Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Brunswick’s “Health Care” Evolution, wanted or not…

This might be a good time for you to reread this post-


from last August, which featured this graphic as an opening:


It included these as well:


How prophetic, thought it took no particular insight or genius to read the handwriting on the wall.  And the Side family has now experienced the final shoe dropping.

Let’s go back a bit.  At least for us, there have been three ‘major’ players involved in this evolution.  The Mid Coast Health System; the Parkview Adventist Medical Center (PAMC); and the Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC), located in Lewiston.  From Side’s perspective, all three have failed to live up to their commitments and ideals of their calling, and worse, been downright dismissive of the clients involved in all the churning and chafing of ownership, practices, and facilities.

Mid Coast, in recent years, has been on an expansion/acquisition crusade that at least from our perspective approximates the feeding behavior of crocodiles.  PAMC, never particularly ambitious or aggressive business-wise, in keeping with its roots, was easy prey on Mid Coast’s home turf.  CMMC somehow came into play in a futile attempt to rescue PAMC from imminent total financial collapse.

Going back to last year’s post, we told you how we lost our specialist, who had become an employee of PAMC.  In the letter notifying us of his ‘separation,’ it’s fair to say that the explanation and guidance offered were at best perfunctory.  In fact, his practice in the nearby Parkview Professional Building was shutting down completely.

The practice that included our PCP’s, which operated in the main Parkview building, in the medical office wing, continued to operate more or less ‘normally.’  At one time a privately owned practice, it eventually became Parkview Family Health Care, and all employees became employees of PAMC.

Eventually, as part of dealing with their financial difficulties, CMMC got involved in ownership/management of the practice, at which time it became Brunswick Primary Care, still located in the Parkview office wing.  How that worked we have no clue.  But checks got written to CMMC for services rendered.

A little more than a month ago, Side visited his Primary Care Physician for an annual ‘wellness check.’  At that visit, a memo posted in the office said that one of the Doctors who had been there for years was leaving, with no further details provided.  I mentioned it to the nurse who took me in and took my vitals, asked the usual questions, etc.  She has been there for quite a while.  She told me they were confident that the practice was in a stable position, and no-one was particularly worried.

Our visit with our Doctor went as usual, with no indication given that change was in the air.

A few weeks later, Mrs. Side had an office visit with her Nurse Practitioner at the office, and came home to tell me that Side’s Doctor was leaving, with no details, other than for a non-clinical position with Mid Coast.  Oops….several more dominoes fall.

Yesterday, April 25th, both of us received letters dated April 8th from Central Maine Medical Group stating that Side’s doctor had ‘resigned,’ and that the Brunswick Primary Care practice would be closing in mid-May.  Why it took 17 days for that letter to reach us we can’t say.

So besides your editor having to find a new specialist, both Side and Mrs. Side have to make new arrangements for our primary care.  Having to do so in our mid-70’s with so little notice is not the least bit appreciated, thank you very much.

Service providers in the health field are often referred to as members of the ‘caring professions.’  While we were generally happy and pleased with the care we received from our personal practitioners, we are anything but happy with those managing the major transitions underway, to who knows what end. 

We don’t know whether similar churning is going on all around the country as the Health Care industry adjusts and realigns to Obama Care (the ACA), or that instead, we in this area have been singled out for our own narrowly targeted travails.

What we do know is this.  The management of the one time proposed “Mid Coast Parkview Health System” has been mis-leading and duplicitous in its pronouncements, and progressive disclosure has been the norm.  Public assurances that things would be worked out for the benefit of all seem insensitive at the least in retropsect. 

Respect and consideration for their aggregate client base, which leans heavily toward the senior citizen demographic, has been essentially non-existent, at least from our personal experience.  We assume this reflects on whatever combination of Mid Coast and one time Parkview management has been and is in place over the transition period.

Similarly, the letter we received yesterday, signed by the VP of Practice Operations at the Central Maine Medical Group, is a model of detached, impersonal, and disinterested language.

If this is what ‘caring professionals’ are like in our day, heaven help us and our progeny.  If we had a say in it, which we clearly don’t, you’d be hearing raspberries all around.

Gender concerns invade food science; finally, the wait is over!!


