Wisdom of MY Words

Random Musings & Book Reviews

Archive for July, 2013

09 July
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Health Studies and How It Affects Everyone

The Hartford Courant ran an article about an 1800 person study commissioned by Aetna Life & Casualty and they claim that my children are less healthy my Gen-X generation, or my parents the Baby Boomers.

Aetna

UPDATE on this gloomy day in August 2013: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/08/05/aetna-withdraws-connecticut-health-exchange/2619695/

The nuts and bolts of the study asked people ages 25-64 (which would include me, but exclude my mother) which generation they believe is the healthiest. 45% said their own generation! Laughable! My own mother, 68, doesn’t exercise. She doesn’t take walks, unless it’s in a mall to get to a sale. She’s retired. She does less walking now than she did when she worked fulltime. Then, 32% said it was their parents’ generation; which would be me saying the Baby Boomers are healthier than us Gen-Xers, and lastly, 23% said it was the Millennials. Considering a lot of Millennials are pretty young (like my own three: 22, 18 and 13), and are either in school or working they have nothing better to do than drink, and exercise. Pretty much the same thing I was doing at their age!

Since Aetna is trying to sell people health insurance, the study didn’t include any one of Medicare age, because well, they can’t sell anything but Medi-Gap to them. The bad thing is that Millennial’s were described as people between 25-36; which is ludicrous! Anyone born before 1980 should not be a Millennial: Gen Y comes right after Gen-X, and that term was popularized by Douglas Coupland’s 1991 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. It was supposed to include people born in the early 60s to the early 80s, and that works with the 1982 date that Generation Y was given when Ad Age coined the term in an 1993 op-ed article.

Twice as many Boomers than either Gen-X or Millennials defined “being healthy” as getting recommended medical screenings and checkups. There is a reason for this, once job security is a thing of the past, health care costs soar, and intelligent people decide that seeing a doctor and being charged $800-1500 for the blood work done at a physical is unimportant, it means they care where their money is spent, not that they are unhealthy!

An even better arbiter of being healthy, eating well, is more important on a day-to-day basis, but only 12% of Baby Boomers agree, with 14% of Gen-Xers and 24% of Gen-Y. That’s because we fed our kids more veg and fruit than our parents EVER fed us!

Another good measurement of being healthy is regular exercise (get your 10,00 steps in a day people!) but only 12% of Boomers, 14% of Gen-Xers and 22% of Millennials think so, and actually voted that way.

Lastly, 37% of Millennials, 23% Gen-Xers, and 16% Boomers said they reach for alcohol when stressed, and far worse is that 51% of Millennials, 48% of Gen-X and 36% of Baby Boomers said they reach for junk food when tense.

How Aetna reads this study is going to affect how they price policies for health insurance. Overwhelmingly it looks to me like Gen-Y is healthier, but if they consider that alcohol statistic along with the snacks then it isn’t going to be the adage of: the older you are the more you pay for insurance, it will be everyone affected by a rise in premiums because of a study of only 1800 people.

09 July
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The Hit by David Baldacci

THE HIT is the second book in the Will Robie Assassin series after THE INNOCENT. I could barely get through The Innocent. I saw a David Baldacci book at the airport before I left for London. On the flight I started The Shining Girls, and read all three of Lauren Beukes’ books by the time we were flying back to the states. The husband picked up some Baldacci for my Kindle while in London, so on the day flight back, I started THE HIT.

TheHit

It begins by pedantically explaining how the U.S. Government needs hit men and women for black ops assassinations, which is really just murder for hire. Not a leap, as other books have had the same premise, and we are now living in the post Edward Snowden America. An America where even our library book borrowing history was gathered by GWB’s administration, so why would BHO’s administration be any better? These assassins, specifically Will Robie and Jessica Reel, supposedly have deep-seeded issues that make them the perfect killing machines to rid America of undesirables and threats in our own, and other countries.

Will Robie is the de facto killing machine, and he is sent after Reel when it is discovered that she killed one of their operatives. Robie blithely follows what “Blue Man” and his other superiors tell him to do, hunting down Reel. But there are two sides to every story. Has Jessica really gone rogue, or has someone high up in Government made it look like she’s a threat? Then it starts to become droll. Reel is actually fighting a systemic internal problem that is all about preserving the end of the world as we know it, for the rich. A think-tank employee, and what actually reliable papers come out of a think tank?!, turned middle-of-nowhere conspiracy theorist with a militia, is tracked down by Reel because of a paper he wrote. A hypothetical paper. That people in the American government are supposedly implementing.

It’s so far-fetched by now, adding the lack of any critical thinking I have to do, and absolutely no words harder than a fifth-grade vocabulary, made me want to put this book down many, many times. But I wanted two things: 1) I wanted to know what in the heck Americans actually *think* is good literature because Baldacci couldn’t have become so well-known if he sucked (oh, wait, this is the same population that reads Patterson, so I’m just shaking my head); and 2) I thought my 13 year old before finishing middle school next year could read this for summer reading. I continued reading because of #2, because in all honesty I made up my mind about Baldacci around 25% of THE HIT.

I finished it. I was disappointed. The husband nagged me for something new to read, and I told him THE HIT. He hated it. He said, “Didn’t you tell me to read The Innocent?” I checked my Kindle. By golly, I didn’t even get past 50% in that book and my husband read the whole thing. All the glowing five-star reviews make me think I’m crazy, but no, in all honesty, that book made me stupider. I did not exercise one brain cell while reading THE HIT. I read a book a day (about, unless it’s some hard stuff, or I’m out of town actually doing things for 16 hours a day), and in 2012 I completed 264 Kindle books, 42 library books, and a myriad of print books; none of them came close to this level of dull, except for Patterson.

If you’re looking for a book for a kid, this is a decent choice for a boy; if you have a better than 8th grade reading level, try something challenging instead.