Hospital prices online, ice cream, 70

Generally speaking, I like the fruit flavors

change.puzzleIn response to Ask Roger Anything, which you can still do, Alexis wrote:

Hospitals required to post all prices online beginning January 1 – Roger – blog post? This is incredible!

As a librarian, I almost always take the position that more information is usually better. I’m not at all sure how this change will work in the real world and private insurance.

I was surprised/disappointed that I managed to miss this news until the multiple stories that came out right after Christmas from the Associated Press. In fact, there was a story on the PBS Newshour on April 24, 2018, which details the policy.

“Hospitals are required to disclose prices publicly, but the latest change would put that information online in a machine-readable format that can be easily processed by computers. It may still prove to be confusing to consumers since standard rates are like list prices and don’t reflect what insurers and government programs pay.

“Patients concerned about their potential out-of-pocket costs from a hospitalization would still be advised to consult with their insurer. Most insurance plans nowadays have an annual limit on how much patients must pay in copays and deductibles — although traditional Medicare does not.”

Friend Anne wants to know:

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

That would be strawberry, which is NOT available in half gallons from Stewart’s, the local ice cream emporium with the most locations. You CAN get Neapolitan (vanilla/chocolate/strawberry) or vanilla and strawberry. So it’s my favorite flavor to get on a cone.

Generally speaking, I like the fruit-flavors: black raspberry, cherry vanilla, e.g.

Finally, Uthaclena asked quite a while ago:

What’s with 70? What’s wrong with 58?

This is in relation to the birthdays I note in this blog. Here’s the thing: people have only one 70th birthday. If I do someone’s 58th birthday, and another’s 63rd, I won’t necessarily remember if I wrote about them when I’m thinking of blog topics.

But the big 7-0 is easily retrievable because it’s consistent. I could have picked 80, but more of them would be dead. At 30, it’s way too soon; some folks aren’t noteworthy until later in life.

Mayonnaise and other important topics

I once had something called ice milk, which was disappointing, to say the least.

mayonnaise-vs-miracle-whipDustbury hates mayonnaise, and managed to write a whole blog post about it. I’m not being critical. Rather, I’m impressed that he was able to engender a whole condiment conversation in the comments section. I like mayo well enough, in egg salad or on a BLT. It should be real mayonnaise or perhaps the light (usually written as “lite”) version, whatever that is. But I HATE the low-fat versions.

And worse is that stuff that looks like mayonnaise but is sold as Miracle Whip salad dressing; I can always tell when that’s been substituted. I’m actually not sure WHAT it is, but “Miracle Whip does not meet the minimum requirement of 65% vegetable oil to be labeled as mayonnaise as dictated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” One of the worst things of my youth: bologna sandwiches on white bread with Miracle Whip.

This is similarly true of yogurt. Regular yogurt’s fine, and there are some decent lite ones, but the no-fat iterations I’ve tried are vile. The strange aftertaste, probably from some toxic chemical compound.

I used to drink 2% milk, then 1% for a long time, but now I have gotten used to skim. But the Daughter has not; she likes the 2%. Her mother once said it tasted like ice cream, and I scowled; surely it is fuller flavor, but it’s hardly ice cream because I know ice cream.

Ice cream is another product where the real thing is great, and the substitutes, not so much. I once had something called ice milk, which was disappointing, to say the least.

What food substitutes are acceptable to you, and which food items just can’t be replaced?

Vanilla ice cream

Was it a pacifier? Was it a message to us that, as long as we obeyed the rules, we could still be occasionally rewarded with just enough to keep us patriotic and loyal?

Things remind me of other things, all but forgotten.

One of the most peculiar items I came across recently was this: Black people were denied vanilla ice cream in the Jim Crow south – except on Independence Day.

The memory of that all-but-unspoken rule seems to be unique to the generation born between World War I and World War II.
But if Maya Angelou hadn’t said it in her classic autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I doubt anybody would believe it today.
“People in Stamps used to say that the whites in our town were so prejudiced that a Negro couldn’t buy vanilla ice cream. Except on July Fourth. Other days he had to be satisfied with chocolate.”

I’m told that Thomas Jefferson, writer of the document associated with that day, was so addicted to vanilla ice cream that he arranged for vanilla beans to be transported in diplomatic pouches while he was serving in France and their revolution was going on.

Why then this ODD rule? The writer Michael W Twitty wonders:

Was it a pacifier? Was it a message to us that, as long as we obeyed the rules, we could still be occasionally rewarded with just enough to keep us patriotic and loyal?

But perhaps it is pointless to ask for more than context.

That article reminded me of a totally unrelated story, except that it did involve ice cream. Growing up in Binghamton in upstate New York, I was usually the only black kid in my class.
One day in fifth or sixth grade, we were going to get ice cream that came in these little paper cups. We used wooden spoons to eat it. I was out of the room when the voting on the decision on flavors – vanilla or chocolate, was being made.

When I came back to the classroom, I was asked what I wanted, and I said “Vanilla.” The whole class moaned; EVERYBODY else, probably 15 white kids, had picked chocolate. They were disappointed that it had not been a unanimous choice. But I didn’t particularly LIKE that brand of chocolate, as I thought it tasted chalky.

I wondered if chocolate had been a consensus choice, with the kids who thought “I don’t care” going along with the majority. In any case, this made me feel really uncomfortable because it made me feel different when, for the most part, I felt like one of the group. Don’t think it was specifically racial, probably not in their minds, though it may have rattled a bit in mine.

But the earlier story above made my choice of 50 years ago, somehow, a little more OK.

Stewarts has that full-value thing going

If one goes to the various Stewarts shops in the greater Albany area – there are approximately one billion of them – you cannot but notice that the price of their ice cream, which they make, has been creeping up. You don’t even need to actually BUY the ice cream there, the displays are so prominent. The sale price has crept up from $2.39 in the recent past, then rising, usually in 20-cent increments, until it’s now $3.19. I suspect, from personal experience, that Stewarts has experienced some price resistance as a result.

So Stewarts has gone on the offensive. Signs in the stores in recent weeks have noted that the ice cream might be $3.19, but it’s $3.19 for a FULL half gallon. Other ice cream producers may have held the line on their price, but they have instead shrunk the package size to a quart and a half. Thus, Stewart’s $3.19 is equivalent to their $2.39.

I think it’s an effective strategy because it’s honest. Whereas, the shrinkage of the packaging, not just in ice cream, but in tomato sauce, tuna fish, cereal, and loads of other products, smacks of deceit.

I was in a Stewarts in Canton, NY recently, and there were ongoing videos of Tom Mailey explaining the quality of Stewarts’ products – when did Tom Mailey grow a beard? Also, Flavor the cow was explaining how to play the various lottery games – the cow’s name is Flavor? And it left me satisfied that Stewarts is trying to play fair, while some of the other food makers are not.

Ice Cream Quiz

So what’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Where DID this come from? I’m guessing Facebook, but I don’t remember.

Your Ice Cream Personality:
You like to think of yourself as a fairly modest person. And it’s true that you don’t talk yourself up… but you’re also pretty happy with who you are.You are incredibly cautious. You rather miss out on something than make a mistake. No one would ever call you wild… but they would call you responsible.

You are a fairly open-minded person with a wide range of tastes. You are quite accepting of unusual ideas and people.

You are a natural multi-tasker. You feel alive when you’re doing more than one thing at a time.

You can be a bit dramatic and over the top sometimes. You are bold in every way

Continue reading “Ice Cream Quiz”

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial