10 Best Things About Booze

1. It shines a light in the darkness.

“When I need a light inside me, I walk into a pub and drink 15 pints of beer.”

—Shane MacGowan

It happens to everyone.  You wake up submerged in a pitch black mood where the whole shebang seems an immense waste of time. When any and every move you could possibly make not only seems ill-advised, but a sure path to utter ruin.

Then you have a drink. You may have to force yourself to do it, because even drinking seems a big hassle. Suddenly the weight of the world shifts a little off your neck, not much, but enough to notice. Then you have another and, you know, things still suck, but it isn’t the end of the world, for crissakes. Then you have a third and a sliver of light pierces the gloom and you can actually make out the dim shapes of some of the good things around you. Six or seven more down the pipe and—Shazam!—you’re not only out of the pit of gloom, you’ve somehow managed to leap atop some gaudy and magnificent peak, surrounded by vast rolling plains of hope and opportunity.

Oh, sure, there will always be those who will shrill that it is false optimism driven by a chemical reaction in the brain, but so what? As any motivational speaker will tell you, a positive attitude, attained by whatever means, is the first step toward accomplishing anything of value.

Where there’s hooch, there’s hope.



Inflames2. It inflames the imagination.

“For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable—intoxication.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche


It’s no wonder teetotaler artists and writers are especially eager to rail against alcohol—drinking provides an unfair advantage. It’s steroids for the creative set. It not only allows you to look at something from a fresh angle, it pries open the door to the subconscious, the primordial muck from which all ideas spring.

The Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness,” and he was dead right. Applied liberally, alcohol makes you go out of your mind, and by that I mean it allows you to poke your head out of whatever mental rut you’re trudging along in. Which is important, because that ditch doesn’t offer much of a view.

Granted, some of the sheen and shine will fall off those grand ideas come morning, but a few nuggets will almost always glitter from those ink-stained cocktail napkins.



Unity3. It unites the tribe.

“The secret of drunkenness is that it insulates us in thought, whilst it unites us in feeling.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson


Thanks to TV, the Internet, cell phones, telecommuting, pharmaceuticals and video games, the average person presently spends more time physically alone than in any other era in human history. It’s an irony of the times—technology brought us out of the caves and into the cities and now it’s leading us back to the caves. We’ve been reduced to hermits shouting at one another from digital windows.

Which is no way to go through life, if you ask me.  Communicating with a fellow human through fiber optics and satellite signals may be convenient, but it’s a sorry substitute for face-to-face contact.

There is nothing like alcohol to get you out of your cave and into the crowd. A handful of drinks and you suddenly feel the world could well benefit from your exalted presence. It makes you want to seek out human companionship, and once found, it sheds the veils behind which we hide. Put 20 strangers in a room and serve them water, and you’ll get some strained conversation at best. Give them booze and you’ve got yourself a party. Unrestrained laughter breaks the surface tension, friendships are formed, romance is sparked.

You’ll eventually return to your cave, to be sure, but perhaps you’ll bring someone back with you.



Unity4. It makes you more human.

“In a world where there is a law against people ever showing their emotions, or ever releasing themselves from the grayness of their days, a drink is not a social tool. It is a thing you need in order to live.”

    —Jimmy Breslin

During a typical day, the average person’s emotional pendulum swings perhaps ten degrees in either direction, from mild annoyance (spilling a cup of coffee on your desk) to mild amusement (a coworker spilling a cup of coffee in his lap). Baring your emotions, society has taught us, equates vulnerability, which is another word for weakness. We’re not only encouraged to keep our emotions off our sleeves, but buried deep inside, where they can keep our ulcers company. And there we are, glorified monkeys who learned to make machines, and now, for some inexplicable reason, we’re attempting to become those very machines.

Which is a sad state of affairs. The finest examples of humanity, all the great figures in history and legend, were men and women who roared through life with an excess of passion.

And there’s nothing like booze to fan the fires of passion that smolder within. It serves as an emotional catalyst, it gives that pendulum a shove, allowing it to swing in a broad arc. It lends you the energy and excuse to exercise the full gamut of human emotion, from righteous Moses-coming-down-the-mountain rage to deepest, purest romantic love. (And on a good evening, both within the space of five minutes.)