As we’ve told you before, Other Side has a small cadre of anonymous, strategically placed correspondents who from time to time give us a tip on a ‘breaking’ news story.

The most recent such tip came yesterday, telling us of a segment on Good Morning America on ABC.  It featured two successful young food entrepreneurs, who in the screen clip above with host Robin Roberts, look for all the world like soul-mates of Mark Zuckerberg.

The one on the right has developed pasta made from garbanzo beans, making it gluten free.  The one on the left has developed a collection of “Fluffbutters,” and other healthy snack items.  Fluffbutter is promoted as a healthy alternative to peanut butter and similar products.

We decided to see what all the buzz is about on our own, and found this on a retail web site:


The 10 ounce jar ‘lists’ for $10.99, but is on sale for $8.99.  To put that in perspective, we have a 40 ounce jar of JIF Peanut Butter on hand, which Mrs. Side believes we paid on the order of $4.00 for, perhaps in a dual pack from BJ’s.

So in round numbers, the Fluffbutter sells for ten times the price of the JIF on a per serving basis.  But as you would expect, and we hope demand, you get so much more in your jar of Fluffbutter.  Just gaze at the label info:


Do you see that?  The damn stuff is GENDER NEUTRAL!  Where the hell else are you going to find certifiably gender neutral spread to use on your snacks?  It’s also dairy free, gluten free, soy free, and suitable for vegan diets.

What a breakthrough; no doubt commercially available ‘off the shelf’ peanut butters are loaded with dairy products, gluten, and soy.  Both though, do include ‘nuts’.

Why D’s Naturals didn’t mention that the product is catsup free, broken glass free, and corn by-product free we can’t say.

Given societal pre-occupation with matters (or variations, if you prefer) of gender these days, we can only wonder whether trans-gendered Fluffbutter is in the works.  We expect it to have a higher shelf price to cover the cost of the scientific research and genetic modification to the ‘natural ingredients.’  This could be followed by gender-fluid Fluffbutter.  The possibilities are nearly endless if you follow contemporary cultural ‘transitions.’

Just think of the opportunities for revolutionizing our healthy, natural food supply.  And think of the possibilities for new major fields of study at fine institutions like Bowdoin.  Gender and woman’s studies programs are old news these days, but imagine combined emphasis on gender and food sciences.  It might even call for a new building on campus!

In conclusion, anytime you wonder, like we do, if we’re losing our minds, console yourself with the reality that we’ve already traveled a long, longggg way down that slippery road. 

Kind of ironic, we think, that this trip involves ‘nuts.’

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Other Side joins the grievance groupies; freaks out and is in pain; demands appropriate response from local authorities

We often quip to friends, family, and acquaintances that life is one long learning experience.

Which fits well with the premise of this post - that our perfect little town is, in a manner of speaking, an institution of higher learning: Brunswick College, a small, elite(ist), Northeastern progressive arts campus.  Progressive arts seems far more to the point than liberal arts, especially if you understand the original meaning of ‘liberal arts.’  (Hint: the meaning of the word liberal, at least in the political sense, was pretty much the diametric opposite of what it is these days.  Any connection to liberty has been tossed aside.)

Brunswick College, though, is not particularly selective.  Our student body represents the full spectrum of human age, and all the other measures of diversity, as modern sensibilities demand.

We think of our Town Manager as the Chancellor; the Town Council as the Board of Trustees; and our Public Safety team as Campus Security.  We look to them to see to our comfort, tranquility, and sense of self-esteem.  Which includes responding forcefully to anything that might offend us at any level, because we’re fragile in so many ways.  Not to mention that our annual property tax payments are vital to ‘college’ operation, even if our membership in the ‘student body’ is at best incidental.

Which brings us to this item: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3506491/Emory-president-Students-scared-Trump-2016-chalk-signs.html

It begins with these words, which should frighten even the most stoic amongst our readers:

Students at Emory University claim they were frightened and 'in pain' after someone wrote 'Trump 2016' in chalk around campus.

Officials at the Atlanta school, which has an enrollment of more than 14,000, were forced to act after the youngsters claimed their 'safe space' was violated when the messages of 'hate' appeared on sidewalks and buildings.

