Krupa's Back Pages

February 4, 2011

Super Bowl Jeopardy 2011: Answers and Questions

Filed under: Casual Fridays,Sports — Steve Krupa @ 2:54 pm
Tags: , ,

SUPER BOWL JEOPARDY 2011 Answers and Questions

Okay – here we go.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!

If you want to try it without the solutions, i.e., just the answers (no questions) click here.

Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin

The Quarterbacks:

1.             A:  These two (2) starting Super Bowl quarterbacks both started their career with the same team and wore the number 10 in the Super Bowl.

Q:  Who are Fran Tarkenton (VIII, IX, XI) and Eli Manning (XLII)?

2.             A:  These three (3) quarterbacks started in Super Bowls for the (Baltimore/Indianapolis) Colts.

Q:  Who are Earl Morrall (III), Johnny Unitas (V), and Peyton Manning (XLI & XLIV)?

 

3.             A:  These three (3) Super Bowl winning quarterbacks played their college football at Alabama, although only two of them played for famed Alabama coach Bear Bryant.

Q:  Who are Bart Starr (Packers: I&II) (Bart did not play for Bear Bryant), Joe Namath (Jets: III) and Ken Stabler (Raiders: XI)?

 

4.             A:  This starting Super Bowl quarterback, who remains in the NFL as of the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, holds the record for the most pass attempts (39) in the Super Bowl without a touchdown pass.

Q:  Who is Kerry Collins (Giants: XXXV)?

5.             A:  This quarterback and current broadcaster holds the record for the highest single game Super Bowl passer rating (150.9).

Q:  Who is Phil Simms (Giants: XXI)?

 6.             A:  This quarterback, known for his ability to make clutch plays late in close games, among other things, also holds the record for the lowest single game Super Bowl passer rating (22.6) for a winning quarterback.

Q:  Who is Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers: XL)?

7.             A:  This quarterback not only made a recent appearance on the TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” but he also holds the record for most pass attempts (45) without an interception in one Super Bowl game.

Q:  Who is Kurt Warner (Rams: XXXIV)?

8.             A:  This quarterback played his college ball at Grambling State and became the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl game.

Q:  Who is Doug Williams (Redskins: XXII)?

9.             A:  These four (4) quarterbacks started in Super Bowls for the Washington Redskins (5 total team appearances).

Q:  Who are Billy Kilmer (VII), Joe Theismann (XVII & XVIII), Doug Williams (XXII) and Mark Rypien (XXVI)?

  10.          A:  These three (3) quarterbacks started in Super Bowls for the New England Patriots (6 total team appearances).

Q:  Who are Tony Eason (XX), Drew Bledsoe (XXXI) and Tom Brady (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX and XLII)?

 

 The Head Coaches:

11.          A:  The only Super Bowl head coach to attend John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.

Q:  Who is Don Shula?

12.          A:  This three-time Super Bowl head coach known for his devotion to the phillosohpy of “Power Football” also played linebacker at Wichita State University.

Q:  Who is Bill Parcells?

 

13.          A:  These two (2) Super Bowl head coaches played football for Brigham Young University.

Q:  Who are Andy Reid (Eagles) and Brian Billick (Ravens)?

14.          A:  These two (2) Super Bowl head coaches played their college football at the University of Minnesota.

Q:  Who are Bud Grant (Vikings) and Tony Dungy (Colts)?

15.          A:  This legendary head coach holds the record for most Super Bowl appearances (6).

Q:  Who is Don Shula (Colts/Dolphins)?

16.          A:  These three (3) head coaches represented the (Los Angeles/St. Louis) Rams in the Super Bowl.

Q:  Who are Ray Malavasi, Dick Vermeil and Mike Martz.

17.          A:  These three (3) head coaches are winless in each of their 4 Super Bowl appearances.

Q:  Who are Bud Grant, Marv Levy and Dan Reeves?