Sober, we are soulless robots and about as fun. Drunk, we are cavorting monkeys willing to have a good time. Which would you rather be?



Unity5. It’s a sure path to adventure.

“It’s like gambling somehow. You go out for a night of drinking and you don’t know where you’re going to end up the next day. It could work out good or it could be disastrous. It’s like the throw of the dice.”

Jim Morrison


Daring  types once sought out adventure by setting out to the edges of civilization with loads of expedition gear. Now that the edges of civilization have overlapped, the bold must find adventure in familiar surroundings, they must eke it out of the commonplace.

For adventure to exist, two elements must be in place: risk and the courage to engage it. Alcohol provides both, in spades. Which is why the daring presently set out for the nearest bar and load up on booze.

Inebriation increases the possibility of adventure by pumping up the X Factor. No matter how well you become acquainted with the effects of drinking, there is always the possibility something unpredictable will happen, especially when you consider those around you are tempting the same fates with every lift of their glass.

Booze also lends you the necessary courage to face that inherent danger, it instills the confidence and devil-may-care attitude essential to taking that first step into the metaphorical jungle.

Now, some may decry this brand of bravery as “Dutch” or false courage, but what does it matter from which quarter courage springs? Do you think Genghis Khan gave a damn whether it was bloodlust, loyalty to his command, or a bellyful of fermented mare’s milk that encouraged his horseman to swoop down on a rival tribe?

Nowadays people crave the thrill of adventure but would prefer to do without the danger, which is ridiculous. That’s not adventure, that’s a ride at Disneyland.

Drinkers are risk takers, they’re willing to throw the dice, and don’t let modern society’s namby-pamby, play-it-safe ethos make you believe that’s a bad thing. Taking risks is what makes a life a life, as opposed to a life sentence.



Unity6. It’s a fool-proof escape plan.

 “Modern life is often a mechanical oppression and liquor is the only mechanical relief.”

 —Ernest Hemingway


Your life is a prison. You, sir, live in a cage.

Hold on, you say. I love my life. I have a swell time! I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Well, sure. I’m not saying it’s not a gilded cage with amenities galore, and I’m certain you’ve learned to play all sorts of delightful tunes when you artfully rattle the bars.

What I am saying is you are trapped in a prison of conformity and routine: you must go to work, you must pay your bills, you must feed your pets, you must be at certain places at certain times and if you aren’t then you’re going to have to find a new cage to live in.

The first thing getting drunk does is make you aware that you are in a cage. Fuck that job, you’ll think. It’s a fucking drag. And fuck going to your in-laws’ for Christmas, like you do every goddamn year. And you sure as hell don’t want to go to church tomorrow.  Suddenly you can see the bars, and I don’t mean the ones you’re drinking in.

The second thing it does is make you forget the cage exists. You get so wrapped up in the good times everything else seems a distant blur, a vague childhood memory where nothing much happened. Drink enough and you’ll have a hard time telling the cab driver on which street your cage is situated. Whoever said alcohol won’t drown your worries didn’t fill up the bathtub with enough booze.

Of course, employing alcohol to escape reality is vilified these days. Somehow it’s a terrible thing. The bars of the cage are there to protect you, they’ll tell you. What they don’t understand is that the thing you’re trying most to escape is right there in the cage with you. Namely, you.



Unity7. It makes you pay.

“The hangover became a part of the day as well allowed-for as the Spanish siesta.”

    —F. Scott Fitzgerald


I know what you’re thinking: “Why in high hell would a rabid proponent of drinking celebrate the hangover, of all things? Hangovers are the sworn enemy of drunkardom!”

I disagree. Hangovers are good things, and here’s why:

First, they provide a balance. Every Yin must have its Yang. I know it’s hard to appreciate that when you’re Yanging over the sink the morning after, but consider this—what sort of crowd would you find in the bars if it was all good times, if there was no punishment lurking behind the pleasure? A gang of fair-weather pussyfoots is what you’d have, and who wants those types getting in the way of your next drink?

