Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Truth in surgicizing

“America's health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.” Walter Cronkite

BY AT LEAST two measures, we in the United States pay more for health care than any other country in the world. Statistics from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Health Organization document that whether calculated as total health expenditure per person or total health expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product, we're getting the least value for the most money.

Here's an eye-opening piece from the New York Times Opinionator blog Fixes written by Pulitzer Prize winner and former editorial writer for the Times, Tina Rosenberg. It's about a 40-doctor/anesthesiologist surgical clinic in Oklahoma City called the Surgery Center of Oklahoma that actually lists the prices for all the surgical procedures they perform on their website, from whence comes the title of this blog.

The same procedure at another hospital even within Oklahoma may cost five to 10 times the SCO price and at certain California hospitals the rate is 40 times what it is at SCO. As a result, people are flying to Oklahoma City from all over the country and Canada to get the surgery they need at a price they can afford.

It's a long piece, but I promise it's worth it. 

FIXES 
July 31, 2013
Revealing a Health Care Secret: The Price
By TINA ROSENBERG

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is an ambulatory surgical center in Oklahoma City owned by its roughly 40 surgeons and anesthesiologists. What makes it different from every other such facility in America is this: If you need an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, you will know beforehand — because it’s on their Web site — that it costs $6,990 if you self-pay in advance. If you need a tonsillectomy, that’s $3,600. Repair of a simple closed nasal fracture: $1,900. These prices are all-inclusive.

Keith Smith, the co-founder of the center, said that it had been posting prices for the last 4 of its 16 years. He knew something was happening, he said, when people started coming from Canada. “They could pay $3,740 for arthroscopic surgery of the knee and not have to wait for three years,” he said.

Then he began getting patients from elsewhere in the United States and began to find out — “I get 8 or 10 e-mails a week” — that he was having an effect on prices far away. “Patients are holding plane tickets to Oklahoma City and printing out our prices, and leveraging better deals in their local markets.”
The Oklahoma City TV station KFOR, which ran a story on the Surgery Center on July 8, said that several other medical facilities in Oklahoma are now posting their prices as well.

KFOR’s story has been picked up by news outlets around the United States. Clearly what the Surgery Center has done is resonating.

On NewChoiceHealth.com, which compares prices offered by different facilities in the same city, Smith’s prices are consistently the cheapest or near it in Oklahoma City. Several hospitals charge $17,200 for laparoscopic hernia repair — for which Smith charges $3,975. A gallbladder removal is $24,000 at some hospitals in the city; it’s $3,200 at the Surgery Center. His prices are better in part because ambulatory surgical centers are cheaper than hospitals (for many reasons), but also there’s a virtuous circle here. He can post his prices because they are good ones. And they are good because he’s chosen to compete on price.

What’s remarkable is that this is remarkable. Why should a business become the subject of news stories simply because it tells people the cost of its services?

Because it’s health care. Unlike everything else we buy, when we purchase a medical treatment, surgery or diagnostic test, we buy blind. We do not know the cost of health procedures before we buy. When we do get the bill, we have no idea what the charges are based on and have no way to evaluate them.

The consequences are by now familiar: CNN reports on hospital charges of $1,000 for a toothbrush and $140 for a Tylenol pill. Elisabeth Rosenthal is writing an excellent series on health care costs for The Times — her stories, about the cost of births in America and another comparing American hospital prices to those of other countries, are revealing.

Americans pay three, four, sometimes 10 times more for medical procedures, operations and tests than people in other countries like Spain, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand — although we do not get better care. The most exhaustive catalog of health price horrors — and the most thorough explanation of their causes — is Steven Brill’s Time magazine cover story of March 4, “Bitter Pill” (subscription required).

Also familiar are the stakes in this game. Health care costs make up 18 percent of gross domestic product; we spend $8,000 per capita — twice what other industrialized nations do. Government spending on health care costs is a fifth of the federal budget. The growth of health spending is the “single largest fiscal challenge facing the United States government,” writes the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Why are health care costs so high? It’s not because of quality; numerous studies have failed to find any correlation between price and quality. Nor is price a function of hospital costs — not when one facility in Oklahoma City can charge 7.5 times what another charges for the same procedure.