18.          A:  These five (5) head coaches have made Super Bowl appearances with two different teams.

Q:  Who are Don Shula (Colts/Dolphins), Dan Reeves (Broncos/Falcons), Dick Vermeil (Eagles/Rams), Bill Parcells (Giants/Patriots) and Mike Holmgren (Packers/Seahawks)?

 

 

 19.          A:  These three (3) head coaches represented the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl (6 team appearances).

Q:  Who are Red Miller (XII), Dan Reeves (XXI, XXII, XXIV) and Mike Shanahan (XXXII, XXXIII)?

 

 20.          A:  These four (4) head coaches represented the (Oakland/Los Angeles) Raiders in the Super Bowl (5 team appearances).

Q:  Who are John Rauch (II), John Madden (XI), Tom Flores (XV, XVIII) and Bill Callahan (XXXII)?

 

 The MVPs

21.          A:  These three (3) players won the Super Bowl MVP award while playing for the New York Giants.

Q:  Who are Phil Simms, O.J. Anderson and Eli Manning?

  

 22.          A:  This wide-receiver and Super Bowl MVP, now with the New York Jets, made the game winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII.

Q:  Who is Santonio Holmes?

 

23.          A:  This Super Bowl MVP and controversial first round draft pick played his college football at Morehead State.

Q:  Who is Phil Simms?

24.          A:  These two brothers won sequential (first one then the other) Super Bowl MVPs.

Q:  Who are Peyton Manning (XLI) and Eli Manning (XLII).

25.          A:  This linebacker is the only Super Bowl MVP to play for a losing team.

Q:  Who is Chuck Howley? (Linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys who lost to the Colts in Super Bowl V (16-13), a game known as the Blunder Bowl for its sloppy play).

26.          A:  This player holds the record for the most Super Bowl MVP awards (3).

Q:  Who is Joe Montana of the 49ers (XVI, XIX and XXIV)?

27.          A:  This team produced the only set of Super Bowl co-MVPs.

Q:  Who are the Dallas Cowboys?

28.          A:  These two defensive lineman were the only set of Super Bowl co-MVPs.

Q:  Who are Randy White and Harvey Martin?

 

 29.          A:  This Heisman Trohpy winner is the only Kick Return specialist to win a Super Bowl MVP.

Q:  Who is Desmond Howard of the Green Bay Packers?

The Teams

30.          A:  These four (4) current NFL teams have never made a Super Bowl appearance.

Q:  Who are the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars?

 

31.          A:  These two (2) current NFL teams have not made a Super Bowl appearance since 1970.

Q:  Who are the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets?

32.          A:  These three (3) teams are tied for the most number of Super Bowl losses (4).

Q:  Who are the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills?

33.          A:  This team holds the Super Bowl record for the most points scored in a quarter.

Q:  Who are the Washington Redskins (35 pts – XXII)?

The Players

34.          A:  This Raiders lineman is the only player to appear in a Super Bowl in three separate decades.

Q:  Who is Gene Upshaw?

 

 35.          A:  This linebacker, TV commentator and former President and CEO of the Detroit Lions is the only player to earn a Super Bowl ring with 3 different teams (Raiders, 49ers and Redskins).

Q:  Who is Matt Millen?

 

36.          A:  This running back and fifth round draft pick out of Texas Tech holds the record for most rushing yards in a single Super Bowl game (204 yards).

Q:  Who is Timmy Smith (Redskins: XXII)?

37.          A:  This defensive lineman was known as the “Minister of Defense” and holds the record for most sacks in a single Super Bowl game (3).

Q:  Who is Reggie White (the “Minister of Defense” – Packers: XXXI)?

 

38.          A:  This wide-receiver and first round draft pick out of Mississippi Valley State holds the career Super Bowl record for touchdowns (7).

 Q:  Who is Jerry Rice (49ers)?

 The Venues

 39.          A:  This stadium hosted Super Bowl I.

Q:  What is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum?