Hangovers make drunks a tougher breed of character. The hangover is the mean older brother who toughens you up and teaches you how to fight back. Don’t believe me? Tell you what—you gather the gang from Starbucks and I’ll assemble the boys from Kelly’s Pub and we’ll meet in the parking lot. The caffeine crowd won’t even manage to throw a punch, they’ll be too busy texting the cops: OMG! DRNKS TACKNG US! HLP!

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, hangovers teach the art of the rebound. It instills the idea that if you grit your teeth and fight through the pain, soon enough you’ll be able to get back up and start swinging again.

You can’t keep a drunk down. Especially once Happy Hour rolls around.



Unity8. It imparts self awareness.

“It is most absurdly said that a man is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety.”

—Thomas de Quincy


It’s crazy. People attend seminars, meditate, indulge in astrology, consult palm readers and take any number of personality tests, all in an attempt to figure out who they truly are. All those poor souls are walking around wondering, “Who and what am I really?” When all they need to do is get good and stinking drunk.

Nothing reveals your inner nature, to yourself and those lucky enough to be around you, like a good booze-up. Drink by drink, alcohol strips away all those carefully applied layers of deceit. It knocks loose the gaudy ornaments of pretension and affectation, finally laying bare what hides beneath.

I’m going to say it flat out: anyone who’s never been drunk doesn’t know a damn thing about themselves. All they know is the conscious voice in their head, and that voice is an expert liar. It’s only when that preacher is shoved off the podium—so the rest of the congregation can speak—that you become aware of the true dogma of the self.

Drunks have a very fine understanding of their true selves. They are keenly aware of every dimension of their psyche—they’ve sung with their angels and raged with their devils. They’ve examined that inner face from so many different angles they can render an accurate sculpture from memory, flaws and all.

Which is important, because as Plutarch preached, you cannot entirely love someone until you entirely know them.

Which brings up the next best thing about boozing.



Unity9. It allows you to believe you are a better person than you ever imagined you were.

“When I have one martini, I feel bigger, wiser, taller. When I have the second, I feel superlative. When I have more, there’s no holding me.”

—William Faulkner


Ever notice how drunks rarely seem to mind being the center of attention? Not only don’t they mind, they practically demand it, even if it means breaking your things and yelling at the top of their lungs.

Why would this be so? Because when you’re drunk you’re certain you deserve the spotlight. You might be the shyest, most reticent mouse while sober, but load you up with enough liquor and you’re John Barrymore shouting Shakespeare, however unintelligibly.

Booze burnishes to a high gleam every quality you’re lucky enough to possess, and some you weren’t even aware you had claim to. It certainly makes you more generous—there isn’t a barista on earth that makes as much as a bartender. It elevates your sense of humor, surely—no one laughs at a bad joke like a drunk. It reveals you to be an expert dancer, deft conversationalist, brilliant philosopher, gifted singer and the most sensual of lovers. And good looking? You’re so damned handsome you’d have to beat the girls off with a stick if they weren’t so intimidated by your sheer, well, handsomeness. And tough—you’re so hard you could deck half the guys in the room with a single punch if they’d just stay still for a goddamn minute.

Alcohol lets you love yourself. And I say that’s a fine thing. Everyone should feel that way every now and then. Why must you go through life acting like an accountant or salesman or carpenter, just because that’s what you do for a living?

Why should only kings get to feel like kings?



Unity10. It brings the joy.

“Why on earth aren’t people continually drunk? I want ecstasy of the mind all the time.”

—Jack Kerouac


There isn’t enough joy in the world, and that’s a fact. If there was, alcohol would have been dismissed as a mere disinfectant long ago.

I know, I know—we should just get “high on life” and then we wouldn’t have to bother with the booze. And I’ve noticed that it seems to work for some people. What I’ve also noticed is those people all seem a little, well, insane.

I’m not saying there isn’t opportunity for “highness” in the sober world; I’m just saying those instances are too few and far between. Think about it–how often do you feel genuine unbridled glee while sober? Once or twice a week? You can’t count on it. You can’t expect the neighborhood kids to launch a glorious foul ball right through the living room window of your asshole neighbor every day of the week. No matter how much you pay them.