One of the most important reasons has to do with the political and market power of health care providers, who are essentially able to name their charges. The foundation of that system is the fact that only sellers, and not buyers, know the price. If prices are secret, patients can’t comparison shop. There is no way to push prices down, or force providers to compete on price. Price secrecy hides the need for reform. “Getting prices out in the open is crucial to bringing prices down,” said Katherine Hempstead, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Some trends in the health care industry are working against transparency. Price opacity comes from the power imbalance in the health care market, and that imbalance is worsening. Hospital chains are consolidating and growing. This may have advantages for patients in some ways, but it increases the chains’ clout and lessens competition. This allows hospitals to fight off demands for transparency.
But most of the events of the last few years — especially the last few months — have moved the United States toward more price transparency.

Every year, hospitals must tell the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services how much it costs them to do each procedure that has a billing code. That information has been publicly available from the C.M.S. since the mid-1990s — but it has been very hard to use the database, and you could get it only in paper form. Now it’s easier to use (but not free) on two Web sites: Cost Report Data and American Hospital Directory.

May 8 of this year was the biggest day in health care cost transparency yet. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released two important databases. One was what Medicare paid for the 100 most common inpatient services at hospitals across the United States. The other was the hospital’s chargemaster price.

Chargemaster prices are set by the hospital alone and reflect what the hospital would like you to pay. They are the basis for calculating the discounts given to insurers, and they are generally what’s billed to people without insurance.   These charges are commonly three times the Medicare price or more, but The Times reported that in the CMS data, some hospitals charged 10 or 20 times the Medicare price. The variation makes your head spin. The average charge for a joint replacement at a hospital in Ada, Okla., was $5,300. The comparable charge in Monterey Park, Calif., was $223,000.

Some of the factors that are increasing transparency are not happy ones. A big one is the recession, which left a lot of people uninsured for the first time. When you are paying out of pocket for health care, you are a lot more interested in finding out costs.

Then there is sheer desperation born of the significant increases in health care costs. With premiums rising at least 5 percent per year, employers are increasingly pushing costs onto employees — the employee contribution has doubled in the last five years.   Employees can’t afford more.  But employers are hitting their limits, too — it’s either stop offering health coverage, or look for really new ways to bring down the cost.

About 40 states now have some kind of health care transparency laws of varying effectiveness (here’s a report card that doesn’t think much of most of them.) One of the best is New Hampshire’s law, which posts information on actual prices paid so patients can compare them.

And there are Web sites. “It used to be only travel agents knew the cost of plane tickets,” said Jeanne Pinder, who founded the Web site clearhealthcosts.com, which uses crowdsourcing and reporting (Pinder is a former New York Times reporter) to post prices for shoppable procedures. “Then Kayak and ITA blew that up. If you wanted to buy a house and you asked a Realtor about comparable sales, you’d get, ‘That’s proprietary.’ Now you have Trulia and Zillow.”

Now health care is getting its Kayaks and Trulias. New Choice Health’s site allows patients to enter a procedure and city to see the range of self-pay prices offered by facilities in that city.
Patients can even solicit bids. There are other sites; here’s a list.

It’s a long way from Lending Tree or Amazon, but a big step nonetheless. It couldn’t have happened even a few years ago. “Providers are increasingly aware they need to have a cash or self-pay price,” said Pinder. “When we first started out doing this that wasn’t true. They were like, ‘What, somebody’s uninsured?’ ”

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is not the only medical facility that posts its prices. Pharmacy clinics like CVS’s Minute Clinics, many urgent care facilities and a small number of hospitals do as well.
I haven’t mentioned the elephant in the room, Obamacare. Only it’s not an elephant on health care transparency. It will require hospitals to publicly report their charges.  But its real job is to increase access to coverage. And while having insurance is crucial, insurance also gives people a reason not to ask the true cost of their medical care. There are ways around this, though — plans with a higher deductible and lower premiums not only give people a reason to compare prices, they are usually a better deal.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is probably just the beginning. “You’re looking at one example of something that’s going to become really, really important,” said John C. Goodman,  a highly influential conservative health policy analyst.   “Once one hospital in a city starts doing it, everyone has to do it. “
Today’s column focused mainly on transparency for patients who are paying their own bills.  But what about the insured?  Is anyone but Steve Brill combing through medical bills to spot the $1,000 toothbrush? You might think that your insurance company is doing that for you. It is not. In my next column in two weeks, I’ll look at why.
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Monday, July 29, 2013

A personal letter to NYC

“i must have cum thinking about you and looking at you 100 times. how does that make you feel? gross?” — Anthony Weiner, text (to a woman who is not his wife) 2012-00-00

DEAR NEW YORK CITY,

I'm don't know enough about the nitty gritty of NYC politics to be aware of whether there are any genuinely stellar candidates for mayor, but surely there can be no one worse than Anthony Weiner. If you look up narcissism in the dictionary, I'm pretty sure you'll find his picture. He doesn't have a passion for helping the city; he has a passion for himself — literally.

