Groundhog Day, Facebook, and Healthcare in USA

by Michael Stevenson

Yesterday I rewatched a favorite film, Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day (1993). I’ve seen this Buddhist-themed movie dozens of times. After last night’s viewing, I decided to attempt an experiment whereby I would try to experience each day as if I was revisiting each moment and encounter.

Superficially, Groundhog Day is a about a cynical, egocentric weatherman Phil (Bill Murray) who repeats the same day over and over again (February 2nd, aka Groundhog Day) until he convinces Rita (Andie MacDowell) to fall in love with him. On a deeper level, it is a profound work of contemporary metaphysics, albeit, with occasionally hilarious sight gags (“Am I right or am I right? – Needle-nose Ned Ryersen)

Like Bill Murray’s main character Phil Connors, I will reincarnate each moment of each day until I find enlightenment, and perhaps at the same time, save a baby from a hot coffee spill at The Coffee Exchange. I’m not kidding about this experiment. I’m all in.  More to come on this …

Never seen this masterpiece directed and co-written by the late Harold Ramis? You must do so immediately. Like Dicken’s A Christmas Carol – it can change your life. Meanwhile, here’s an interesting piece on the Zen and Christian messages of Groundhog Day from the NY Times

I quit my Facebook account a few days ago, after a challenge from my daughter who thought I was spending too much time on social media for a man of 60 years. I think she may be right about this. Also, post-Trump FB was becoming increasingly depressing for me. I detest seeing evidence that FB friends whom I sat next to in 2nd grade are now racists, or homophobes, or anti-science dunderheads. I also hate the echo-chamber timeline feeding me liberal/progressive posts that FB thinks will produce nods of approval from Mikey. Bleh! I’ve always hated being in a group larger than six of like-minded people. So, I’m done with Facebook for some time – perhaps forever. Here’s an interesting video from Russell Brand about unhealthy screen time.

I heard an interesting story that touched on America’s insane Heathcare system on NPR this morning.

“…But just as his career was starting to look up, (musician Chad Matheny ) got his cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, even as an uninsured person in Germany, Matheny was able to get treatment right away. He’s now in remission.

Like many musicians, Matheny went years with minimal health insurance, or none at all. In Germany, with no insurance, he wound up in debt of about €30,000 — roughly $35,000. That’s what Matheny calculated he would have owed in the U.S. if he did have insurance.

And without insurance, “it would have been a minimum [of] a quarter million dollars. Probably half a million, I’m guessing,” he says. “It would have been unsustainable; I would have declared bankruptcy or something.”

Give a listen to this story at:

Please comment on these thoughts! I’m interested in what you may think.


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