It always amuses me when I read about some hand-wringing do-gooder wondering why-oh-why do seemingly sensible people pursue alcohol with such fervor. What dark motivation, what genetic flaw must drive them? What the Drys don’t seem able to grasp is that a drinker can walk into a bar, and a handful of transactions later, attain the same level of euphoria that the teetotaler would have to strangle a half dozen or so kittens to achieve.

It’s joy on demand. Your fifth drink goes down and a sense of well-being rises up. Then, as the night reels along, the feeling expands into a real sense of euphoria. There’s nothing fake about it. It’s a three-pronged attack: you feel good because stress is released, self-image is elevated, and your inhibitions get the old heave-ho.

And what a joyful feeling it is, knowing that joy is always and only a walk to the bar away.

Source: 10 Best Things About Booze | Modern Drunkard Magazine

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NRA- Nonsensical Rifle Addiction

I Just returned from FIG World Championships (Gymnastics) in Canada. There were thousands of people from all over the world attending each proudly wearing their team colors.fullsizeoutput_48caThe day after the shooting in Las Vegas I overheard many speaking about the USA’s addiction to guns. In one store there were displays of knives made by local artists. The kind of knife that you are more likely to display than to actually cut anything with. There was one gun, a revolver, in the case. I heard one of the team members from Italy say in Italian, “That must be for the Americans”. (I speak Italian so I understood what he said) All his teammates laughed at his joke.

I am a proud American. I have represented the USA at International Competitions throughout the world. No one like to be laughed at. But you know what, he was probably right.

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As often happens, I am out of the country at a gymnastics competition. I am surrounded by thousands of people from all over the world. When they see my USA Olympic Team Sweatshirt they ask me if I knew anyone in Las Vegas. If everyone I know is OK. Then they ask, when is your country going to do something about this.

I have no answer.


After each mass shooting, which have become so common that a shooting that ONLY kills one or 2 people doesn’t event make the news, you send out your THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.  I am praying for YOUR SOULS. You have the ability to change this. It is impossible to stop every person with a gun but you can make it harder for people to get guns. You can make it harder for guns to have large clips. You can make it harder for a person to stockpile guns. You can make it harder for a person with mental illness to own a gun.  You can ask people to register their guns so that police know what they are up against when they go to a house. You can save lives.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said this is not the time  for political debate.We have 59 innocent people dead, it wasn’t their time either. Now IS the time for political debate.

President Trump is visiting Las Vegas today, he’s praying for those who lost their lives. In February, he also signed a bill that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip, also sent their thoughts and their prayers today, which is good. They should be praying. They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.

There are loopholes in the law that let people avoid background checks if they buy a gun privately from another party, if they buy a gun online or at a gun show.

Ninety percent of registered Democrats  and 77 percent of  registered Republicans support background checks at gun shows. Eighty-nine percent of Democrats and Republicans are in favor of restricting gun ownership for the mentally ill. But not the GOP in Congress. They voted against both of those things. With all due respect, your thoughts and your prayers are insufficient.

The House of Representatives is voting on a piece of legislation this week to legalize the sale of silencers for guns! I guess mass shooting have gotten too loud. ,

Now IS the time to talk about gun laws. When someone with a beard attacks us, we tap phones, we invoke travel bans, we build walls, we take every possible precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  When a plane crashes you look at safety measures to protect passengers. When a hotel catches fire you scream for better sprinklers, more safety precautions. But when an American buys a gun and kills other Americans, then there’s nothing we can do about that.

You have their blood on your hands. You had the ability to make this more difficult and you did nothing. My thoughts and prayers go out to YOU. I hope the faces of all the innocent lives you could have saved haunt your dreams.

Since the assassination attempt on a Democratic congresswoman in Arizona at the start of 2011, there have been 18 mass shootings in this country that captured national headlines.

1/8/2011 – Jared Lee Loughner, 22, killed 6 and wounded 11 others in Tucson, Ariz.