 

40.          A:  This city has hosted the Super Bowl a record 10 times.

Q:  What is Miami, Florida?

41.          A:  This city is scheduled to host its first Super Bowl (XLVI) next year.

Q:  What is Indianapolis?

42.          A:  This city hosted the first Super Bowl after the commencement of Operation Desert Storm.

 Q:  What is Tampa, Florida?

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

January 28, 2011

Super Bowl Jeopardy 2011

Filed under: Casual Fridays,Sports — Steve Krupa @ 5:23 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Every year Mike Francesa of WFAN (radio) in New York puts together an excellent contest featuring Super Bowl trivia.  If you can answer four of Mike’s very difficult trivia questions you can win a trip to the Super Bowl.  It’s a lot of fun to listen to, and it inspired me to create my own take on Super Bowl trivia, Super Bowl Jeopardy 2011, which is certainly less daunting than Francesa’s, but challenging nonetheless.

Since my favorite Super Bowl is XLII (Giants 17 Patriots 14), Super Bowl Jeopardy 2011 features 42 answers.  I will publish the questions next Friday before Super Bowl weekend.  Obviously you can find most of these answers on-line, but if you want to keep the wheels turning, feel free to write in for hints.

The idea is to structure your responses in the form of a question.  For example:

A:  This quarterback won the MVP award in the first two super bowls.

Q:  Who is Bart Starr (Packers)?

Ok – so that’s how it works.  Enjoy.

SUPER BOWL JEOPARDY 2011

The Quarterbacks:

1.             A:  These two (2) starting Super Bowl quarterbacks both started their career with the same team and wore the number 10 in the Super Bowl.

2.             A:  These three (3) quarterbacks started in Super Bowls for the (Baltimore/Indianapolis) Colts.

3.             A:  These three (3) Super Bowl winning quarterbacks played their college football at Alabama, although only two of them played for famed Alabama coach Bear Bryant.

4.             A:  This starting Super Bowl quarterback, who remains in the NFL as of the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, holds the record for the most pass attempts (39) in the Super Bowl without a touchdown pass.

5.             A:  This quarterback and current broadcaster holds the record for the highest single game Super Bowl passer rating (150.9).

6.             A:  This quarterback, known for his ability to make clutch plays late in close games, among other things, also holds the record for the lowest single game Super Bowl passer rating (22.6) for a winning quarterback.

7.             A:  This quarterback not only made a recent appearance on the TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” but he also holds the record for most pass attempts (45) without an interception in one Super Bowl game.

8.             A:  This quarterback played his college ball at Grambling State and became the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl game.

9.             A:  These four (4) quarterbacks started in Super Bowls for the Washington Redskins (5 total team appearances).

10.          A:  These three (3) quarterbacks started in Super Bowls for the New England Patriots (6 total team appearances).

The Head Coaches:

11.          A:  The only Super Bowl head coach to attend John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.

12.          A:  This three-time Super Bowl head coach known for his devotion to the phillosohpy of “Power Football” also played linebacker at Wichita State University.

13.          A:  These two (2) Super Bowl head coaches played football for Brigham Young University.

14.          A:  These two (2) Super Bowl head coaches played their college football at the University of Minnesota.

15.          A:  This legendary head coach holds the record for most Super Bowl appearances (6).

16.          A:  These three (3) head coaches represented the (Los Angeles/St. Louis) Rams in the Super Bowl.

17.          A:  These three (3) head coaches are winless in each of their 4 Super Bowl appearances.

18.          A:  These five (5) head coaches have made Super Bowl appearances with two different teams.

19.          A:  These three (3) head coaches represented the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl (6 team appearances).

20.          A:  These four (4) head coaches represented the (Oakland/Los Angeles) Raiders in the Super Bowl (5 team appearances).

The MVPs

21.          A:  These three (3) players won the Super Bowl MVP award while playing for the New York Giants.

22.          A:  This wide-receiver and Super Bowl MVP, now with the New York Jets, made the game winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII.