Pssst. Come closer, NYC. I live in Iowa where we know a thing or two about being stuck with embarrassments in political office. We have the likes of Congressman racist-and-ignorant Steve King, Senator Republican-rubber-stamp Chuck Grassley and Governor stubbornly-wrong Terry Branstad. Take our word for it, the entertainment value wears off quickly. 

So do yourself a kindness and give Weiner's weiner a pass. You'll thank me later. 

PS: Yes, gross. Very, very, very gross.


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Saturday, July 27, 2013

The purring squirrel

Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. Oprah Winfrey 

LUCKY FOR YOU, I'm still catching up with posts. Here's a video that's even more adorable than the last one, and BTW, if this is any indication of the relative weight of nature versus nurture, nurture definitely trumps nature. Enjoy.


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Friday, July 26, 2013

Dog and his human work out together

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” Mark Twain

MY GOAL for my blog is to write, on average, every other day. The things I feel most deeply about are the hardest things to write about, so I get stuck sometimes and go days and days without writing. 

The up side for you is that in order to catch up, I post entertaining animal videos that usually Paul has found and saved for me. 

We l-o-v-e the critters — except snakes — and I'm also down on spiders since Paul has been bitten now four times!!

This little doggie is both unbelievably cute and utterly amazing IMHO.


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Pie for Lance

"I have never doped. I can say it again, but I've said it for seven years." — Lance Armstrong, August, 2005

FOR THOSE of you who aren't from Iowa, you may not be familiar with RAGBRAI. It's an acronym for Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. It began in 1973 when two men, John Karras and Donald Kaul, who were writing for the Des Moines Register at the time, decided to peddle across the state. Now it's a monster of an event with 20,000 or so riders participating.

It's a week-long, non-competitive ride held every July that averages 472 miles, starting at the Missouri River on the western border of Iowa and finishing at the Mississippi River on the east. It kicked off this past Sunday in Council Bluffs, stopped in Des Moines Tuesday night and will end this Saturday, July 28 at the Mississippi near Fort Madison where riders will dip their tires into the river as part of the ceremonial finish. 

This year among the peddlers for at least part of the ride will be Lance Armstrong. He's ridden RAGBRAI before, but this will be the first time since he's been outed for all his lying and doping, doping and lying. He said in some interview or other that he was coming back for the great pie we make here in Iowa, and indeed various churches and other groups have been baking pies at the rate of 200 and 300 per organization. 

I volunteered to smack Lance in the face with one. So far I haven't picked up any corporate sponsorships for doing it, although I have had several people offer to help me fling the pie.







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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Four-class class reunion

"In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day's work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years." — Jacques Barzun, French-born American historian of ideas and culture  

SATURDAY, July 20, an Ankeny High School four-class reunion was held for years '64, '65, '66 and '67 which were the last classes to be in school together as a four-class high school. After 1967, Ankeny went to a three-class high school. This year also happens to be the 100th anniversary of the Ankeny Community School district.

Virginia's son, Mark Logli, worked hard at talking me into showing up for it, but since only 17 from my class had signed up, and only five of them girls, I had decided to give it a miss.

What changed my mind was learning that two of my favorite high school teachers were slated to attend: Mrs. (Phyllis) Austin who taught English and Mr. (Maurice) Krammer who taught government. I thought both of them were the bomb, and I wanted the opportunity to tell them that they'd made a permanent impact on my life.

Mrs. Austin was easily the most cosmopolitan person I'd ever met in my young life. She'd studied classical piano for years and years and almost took that path. She was also whip smart, bitingly witty and supremely confident. I was in complete awe. I'd never seen a woman be so sure of herself and as in charge of her surroundings as she was, appearing to never second-guess or doubt herself. Apparently my assessment of Mrs. A was correct because she went on to do big, big things. 