Loughner’s motive was an attempt to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona at a meet-and-greet she was holding.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

10/12/2011 – Scott Dekraai, 41, killed 8 people and wounded 1 other in Seal Beach, Calif.

Dekraai was upset over a custody dispute and decided to exact vengeance by going on a shooting rampage at the hair salon where his former wife worked.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

4/2/2012 – One L. Goh, 43, killed 7 people and wounded 1 other in Oakland, Calif.

Goh opened fire in a classroom at Oikos University, a small Christian college.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

7/20/2012 – James Holmes, 24, killed 12 people and wounded 58 others in Aurora, Colo.

Holmes entered a movie theater playing “The Dark Knight Rises” roughly half an hour after the screening had commenced and opened fire.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

8/5/2012 – Wade Michael Page, 40, killed 6 people and injured 3 others at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisc.

Page was an Army veteran and “psychological operations specialist” who opened fire in a Sikh Temple as part of his white supremacist agenda.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

9/28/2012 – Andrew Engeldinger, 36, killed 6 people and injured 2 others in Minneapolis, Minn.

Engeldinger opened fire at the offices of Accent Signage Systems and began shooting after having been fired from his job there.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

10/21/2012 – Radcliffe Haughton, 45, killed 3 people and injured 4 others in Brookfield, Wis.

The former Marine opened fire at the Azana Salon and Spa, where his estranged wife was employed.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

12/14/2012 – Adam Lanza, 20, killed 27 people and injured 1 other in Newtown, Conn.

The shooter murdered 20 first-graders and 6 adults during his infamous rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

President Barack Obama called for stricter federal gun control laws after the incident, but no new federal gun laws were passed.

9/16/2013 – Aaron Alexis, 34, killed 12 people and injured 3 others in Washington, D.C.

Alexis was a Navy contractor and former Navy enlisted man whose extensive disciplinary record did not thwart him when he tried to purchase a rifle. He later shot up the Washington Navy Yard.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

4/2/2014 – Ivan Lopez, 34, killed 3 people and injured 16 others in Fort Hood, Texas.

Lopez, like Alexis, had a problematic past in his military background and engaged in a shooting at Fort Hood after a request for time off was denied.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

5/23/2014 – Elliot Rodger, 22, killed 6 people and wounded 7 others in Isla Vista, Calif.

Rodger went on a rampage near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara after complaining about girls not dating him.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

6/18/2015 – Dylann Roof, 21, killed 9 people in Charleston, SC

Roof was motivated by a white supremacist ideology to open fire in a predominantly African-American church in Charleston, S.C.

The FBI later admitted that Roof should not have been allowed to buy a gun, but he slipped through the cracks.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

7/16/2015 – Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, killed 5 people and wounded 3 others in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Abdulazeez shot up both a military recruiting center and a Navy-Marine training facility before being killed by law enforcement officials.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

10/1/2015 – Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer, 26, killed 9 people and injured 9 others in Roseburg, Ore.

Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer was described by law enforcement as someone with white supremacist and anti-religion opinions and speculated that these views motivated him to shoot up Umpqua Community College.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

11/29/2015 – Robert Lewis Dear, 57, killed 3 people and injured 9 others in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Dear opened fire in a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, with his wife speculatingthat the religious Dear did so because of his opposition to abortion rights.

No new federal gun laws were passed.

12/2/2015 – Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, 28 and 29, killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in San Bernardino, Calif.

Farook and Malik committed the shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, making national headlines.

No new federal gun laws were passed, although Donald Trump (then still seeking the Republican presidential nomination) used the shooting as an opportunity to denounce political correctness.

6/12/2016 – Omar Mateen, 29, killed 49 people and injured 58 others in Orlando, Fla.

Mateen engaged in a mass shooting at a popular gay night club called Pulse. Until Sunday, this was the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

No new federal gun laws were passed, despite President Barack Obama urging Congress to either enact or renew laws that would ban the possession of assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Mateen committed his attack with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.

10/1/2017 – Stephen Paddock, 64, killed at least 58 people and injured at least 515 others in Las Vegas, Nev.

