera’s performance of Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette (remarked on before Christmas on the occasion of the awful Met Opera HD theater simulcast). Temps here overnight dipped to -13, with wind chills in the -40 range — dangerous even for the two block walk from dinner to the theater. Wife and I decided to favor survival over sartorial splendor, so sweaters, warm shoes and ski jackets were the order of the night instead of suits and nice outerwear. Having said that, the waitress serving our table at dinner mentioned that we could use a combination of skyway and tunnel between the restaurant’s building all the way virtually to the front door of the Ordway. The damn thing opened in 2002 and this is the first time I had ever heard of it! So we really didn’t need the survival gear after all.

The performance was superb, and in a sense was sort of a reunion, since the Romeo was James Valenti, a tenor whom I photographed in 2000-2002 (notably here in La Boheme), and Romeo’s page, a “pants role,” was sung by Adriana Zabata, a gorgeous young soprano whom I photographed in The Barber of Seville (here) and Little Women (here).

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