23.          A:  This Super Bowl MVP and controversial first round draft pick played his college football at Morehead State.

24.          A:  These two brothers won sequential (first one then the other) Super Bowl MVPs.

25.          A:  This linebacker is the only Super Bowl MVP to play for a losing team.

26.          A:  This player holds the record for the most Super Bowl MVP awards (3).

27.          A:  This team produced the only set of Super Bowl co-MVPs.

28.          A:  These two defensive lineman were the only set of Super Bowl co-MVPs.

29.          A:  This Heisman Trohpy winner is the only Kick Return specialist to win a Super Bowl MVP.

The Teams

30.          A:  These four (4) current NFL teams have never made a Super Bowl appearance.

31.          A:  These two (2) current NFL teams that have not made a Super Bowl appearance since 1970.

32.          A:  These three (3) teams are tied for the most number of Super Bowl losses (4).

33.          A:  This team holds the Super Bowl record for the most points scored in a quarter.

The Players

34.          A:  This Raiders lineman is the only player to appear in a Super Bowl in three separate decades.

35.          A:  This linebacker, TV commentator and former President and CEO of the Detroit Lions is the only player to earn a Super Bowl ring with 3 different teams (Raiders, 49ers and Redskins).

36.          A:  This running back and fifth round draft pick out of Texas Tech holds the record for most rushing yards in a single Super Bowl game (204 yards).

37.          A:  This defensive lineman was known as the “Minister of Defense” and holds the record for most sacks in a single Super Bowl game (3).

38.          A:  This wide-receiver and first round draft pick out of Mississippi Valley State holds the career Super Bowl record for touchdowns (7).

The Venues

39.          A:  This stadium hosted Super Bowl I.

40.          A:  This city has hosted the Super Bowl a record 10 times.

41.          A:  This city is scheduled to host its first Super Bowl (XLVI) next year.

42.          A:  This city hosted the first Super Bowl after the commencement of Operation Desert Storm.

January 24, 2011

The Budget Balancing Puzzle

Filed under: Finance,General,Healthcare — Steve Krupa @ 12:57 pm
Tags: ,

I assume President Obama is going to spend at least some time in his state of the union speech talking about the budget deficit, and maybe even the notion of balancing the budget.  It was something that was done before, long ago, in the Clinton administration.  Today, polling results indicate that most Americans want Congress to balance the budget without tax increases, i.e., with spending cuts, except most Americans do not want to see significant cuts to Social Security and Medicare.  However, it just might be that this proposed combination – a balanced budget with no tax increases and no cuts to Social Security or Medicare may be impossible.

Don’t believe me?

Try this budget balancing puzzle put out by the New York Times that puts you (the puzzle doer) in the position of balancing the budget now and over the long-term. Let me know how you do.  I got my budget to balance in the long run without raising taxes by significantly reducing the size of the military and making a lot of long-term cuts to Medicare, among other things.

I’d be interest to know if you were able to do it and if so, how.

January 5, 2011

Watching The Future – 2011

Filed under: General,Technology — Steve Krupa @ 12:20 pm
Tags: , , ,

I found this interesting presentation (above) on Fred Wilson’s blog.  It’s essentially a list of things to watch in 2011, and it’s pretty interesting, particularly because it is not all technology and it stays away from most of the larger geo-political and economic issues.

A couple of things worth noting:

  1. The discussion on “Smart Infrastructure.”
  2. Mobile Money (which will be a major force for change in healthcare sometime in the future).
  3. mHealth
  4. Digital Interventions (like substance abuse interventions!)
  5. Entrepreneurial Journalism (hmm…)
  6. Group Manipulated Pricing (perhaps a future healthcare application – like the old Dutch auctions that were done to price new securities)
  7. A lot of “nutritional” fads, in this case Matcha
  8. The Advent of the Older Workforce (retirement ages must go up for our economy to survive)

There’s more, but these are the ones that had an immediate interest to me.  Check it out.  I think you will find it thought provoking.