It is unclear what type of weapon Paddock used during the mass shooting, although the sheriff said police found at least 10 rifles in his room. If it turns out that Paddock did use a semiautomatic weapon, however, it could raise concerns for legislation banning them.

sleep well.


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‘Princess Bride’ Lines That Will Make You Believe In Love Again

Get ready to wail about the swift passage of time, because The Princess Brideis officially 30 years old. It’s safe to say that many have grown to love the pirates, sword fights, resurrection, and the quest for The Six-Fingered Man, considering how often your best friends still shout “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” However, despite all of the snarky quips and revenge quests, it’s ultimately a movie about love. Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) and Westley (Cary Elwes) fight like hell for their love to survive, melting even the coldest viewer’s hearts in the process.

If you need help believing in love again, let these moments from The Princess Bride guide you.

“As you wish.” — Westley

As we all know, what he really meant was “I love you.” The love between Westley and Buttercup was the kind that sneaks up on you when you aren’t expecting it, but really Buttercup should have seen this coming. Farmboy or not, no one is that thrilled to shine your saddle unless they worship the ground you walk on. When Buttercup realizes who the Dread Pirate Roberts actually is as he shouts out this line later in the film while rolling down a hill into the Fire Swamp, she and the viewers are reminded that love is not so easily thrown aside.

“Is this a kissing book?” — The Grandson

Yes, Fred Savage, it is. But as most people will tell you, The Princess Bride is so much more than a kissing movie. Still, while listening to his Grandfather read him the story, the boy realizes that the kissing stuff isn’t all that bad.

“This is true love. You think this happens every day?” — Westley

Before being apparently lost at sea, Westley seems pretty certain that his love for Buttercup and her love for him will last forever. While they certainly had a few bumps along the way — evil princes, pirate kings, killer rodents, the usual stuff — this fairy tale had a happy ending. While the impediments to love may be a bit more mundane in the real world, they are still worth conquering.

“Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the world. Except for a nice M.L.T., a mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky. I love that.” — Miracle Max

While the main focus of The Princess Bride is on the young and beautiful lovers, there is also love of a harsher and more hilarious kind with Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) and Valerie (Carol Kane). These two have been performing miracles side by side for decades, and while they may bicker continuously, you can tell that they’re in it for the long haul. Honestly, if you’ve been married that long and still find them as appealing as your favorite sandwich, you’re probably in good shape.

There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours.” — Westley

While the serious declarations of love are all well and good, there’s something to be said about having fun with your significant other. Yeah yeah, you’ll love them until the end of time, but acknowledging the attributes that get you going is important too. Westley may have been a bit indisposed at the moment — coming back from the mostly dead has a bit of a recovery time — but Buttercup quickly picked up on what he was laying down.

“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv. ” — The Impressive Clergyman

The silly accent and the over-the-top sentiment are the perfect combination, making this an insanely quotable line, but the idea that you should “tweasure your wuv” is nothing to laugh at. Buttercup and Westley fought princes, shrieking eels, and death itself to prove how much they cherished each other, so you may want to take some notes while watching.

“Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.” — Westley

Scoff at the idea that “true love conquers all” all you want, but love really is the greatest and scariest adventure that any of us can go on. It may not look like it does in the movies, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Hopefully, you won’t have to become a pirate, get trapped in quicksand, or agree to marry a homicidal maniac along the way.

Source: ‘Princess Bride’ Lines That Will Make You Believe In Love Again

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Come to New Hampshire This Fall

Why Go? Mountainous and woodsy, New Hampshire is blessed with vast parklands for experiencing fall foliage, on foot and behind the wheel. Balance city and forest with overnights in the hipster town of Portsmouth, driving to the many different hiking trails commencing a short hour or so away. Summit Mount Kearsage in Wilmot, or explore a portion of the 40-plus miles of trails in nearby Bear Brook State Park. If a full-day of leaf-peeping is more your speed, head north to the Kancamagus Highway, a highly scenic 34.5-mile stretch of Route 112 through the White Mountain National Forest, erupting with vibrant, changing leaves over multiple elevations.

