Some of you know the following story, others may not. Regardless, I share it now because of the continuing saga of healthcare debate in this country. It is an issue near and dear not only to my heart, but also my pocketbook. This is the case with countless others. How many people have had their lives wrecked by the costs of healthcare?
Roughly fourteen years ago, I was visiting in-laws for the holidays. They smoked, and I've always had a particular sensitivity to cigarette smoke. It's one of the reasons dad and I weren't close. He smoked like a chimney, and being around it for too long gave me headaches. At any rate, the multi-day visit with the in-laws caused me to have several coughing fits. By the time Ashley & I were home, I'd developed a baseball-size lump at the base of my neck.
A visit to the doctor and a CT scan revealed that I'd ruptured something while coughing, and had bled into it, forming a cyst that was filled with blood. Some treatment was presc…
It's time for the 20th annual Matt Awards!
I've always loved movies, and have always disagreed -- to a greater or lesser extent -- with the choices of the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. Therefore, The Matt Awards are here to showcase what I consider to be the best in cinema every year. It is, of course, another list of truth from yours truly.
2016 was a very good year for movies. There was a diversity of content, tone, acting, directing, cinematography and mood. There was, truly, something for everyone. This made it very difficult for me to decide on precise favorites, but I've managed to do so. I highly recommend the following selections, even the choice for Best Picture which is, admittedly, a bit quirky and doesn't make for conventional viewing.
So, without further adieu....
Recently I've seen attempts to justify unfriending friends or family (in real life and on social media) because said friends and family members voted for Donald Trump, or some other politician whom offends them. I've also witnessed far-left liberals trying to prevent anyone from celebrating Senator Cory Booker because he may not have always voted in ways they approve of.
All of this reminds me of an experience I had last week. It was a biopsy of some lymph nodes in my neck. It was in the cold, sterile setting of a hospital. There were several staff members running to and fro, going about their business of the day, a small part of which had to do with my procedure. Most of them were professional and polite, though not particularly warm and friendly.
Except for one.
"It was nice of them, he thought sleepily, looking up into the ring of smiling eyes, to look so pleased that he wasn't going to die after all."
-- P.D. James, The Black Tower
So, I saw the doctor this morning.
After weeks of ultrasounds, CT scans, blood work, biopsies, and radiologists, pathologists, specialists and primary care physician visits, it looks like I don't have a recurrence of thyroid cancer. One would think I'd be elated at such news, but it's more like a weary appreciation at this point. It's been a roller coaster month of uncertainty, and that can take a lot out of someone. Still, I'm relieved.
You may have heard folks say that smells are a good time machine, often whisking us back to various moments in our lives, even with just a whiff of an old scent remembered. While our olfactory senses are certainly good for recalling memories and planting us back to where they began, I would argue that another good method for accomplishing this is music.
Songs can be a powerful madeleine, recalling a setting, or a place in time, that we either have fond or disagreeable memories of. I experienced such an occurrence recently when Sting's song When We Dance came on the radio. Released in 1994 as the new song from his 'best of' compilation, the track did moderately well here in the U.S. (peaking at # 38 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart), but it was an immediate favorite of mine.
What a difference a year makes.
Most of the time, I have trouble narrowing down the favorite songs of the year into a list of just 10, and typically delay publishing the list until late January or February. Not so with 2016. I pretty much had this list done by October, though kept a flicker of hope alive that the last two months would bring some miraculous onslaught of good tunes. Alas, it was not to be.
Here, then, are my picks for the Top 10 songs from 2016, for whatever it's worth....