Friday, November 9, 2007

Elder Care

The Wisconsin State Journal has run a week long series on the struggles faced aged folks in Wisconsin. The infrastructure that is supposed to care for the elderly is woefully insufficient. Nurses Aides don't make enough money, leading to high turnover and inconsistent care, and there is little government oversight to make sure that the facilities and individuals provide adequate care.

And it's only going to get worse as more baby boomers retire and need competent care. Hence today's cartoon.

The tornado metaphor is a bit of a cliche, but I think it works well when paired with the trailer park.

This is a somewhat personal issue for me. I was very close to my great-grandmother who died a couple years ago at the age of 103. She was a remarkable woman to the end, and while she could hardly walk, see or hear, she remained mentally sharp and competent. I distinctly remember the Christmas when she was 101 and told my father that she wanted him to take of her finances because she "wasn't as young as she used to be." Until that point, she had managed all of bills and bank accounts without any assistance.

But finding competent care for her was a constant struggle. She never wanted to live with my family and become a burden. She thrived off of her independence.

When we finally had to move her into an assisted living facility I was simply appalled by the rules that existed. For instance, the nursing staff was not allowed to help to the restroom (that would have taken too much time) they were only allowed to change diapers.

We ended up having to hire separate helpers, who basically walked my great-grandmother to the restroom, to save her from the indignity of being treat like an infant.

All in all, I think my great-grandmother actually received better than average care, because she was so friendly and agreeable to the aides who looked after. The aides' constant amazement with how kind and considerate my great-grandmother was, made me realize that working with the aged can be a trying and thankless experience.

I'm not sure how we tackle the entire problem, but it is high time we started paying the aides who work who have to deal the affliction of old age, with a descent salary, and stop treating them like baby-sitters.


Here is the Editorial Cartoon from today's State Journal.

Over the last several months there has been quite the hoopla over this new cable legislation in Wisconsin. The bill would allow different companies to provide service to customers in municipalities. Currently cable companies have exclusive contracts in a municipality. Basically if you don't like your provider, too bad.

It's a good bill, except I'm a little wary about how much money the telecommunication giant AT&T has spent lobbying for it.

But in all likelihood, the bill will have very little effect. I personally don't have cable. I get my TV fix from network television and the Internet, and I wonder how many more young folks like me do the same. In essence this bill is like regulating the telegraph in the 1940's, or vinyl record production in the mid 1980's. Cable TV is dying technology, at least that's what the cartoon implies.

On to the actual cartoon itself. This was a fun one to draw. I've been trying to be looser and more fluid with my brush work and I think that shows in the Cartoon. I think the composition is also pretty interesting for a cartoon that is in essence two talking heads.

The headline on the newspaper is a technique I don't like using, but especially when drawing local cartoons I think I have to use it to provide context.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Baseball in Madison

Baseball starts in Madison this week. The Madison Mallards, a team made up of College-aged players in the Northwoods League, play ball for about 2 and a half months every summer at the Duck Pond at Warner Park on Madison's north side.

The team is wildly popular in Madison, and offers several promotions that pack the stands on a regular basis. But I think the most popular promotion is the cheap beer and cheep tickets the team offers every night.

I went to a game last year and got tickets in the Duck Blind, a section of the ball park offering all-you-can-eat food and all-you-can-drink beer for $27. Unfortunately, the section did not offer all-you-can-watch baseball. I think I was the only person there who was even remotely interested in the action on the field.

But the Duck Blind serves a valuable purpose. By hoarding all the drunks in one section of the park, the rest of stadiums remains relatively family friendly.

I'll try to make it to more games this year, and I doubt I'll sit in the Duck Blind again.