One student even said she 'feared for her life' as she thought a 'KKK rally' was going on, while others were scared a mass shooting was going to take place and wouldn't walk alone. 

Jim Wagner, president of the 19th century establishment, wrote Tuesday that the students viewed the scrawling as intimidation, and they voiced 'genuine concern and pain' as a result.

He set up an investigation after members of the student government wrote to him and slammed the university's response, prompting a meeting that was shrouded in protests. 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3506491/Emory-president-Students-scared-Trump-2016-chalk-signs.html#ixzz46VDMJZx2
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While some might find the chalking on the stairs shown above disturbing, we submit that the image just below is a hundred times more threatening; nay, a thousand times worse.  It is indicative of what we now see shamelessly displayed on the Brunswick College campus.

We saw it recently on Brunswick’s Quad, and it’s got us all verklempt.  It’s micro-aggressive, and has triggered all sorts of feelings of being in dangerous territory.  The worst of it is that we suddenly feel like we’re back in college, and need to get our grievance gravitas buffed back up for present day use in this most hostile of towns.

We have no choice but to ask that the Brunswick College Human Rights Task Force take our concerns into consideration, and address them in upcoming reports.  They might consider these quotes from others as they do so:

"The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive." -- Thomas Sowell

Kenneth Minogue writing in National Review, Nov. 18, 1991:

An ideological movement is a collection of people many of whom could hardly bake a cake, fix a car, sustain a friendship or a marriage, or even do a quadratic equation, yet they believe they know how to rule the world. The university, in which it is possible to combine theoretical pretension with comprehensive ineptitude, has become the natural habitat of the ideological enthusiast. A kind of adventure playground, carefully insulated from reality in order to prevent absent-minded professors from bumping into things as they explore transcendental realms, has become the institutional base for civilizational self-hatred.

We hope and trust that you will bond with us as we call for emotional justice, and look for the town to provide safe space and emotional counseling to help us deal with the outrage and endangerment we’re feeling.

And we can’t wait to see what the Human Rights Task Force reports out.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Bubbleheads reporting for gender sensitivity training, Mr. Madam


On those occasions when Blogger’s Block besieges us, we sometimes find ourselves thanking our lucky stars for the Bowdoin Borient, the would be campus newspaper at the nearby college, operated by members of the student body, whatever that means in the postmodern era.

Take this week’s issued, dated today, April 1st.  It’s possible we could be falling for a ‘fools’ day’ trap set by the editorial staff, but two things argue against that possibility.  First, playing an April Fools Day prank on readers would infer at least a modest sense of humor, and based on our experience over the years, we’re pretty confident humor is not an aspect of anything inside the Bowdoin College bubble.

Secondly, the articles that caught our attention in this issue are entirely in keeping with what we have seen in the way of cultural and editorial ‘norms’ in all things Bowdoin.  In other words, this issue differs not a whit from all the others we’ve perused, except for its date.

So let’s begin with a reference to our most recent post, nearly two weeks ago, titled thus:

Appropriately Inappropriate: the self-inflicted trials and tribulations of those inside the Bowdoin Bubble

The front page of the current edition includes this headline:


It contains this passage (http://bowdoinorient.com/article/11074):

Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs Rick Ganong said that in the weeks following the party, his office has received over 400 formal comments from alumni and parents. The “overwhelming majority” of these complaints expressed disapproval of how the incident was handled.

That recent post, as readers know, made sport of things inside the Bubble, especially as they related to the response.  We’re not a media consultant, or a statistical expert in public reactions.  None-the-less, for a small institution like Bowdoin, we’re guessing ‘400 formal comments’ is a pretty overwhelming response.  Which we suggest lends significant credence to this passage in that prior post:

Leading us to suggest that the icing upon the sponge cake of this post is the delicious irony that according to published reports, the Grand High Poobahs of Bowdoin’s administration have wet the very beds they sleep in.  On more than one recent occasion, they’ve approved/sponsored the very “cultural appropriation” they so virtuously despise.  Post-modernism is a wondrous thing, isn’t it?

But we’re reminded of the old saying: ‘the proof of the public bed-wetting is in the effect on alumni donations.’