December 31, 2010

Favorite Albums of the Decade (2000-2009) – #10 – Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago – 2008

“I toured the light; so many foreign roads, for Emma, forever ago.”

Something like Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, or Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, or Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s Master and Everyone, music that is both beautiful but somehow cool, simple but thoughtful, alone but seeking to connect, heartfelt but not overwhelming – that is Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago.

“There’s a black crow sitting across from me; his wiry legs are crossed
And he’s dangling my keys – he even fakes a toss
Whatever could it be
That has brought me to this loss?”

It’s hard to tell if this record is entirely about loss, but it is certainly introspective and personal, the way we all get after a break-up.  She is in there throughout, sometimes aggressively in love and sometimes sinister and indifferent, poetic references that imply an otherworldly magic, left behind as dream remnants, pure feeling, a metaphor for the many things held close to the heart.

“Sold my cold knot
A heavy stone
Sold my red horse for a venture home
To vanish on the bow —
Settling slow”

There is a theory that she, at times, takes the form of a long-lost band.

“(Or so the story goes)”

Justin Vernon is Bon Iver (pronounced bone ee-vair).  Bon Iver was born in winter (a riff on “bon hiver” – French for good winter), a Wisconsin winter, spent in a hunting cabin after the disbanding of DeYarmond Edison, Vernon’s indie quartet.  They were all old friends.

“Go find another lover;
To bring a… to string along
With all your lies,
You’re still very lovable.

Justin’s thick falsetto can be icy cold, sometimes alone, oftentimes in overdub.

The instruments, resurrected from an icy thaw, unplayed for a time, wake-up slowly, appear without warning, and leave again, certain to be missed.

The music moves from thin to thick, from a limp to a rumble, changing subtly, like the ebb and flow of a cold winter wind.

Notables:

Here’s Skinny Love:

Come on skinny love just last the year
Pour a little salt we were never here
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer

I tell my love to wreck it all
Cut out all the ropes and let me fall
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Right in the moment this order’s tall

And I told you to be patient
And I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind
And in the morning I’ll be with you
But it will be a different kind
And I’ll be holding all the tickets
And you’ll be owning all the fines

Come on skinny love, what happened here?
Suckle on the hope in light brassieres
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Sullen load is full, so slow on the split

And I told you to be patient
And I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind
And now all your love is wasted
And then who the hell was I?
And I’m breaking at the britches
And at the end of all your lines

Who will love you?
Who will fight?
Who will fall far behind?

December 10, 2010

Favorite Albums of the Decade (2000-2009) – #9 – Bob Dylan – “Love and Theft” – 2001

I am sure many expected old age to take Bob Dylan away, allowing him to rest on his laurels and continue his eternal tour, playing to those old and young that still obsess over his string of 1960/70’s epic albums, thinking, “it cannot and will not ever get any better than this,” a notion that were it not for the extraordinary nature of his recent output, just might have come true.

From 1962 through 1970 Zimmy released at least 10 bona fide, mesmerizing, five-star classics(1), albums that continue to affect the progress of folk, rock and pop music to this very day.  By 1970 Dylan was suddenly 29, with arguably the best work of his lifetime behind him.  For the next 27 or so years he continued, perhaps in an effort to keep busy, but more than likely in an effort to top his earlier work, creating multiple, deformed versions of his past-self, from recluse, to born-again Christian, to the leader of the Rolling Thunder Revue, his musical caravan, white pancake make-up included.  By continually changing with the times he did deliver the occasional, unexpected studio classic along the way(2), but, with the exception of the sequential Blood on the Tracks and Desire in 1975-76, he never came close to recreating the hot streak he achieved through his 20’s(3).  However, in 1997 he released Time Out of Mind, presenting us with his latest and potentially last character, the aging sage, narrator of the secret oddities of America’s underground history, embracing his gravelly, somewhat pitchy voice as a tool to unify near-spoken-word with history-defying-poetry – music included at no additional charge.