Where to stay? Check into the cozy, inn-style Hotel Portsmouth, which screams Americana by design and is within walking distance to the town’s fabulous restaurants, old-school coffee shops, and craft breweries. Plus, there’s a great complimentary breakfast spread in the morning to get you revved up for your hikes.

Where to eat? Book ahead for dinner at Row 34 Portsmouth where you’ll feast on sublime, briny local oysters and the best lobster roll in all New England (Yes, you read correctly). For an innovative New England take on tapas, try Moxy by James Beard semifinalist Chef Matt Louis. Small plates like the caramelized ricotta with charred onion and corn chips and the marinated Maine Lobster over eggplant caponata are both delicious and conversation-worthy.

And there is always time t0 make your own apple cider and share it with friends

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Just When You Thought Graham And Cassidy Couldn’t Get More Cynical 

I believe that healthcare needs fixing. The best argument I have heard for single payer is that you do not hear anyone from a country with socialized medicine looking to get rid of it. The GOP wants you to believe it is about control. I am a business owner and I do not want someone coming in and telling me how much I can charge. But with medicine it is the insurance companies and HMO that decide how much to charge. This is all just so silly.

Right now the GOPs in congress are hypocrites at best.

The champions of new Republican legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Care keep talking about fairness.

They don’t mean fairness to people with pre-existing conditions, or fairness to people who can’t afford to pay for insurance without Obamacare’s help. Those two groups would suffer mightily under the bill, as multiple analyses have shown.

No, the Republicans mean fairness to states. And it is one of the most cynical arguments they’ve made yet.

The legislation, which GOP leaders hope to bring to a vote next week, would not simply cut overall federal spending on health care. It would redistribute money among the states ― taking billions of dollars away from California and Maryland, among others, while giving a significant, if temporary, boost to states like Mississippi and Texas.

The bill’s co-sponsors, Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have been quite open about creating new winners and losers among the states. They have said it’s only proper, because, as Cassidy said Monday, “Right now, 37 percent of the revenue from the Affordable Care Act goes to Americans in four states. That is frankly not fair.”

The funding imbalance is real. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government picks up most of the cost for states that expand their Medicaid programs. And that means states that have expanded Medicaid, like California and Maryland, end up getting a lot more federal money than those, like Mississippi and Texas, that haven’t.

But the divide between the states exists because GOP officials in some states have turned down federal money available to them, using discretion that would not exist if not for a lawsuit that was part of the right-wing legal assault on “Obamacare.”

In other words, the imbalance in state funding exists because a group of conservatives have done everything they can to avoid helping some of America’s neediest citizens get health insurance.

Now Graham and Cassidy are exploiting that situation to sell a plan that eventually would take insurance away from low-income people in every state ― even the ones Graham and Cassidy claim to be helping.

How Republicans created the Obamacare funding divide

Remember, the Affordable Care Act’s original concept was to have the government provide insurance to every non-elderly person who didn’t have access to employer coverage. Early on, Democrats decided the most efficient way to do that for people living below or just above the poverty line was to enroll them in Medicaid. That meant expanding the program, because in most states it covered only certain classes of poor people, typically with much lower incomes.

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program, and, legally speaking, the federal government can’t simply order states to do something. Instead, it has to use financial incentives, which is what the Affordable Care Act’s authors sought to do ― by making all Medicaid funding, including money for the parts of the program already in operation, conditional upon states opening the program to more people. Some conservatives groused that this was a form of extortion, and when right-wing legal activists, working with Republican officials, launched their infamous lawsuit challenging the individual mandate, they also made the case that the new Medicaid arrangement was unconstitutional.

Few legal observers took the claim seriously ― until the Supreme Court handed down its ruling and, in a decision upholding other parts of the law, struck down the Medicaid financing scheme. (Two Democratic appointees, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, joined the five Republican appointees in that part of the ruling, although some speculated they had made an implicit deal to join the conservative justices on that point in order to keep a majority upholding other aspects of the law.) That made it much much easier for states to turn down money for the Medicaid expansion.

A group of Republicans and conservative activists turned state opposition to Medicaid expansion into a litmus test.