After teaching at Ankeny and then Iowa State, she and her husband moved to Detroit where she became the creative director for the Cadillac division of General Motors, a post she held for 30 years. In that capacity she supervised 28 writers, oversaw all advertising for Cadillac and traveled the world to monitor and assist in the process of global brand expansion. 

Mrs. A hasn't stopped exceeding expectations. At 79 she just became the oldest recipient of a master's degree at the college where she earned it. I told you she was the real deal!


Mrs. Austin in 1966.

Everyone wanted to talk to Mrs. A at the reunion! When I told one of the guys that if he wanted some face-time with her, he'd have to get in line, literally, he said, "Well, no surprise there. All the boys had the hots for her." It made me laugh because such a thought had never occurred to me then or now. So naive.

Back in the day I certainly thought Mr. Krammer was movie-star handsome, but I was by far and away much too awestruck by him to have ever had a crush on him.


Mr. Krammer in 1966. He was kind of a dreamboat. 

During my senior year in government, one of our class projects was a mock trial, and Mr. Krammer chose me to be the judge. Although I wouldn't describe my high school self as having been a wallflower exactly, I also wasn't one to necessarily put myself forward either.

One day during the trial, Mr. Krammer left the room, and I was in charge of both the trial and the class. A couple of the boys started cutting up, Bill Liechty was one of them I recall, and emboldened by the responsibility Mr. Krammer had given me and the faith I believed he must have had in me to have chosen me in the first place, rather than ignoring their bad behavior, I chewed them out in no uncertain terms. It was so out of character for me to go with my gut and damn the torpedoes that I still remember part of what I said. "You may not be taking this project seriously, but the rest of us in the class are."

Just then Mr. Krammer peeked his head around the open classroom door, and I realized that he had been outside listening the whole time. I was shaking in my boots thinking that I was going to be in trouble for yelling (I had actually yelled) at those boys. But I wasn't. In fact he seemed to think that I had performed admirably.

Twenty-five or so years later when I was asked to list things I was proud of from childhood to present, that was one of the things on my list. Really. I never forgot what it felt like to have the courage of my convictions and take a stand. 

And speaking of life-long impressions, to this day one of my performance anxiety dreams is that at the end of senior year, I suddenly realize that I'm behind one term paper in Mrs. Austin's class (we wrote a lot of them). It sounds like a nightmare and evidence that she must have been a harsh teacher, but she rescues me in my dream. When I find her in a panic saying, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I didn't write one of the term papers that I was supposed to write for you, and now it's too late, she says, "Oh I know. That's okay. You're smart, and you've been an excellent student. You still get an A for the semester."

Below is my picture from 1966 and a picture from Saturday night. BTW each of our name badges had our high school graduation picture affixed, and Paul has been driving around with mine stuck on the rear view mirror of the van ever since. Awwww.





The boys left to right: Larry Kutzner, Bob Battani, Bill Liechty (one of the culprits during our mock trial), Jim Brazelton, Ken Carlson, Chuck Warner, George DuBois, Dave Harkin, Gary Waller, Steve Downey, Tom Cory and Jim Davidson. Girls left to right: Donna Sexauer, Margo Williams, Leslie Morningstar, me, Donna Ballard and Kathy Strong.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A rainbow across the pond

"Really, darling, it's a no-brainer. You know, I understand not everybody is for gay marriage. But if you're not for gay marriage, don't marry a gay person." Whoopi Goldberg

HEY AND YAY. Once again, this just in. 

The Queen — no pun intended, okay, a little intended, but still true — just okayed the bill passed in British Parliament June 17 of this year to legalize same-sex marriage in England and Wales. (Scotland's government has introduced its own same-sex marriage legislation in parliament. Northern Ireland does not allow same-sex marriage, and legislative proposals to change this have failed.)

This new law will allow gay couples in England and Wales to marry in both civil and religious ceremonies and will also entitle those who have already entered into a civil partnership to convert their relationship to marriage. 


Queen Elizabeth II
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Monday, July 15, 2013

CSC rules on same-sex marriage

“I'm a supporter of gay rights. And not a closet supporter either. From the time I was a kid, I have never been able to understand attacks upon the gay community. There are so many qualities that make up a human being... by the time I get through with all the things that I really admire about people, what they do with their private parts is probably so low on the list that it is irrelevant.” Paul Newman

THIS JUST IN. Really! From the LA Times.