Next, we’d like to highlight this suprisingly revealing article (http://bowdoinorient.com/article/11056,) particularly as it relates to total lack of self-awareness on the part of the student body, if not abject cluelessness.  At least a ‘segment’ of the student body.


Forgive us a moment of pettiness, but if this was our daughter writing, from her lofty slot at a high end elite ($60,000 plus per year) liberal arts college, we’d call her home and tell her to find something else to do with our money.  Several passages in the column rise up and slap us in the face, including these:

according to Natalie Kitroeff in the New York Times, “many young women are finding that casual sex does not bring the physical pleasure that men more often experience.” The hookup is “over” when the guy “finishes.” This misconception is true here at Bowdoin, but there exists a more serious problem. Frankly, many of the men are so detached and therefore sexually inept that physical pleasure is beside the point. The real inequality that exists in heterosexual hookups at Bowdoin is rooted in disrespect. Men have ceased to treat women in the polite and courteous manner we deserve and have begun to view us as disposable playthings.

Hookups are not a service.

This particular male unjustly deemed my friend and me disposable and still is blind to how objectifying and deplorable his treatment of us was.

As a community and a generation, we need to ask ourselves how we let this happen and how we can establish a safe environment going forward.

I am simply advocating change. Men should not, under any circumstance, treat us like we are disposable objects. There needs to be a complete shift in our hookup culture.

The gender inequality that our hookup scene perpetuates is disgusting. It is absolutely time for men to treat women at Bowdoin with the respect we deserve.

(note that the author is a ‘senior,’  whatever that means in this day and age)

Consider these thoughts in the context of a campus and student newspaper that recently indulged these items :


This one (http://bowdoinorient.com/article/11056) features this graphic:


And this related item (http://bowdoinorient.com/article/9962)


Anyone familiar with this “production” knows that it is about ‘women’ getting on stage and waxing theatric about ‘down there.’

And then members of their cohort have the unmitigated gall to talk about being objectified?  Does the word ‘feminism’ mean anything in the common sense area?

Can you say “Duhhh” loyal readers?  Are we to take these fragile flowers seriously?

On the flip side, so to speak, the same Borient issue addresses the merit of “Unmasking masculinity” in an editorial (http://bowdoinorient.com/article/11072.)  A passage or two:

Recently, discussions about the potential dangers of masculinity have been coming out of the woodwork on campus. On Wednesday, the Bowdoin Men’s Group, partnering with the Women’s Resource Center and the Center for Gender Violence Prevention and Education, hosted a screening of “The Mask You Live In.” The film explores the limiting ways in which masculinity is socially constructed and taught to boys from an early age. Many of the ideas it addressed are not foreign to our campus. For instance, in her article for this week’s opinion section, Skye Aresty ’16 calls attention to what she sees as an unhealthy and unequal hookup culture at Bowdoin fueled by men exerting a sense of entitlement over women.

We’re not sure how “gender violence” is differentiated from all the other forms of violence, but we can tell you we don’t feel ‘socially constructed.’  Then look at this passage:

As Professor Judith Casselberry pointed out in the discussion following the screening of “The Mask You Live In,” autonomous spaces, that is, spaces where people can talk with people like them, can be incredibly valuable. This is not to downplay either the importance of incorporating diverse experiences into conversations, or the necessity of recognizing that many of the people hurt by toxic displays of masculinity are not men. The Men’s Group is a good effort by a small group of students to recognize that issues of masculinity—including sex, fatherhood, emotional expression and mental illness—often go undiscussed, and to facilitate healthy conversations in spaces specifically designated for this purpose.

Notice how insiduously the statements infer that ‘toxic displays of masculinity’ (though not all by ‘men’!!!) are a concern, and that safe, designated ‘spaces’ are extremely valuable to address these ‘experiences.’

We’re not sure what the term “Orwellian” means, but we have a hunch it’s creeping right here into our very own perfect little town and its discourse, led by the cultural architects and renovators on the Bowdoin campus.  Think Human Rights Task Force.  Or overpriced gobbledygook spewing from coddled academics.  And degrees in “studies” of various sorts.

Please be careful where you pee, lest you be acused of a display of toxic masculinity.  Such behavior is reserved for the ‘boys will be boys’ men of Bowdoin, who frequently find public settings to be their preferred choice.