Saturday, April 3, 2010

Was 3 hours of suffering enough?

Food for Thought

I am a US citizen and have legal permanent residence in Italy. I came here after retiring from my US job in 2003. I will tell you just a few of my experiences. My mother-in-law was booted out of the hospital to die at age 84. We hired a nurse and got various medical devices and cared for her for another 2 years at home. If she had been alone, she would have been effectively killed by the state run hospital system. Italians will not let their loved ones stay in a hospital alone, period.

My sister in law flew from Naples to Milan for cancer surgery 3 years ago because the wait at the state hospital was at least 6 months. She got treated in 3 days. Good news is that there are private hospitals in Italy if you can afford to pay. This long wait is routine for many procedures at state hospitals. CAT scans are running 3-4 months out. The “free” keeps getting less so as well. Since I have been here, the fees for everything (called a ticket) keep going up each year.

I should point out that hospital administrators are politically appointed, as are department heads. Thus, the political elite and their cronies do not get the same treatment as the rest of citizens. this is probably one point that the social justice fans in Amerika have not yet considered. Stupid laws do not change human nature.

When I first went inside a locale state hospital I thought I was going back in time 50 years and had gone to some 3rd world undeveloped country. Try these two descriptors: dirty and run down.

Many of the state paid doctors have their own practice in the evenings where you can get things done quicker , if you have the money. You will get discounts for cash as the 60% tax rate encourages both the doctor and patient to cut out the government for mutual benefit.

I visit a cousin in Scotland to play golf about once or twice a year. Per his accounts, the UK system is in a similar sorry state. My God, what have ignorant voters supported in the USA?!

Ciao from Naples, Italy


I went to the Tenth Avenue North/Casting Crowns concert last night. I actually didn't even realize it was on Good Friday at the time I booked the ticket online. It was certainly a unique way to worship on the day that commemorates our Lord's death but no less meaningful. My mission on most Good Fridays is to get a glimpse, feel a sliver of what Christ endured on the cross. Just an inkling is all it takes for the weight of that moment to be felt deep inside my soul. It's a good and proper reminder of the cost my Savior endured for me.

Last night wasn't quite like that. Yes, there were moments of reflection and meditation on Christ's sacrifice. There were lyrics from songs that stood out more than they might on other days given it was Good Friday. There are constant reminders of the cross in almost every good Christian song so it wasn't hard to continually reflect throughout the night on Jesus' death.

The first act was Caleb - a young guy - probably a teenager along with this brother. He performed 3 songs. Good voice but the songwriting needs some work.

Then Tenth Avenue North performed. Their music has really been a blessing to me so it was very cool to see them live. Their energy is infectious. They were probably the highlight for me since I know their music the best. They got 7 songs and I would have been fine with twice that.

Casting Crowns was the headline act and didn't disappoint. The songs "East to West" and "Voice of Truth" have been two of the most important songs in my spiritual walk and they sang them both. God had plenty to say to me during those times. It was cool to find out that they only perform on the road Thursday through Saturday. The rest of the time they are at their respective churches doing ministry. I think that says a lot for who is getting the glory when they are on stage.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

And now...

Conway Twitty.