The California Supreme Court today refused to stop same-sex weddings while it is considering a legal bid to revive Proposition 8.

The court rejected a request by ProtectMarriage, the sponsors of the 2008 ballot measure, to halt the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples while considering the group’s contention that a federal judge’s injunction against the ban did not apply statewide.

The court is not expected to rule on the group’s petition until August at the earliest.

For the latest information go to www.latimes.com.



The late, great, generous and wise Paul Newman.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sibling bullying comments

"I definitely stand in the corner of wanting to give voice to the bullied, and not the bully." — Mike White, American writer, director, actor and producer

MY LAST POST, the one about sibling bullying, seems to have struck a chord. Here are a couple of responses with names deleted for privacy.

"I've tried all my life to find some kind of reasonable relationship with XXXXX, one which is not a penalty to me. There is none. Our parents, as wonderful as they were, were careless about moderating the interactions between us. Or ignorant." 

"Thank you for posting this piece. I could have written it. It left out one important detail, and that is the person who is bullied does not speak of it." 

Pal, Ryan Hirl, sent me the below Onion piece. Perhaps I should issue the reminder that the Onion is a fake newspaper, so the below comments aren't real; they're written by the Onion to make a point, but the above comments to my blog post are quite real.





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Friday, July 12, 2013

Sibling bullying

“Knowing what's right doesn't mean much unless you do what's right.” Theodore Roosevelt

THERE WAS a story about a study of sibling bullying in the scientific journal, Pediatrics, on NBC News a few weeks ago that I've been meaning to pass along. Here's a a summary of it from the June 17, 2013 online version of USA Today.

Bullying by siblings just as damaging, research finds
By Michelle Healy

Bullying and aggressive behavior by a sibling can be as damaging as bullying by a classmate, neighbor or other peer, finds a new study that links it to increased depression, anxiety and anger among victimized kids and teens.

And that association holds true for the various types of aggressive behavior studied, both mild and severe, from physical and psychological aggression to property victimization, researchers say.

Although peer bullying has increasingly become a recognized problem and the focus of preventive efforts, sibling bullying has historically been viewed as "benign and normal and even beneficial" for a child's social development and ability "to learn to handle aggression in other relationships," according to the study, in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics, published online today.

The study "shows that sibling aggression is linked to worse mental health (for the victim), and in some cases it's similar to what you find for peer aggression," says lead author Corinna Jenkins Tucker, an associate professor of family studies at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

Tucker and colleagues analyzed data from The National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence, focusing on nearly 3,600 kids 17 and under with at least one sibling living in the household. Kids were interviewed by phone about victimization in the past year. A parent or other adult caregiver answered on behalf of children under age 9.

Measures of mental health and four different types of victimization were assessed:

• Mild physical assault (hit, beaten or kicked without an object/weapon or resulting injury);

• Severe physical assault (hit, beaten or kicked with an object/weapon or causing injury);

• Property aggression (forcible theft, taking and not returning property; breaking or ruining property on purpose);

• Psychological aggression (feeling bad or scared because a sibling said mean things, called them names or excluded them).

"For all types of sibling aggression, we found that being the victim was linked to lower well-being for both children and adolescents," Tucker says.

Mental health distress scores were higher for children than for adolescents who experienced mild physical assault, but kids and teens were similarly affected by the other forms of sibling aggression, she says. And even kids who reported just one type of sibling aggression in the past year had higher distress scores than kids who reported none.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Random driving observations and complaints

"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?" George Carlin

IF YOU'RE TRYING to get somewhere in a hurry, my advice is don't get behind a Buick or a Cadillac or any make of car with the driver's side window rolled down, most especially someone with the window rolled down and their elbow out the window. And definitely never get behind anyone with the window rolled down and their hand trailing out the window. All telltale signs of drivers who are at their leisure.

Driving pet peeves:

1) Anyone who doesn't make lane-to-lane turns

2) Tailgaters

3) Drivers who think turning on their turn signal for a lane change creates a magic window where there's room for their car even though you're already occupying that space or as Paul calls it: the get-the-hell-out-of-my-way signal

4) Drivers who don't signal at all or wait until it's painfully obvious what they're doing because they've already done it

5) Swing-left-to-turn-right and swing-right-to-turn-left drivers

That is all.