Even after the court ruling came out, the law’s supporters assumed all states would sign up ― if not right away, then within a few years, simply because the offer from Washington was such a financially advantageous one. The federal government would be providing nearly all the money for the new people who would become eligible, which meant states wouldn’t have to put up much of their own. Many studies suggested that states would ultimately get most or even all of the money back, partly because they wouldn’t have to pick up the indirect costs of charity care from hospitals. Also, the money would boost economic growth.

But the law’s critics, in and outside of the Republican Party, turned opposition into the Medicaid expansion into a litmus test for true conservatism. States with Democrats in control signed up quickly. In most (not all) states where Republicans had leverage over at least one branch of government, expansion became a huge fight ― sometimes pitting Republican governors willing to put aside their ideological predispositions in order to help their constituents, against their own legislatures and conservative activists.

Some of those Republican governors prevailed, which is why states like Michigan and Ohio now have expanded Medicaid programs ― and why those governors are among those who have spoken out most forcefully against Graham-Cassidy. But 19 states have held out, and predominantly they’re the most conservative states of the country.

As Jordan Weissman put it recently in Slate, ”Most red-state governors decided to treat health care policy like an Appalachian blood feud and refused the money the Obama administration all but begged them to take. … If Florida or Texas had decided to accept the big, gift-wrapped pile of dough Washington was offering, things wouldn’t look quite so imbalanced.”

The fight is still happening, by the way. In Kansas, it’s the Republican state legislature that wants the expansion and the Republican governor, Sam Brownback, who has blocked it. The legislature voted overwhelmingly to expand the program in April, but came up just three votes short of the supermajority it needed to override Brownback’s veto.

Graham-Cassidy funding for states is a shell game

Sure enough, Kansas is among the states looking at funding increases during the first six years of Graham-Cassidy. It would get an additional $2 billion, according to an analysis of the bill by Avalere Health. That’s 11 percent more than it stands to get now, with the Affordable Care Act in place. Other big winners include Texas, whose $35 billion windfall would mean a 14 percent increase, and Mississippi, whose $6 billion gain works out to a 13 percent increase.

Meanwhile, Maryland would lose $13 billion, leaving it with 16 percent less money that it stands to get now. And California? It would lose $78 billion, leaving it with 13 percent less in federal funding. Few states have tried as hard to make the Affordable Care Act work, or been so successful. The coverage losses there could be staggering.

As it happens, it’s not only traditionally Democratic states that end up losing out. Florida, which hasn’t expanded Medicaid, would nevertheless lose money because Graham-Cassidy also punishes states where enrollment in subsidized private plans has been high, and signups in Florida are among the highest in the nation.

Alaska, Arizona, Ohio and West Virginia also stand to lose money, because all of them expanded Medicaid. All four have Republican senators who have publicly wavered about reform, making them particularly important politically. This is why you are reading so much about negotiations with one of Alaska’s GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski, and proposals to throw a whole bunch of extra money at her state.

The irony is that every single state ― including Mississippi and Texas ― stands to lose money from Graham-Cassidy eventually. Partly that’s because the bill authorizes new health care spending only through 2026. The money vanishes after that. The other reason is that the bill introduces massive, permanent cuts to the traditional Medicaid program, creating an ever-growing gap between what the federal government is providing and what the states would need to maintain coverage levels. (Vox has an animated map, based on Avalere’s numbers, to show how this would happen over time.)

So even for Mississippi and Texas, Graham-Cassidy turns out to be a bad deal by the numbers. They just wouldn’t feel the pinch as quickly as some other states. That may help explain why the National Association of Medicaid Directors issued a strong letter on Thursday opposing Graham-Cassidy. The letter came from the group’s leadership, but the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent reports that multiple officials from traditionally Republican states were in favor of sending it.

Graham, Cassidy and their allies don’t advertise that they are cutting Medicaid or that the cuts will eventually touch even those places they keep promising to help. But, of course, that shouldn’t be surprising. From day one, they have sold their effort as a more sensible version of repeal, one that will make health care more accessible and not less, when the very opposite is true.

Source: Just When You Thought Graham And Cassidy Couldn’t Get More Cynical | HuffPost

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