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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Earl Grey iced tea

“Imagine a delicious glass of summer iced tea. Take a long cool sip. Listen to the ice crackle and clink." Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

LOTS OF PEOPLE are fans of iced tea. I'm not — except for decaffeinated Earl Grey. It's the most fragrant, refreshing stuff in this world or the next, and the only tea I drink hot or cold. The fragrance is so lovely that I like having a wet tea bag sitting around in a cup or glass just for the aroma.

I have a little tip for you. To make Earl Grey iced tea, you don't need to brew it in hot water, let it cool and then ice it. Just make up a glass of water with ice, drop an EG tea bag in, and if you like your tea light which I happen to, wait five minutes. It's ready! If you prefer it a little stronger as Paul does, wait a few more. It's just that easy.

Because I only use decaffeinated Bigelow EG, I can't attest to how it works with any other brand. (Also in full disclosure, I'll tell you that we drink Mountain Valley water at home which is awesomely sweet, nonchemical-tasting water. You can buy it at grocery stores, but in our case we have it delivered in very large bottles that fit on a dispenser.) Enjoy!





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Thursday, July 4, 2013

HB to America

"This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in." — Theodore Roosevelt

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to US

Even though I'm not always 100% thrilled with his decisions or leadership, today I'm celebrating that we as a people have amazingly enough elected a non-white president of these United States. I'm also celebrating that our gay brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors are more and more accorded respect and equal treatment. 

Because I love my country (not in spite of it), I have a list of things I'm cranky about, but I'll save that for tomorrow.

Paul played with the Turner Center Jazz Orchestra with special guest Tina Haase Findlay last night as the opener for the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra's Yankee Doodle Pops. I've included a few pictures from their set.

Tomorrow night, Friday, July 5, Paul plays the Iowa City Jazz Festival where he's part of the Iowa Jazz Orchestra backing up Sachal Vasandani at 8:00 PM. Below is what the ICJF website has to say about Sachal.

Sachal Vasandani and The Iowa Jazz Orchestra


If you’ve ever awakened to breakfast in bed, Sachal Vasandani would be the voice lullabying out of some small speaker in the corner, subconsciously convincing you to stay there the rest of the day. A singer of unique original talent, impressing and impressionable to the communicative compositions of old-school and contemporary Jazz, Vasandani’s voice carries over the airwaves as butter to a hot mess of jazzy pop flapjacks. 

With his breakthrough 2007 debut, Eyes Wide Open, vocalist/compose/arranger Vasandani established himself as one of the most promising voices in modern jazz.  A 2010 Downbeat "Rising Star" poll winner, Vasandani presented his distinctive blend of jazz and pop with the critically acclaimed release, We Move in 2009. Vasandani’s third Mack Avenue release, Hi-Fly, confirms the high praise showered on its two predecessors and proves the singer is one of the freshest, most versatile artists to emerge onto the scene in recent memory. Produced by renowned Grammy® award winning bassist John Clayton and Grammy nominated Mack Avenue EVP of A&R Al Pryor, both long-time supporters, Hi-Fly is an exciting mix of standards, originals and pop covers showcasing Vasandani’s ability to filter a wide range of material through his highly individual vision.

Here's a link to the ICJF website so you can see what other musical treats are on the agenda this weekend. 


The Turner Center Jazz Orchestra plus a slew of mics and cables and TV cameras. The performance will be broadcast on IPTV. The rhythm section left to right: Nick Rueckert on keyboard, Jim Ekloff on drums and Dave Altemeier on bass.
Top row — trumpets: Scott Davis (the hat), Andy Classen (TCJO director), Jim Bovinette (also wearing a hat) and Chris Strohmaier. Middle row — trombones: John Benoit, Paul Bridson (my fave), Casey Maday and Mike Short on bass trombone (face obscured). Bottom row — saxes: John Morgan, Joe Turner and Jim Romain on bari sax.


Top row: Same trumpets plus Joel Poppen on the far right. Middle row: Same trombones except you can see Mike Short. Bottom row: Same saxes but with Dave Camwell visible on the far left and Tony Wadle next to him.


My favorite husband, soloing.

The absolutely fabulous Tina Haase Findlay.

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