It turns out that Time Out of Mind was the precursor to an amazing decade of creative output – Bob in his 60’s is every bit as interesting as Bob in his 20’s.  He has stories to tell, and he’s read and experienced a lot in the last 30 years, providing him with a deep, obscure library of influences to draw (steal) from.  Time Out of Mind was the beginning of his recent winning streak, which was followed by “Love and Theft” (2001), Modern Times (2005), Together Through Life (2009), and yes, the covers record, Christmas in the Heart (2009).

While deep down I would love for this to be a review of Christmas in the Heart so I could introduce you to the creepy-old Uncle Bob, lurking in the corner, kids on his lap, bourbon bottle in his pocket, butchering Christmas carols with good cheer – the task at hand, I suppose, is to pick his best album of the decade – and that I will – with the caveat that they all stand up to the best work of Bob’s career, regardless of his then-age and predilections.  In fact, they all stand up to the very best of any genre of music released over the past decade.  Go figure – from the age of 56 through his up coming 70th birthday – Bob Dylan has equaled in quality his historic output from 36 years prior while remaining relevent as a contemporary artist, no doubt a once-again, near one-of-a-kind achievement.

“Love and Theft” came out on 9-11-2001, but I did not get my hands on a copy until at least six months later, and I did not start listening to it obsessively until years later, when I decided I liked Modern Times so much I wanted to compare it to “Love and Theft”In truth it was in the earlier part of this decade when Bob Dylan’s music really began to blow my mind again, but then it was the old stuff I was focused on.  I was working with several musicians as their artist manager and I was interested in what they were accomplishing lyrically and in turn they were inspiring me to dig more deeply into Dylan (thank you Jason Darling, Tara Angell, Kristin Hoffmann and Jesse Malin), so I began listening to everything Bob.  By 2005 I was ready for his contemporary stuff, the library being so large one has to sift through it patiently, and there they were, a modern trilogy, Time Out of Mind, “Love and Theft” and Modern Times, all shiny and new and ready for me.

At his best Bob Dylan tells his stories through characters that often seem to possess his very sense of being.  One character that has always been around is the purveyor of American folk-lore, primarily influenced by ancient American music the likes of which is archived in Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music (AAFM), a six LP set released by Folkways Records in 1952 that archives the finest of underground folk music from the late 1920’s and early 1930’s – music that  explores the lives of con-men, rogues, gamblers, cheaters, gunfighters and the like, those who, despite the backdrop of the American Dream, spin their yarns knowing they have nothing to lose.  On “Love and Theft” Bob “borrows” their minds and perhaps some of their melodies, recasting new tales of weirdness and desperation along a line of contemporary poetry, the superiority of which requires forgiveness of his overt melodic theft – these are vivid stories inside of songs that you know you’ve heard before, but where?

“Love and Theft” sounds like it is playing on my grandmother’s old Victrola, scratchy and weary with age, capturing perfectly some of the best melodic and orchestral tricks from the old days, jumpy blues, slow-nasty blues, rockabilly, slow dance, country ballads, up through early Rock ‘n’ Roll a la Bill Halley and Buddy Holly, stuff that moves you out-of-body to a unique time and place.  The stories and the sounds evoke images of a dusty old home conservatory, occupied with an old music man, spending his day singing great old songs, soft light bleeding through the antique linen curtains.  “Love and Theft” feels old and new at the same time, so familiar, yet so oddly riveting, cheating time like nothing else of its day.

It turns out that Bob made a decade’s work of reminiscing and molding the old into something uniquely new.  First with his studio records (produced under his pseudonym, Jack Frost).  Second through his never-ending schedule of live shows, that serve as a platform for him to perform wholly new versions of his entire catalogue in the image of his newest character.  And third through the fascinating collection of radio programming he produced for XM titled Theme Time Radio Hour, where Bob spent an hour each week exploring his record collection for theme-driven gems (if interested, you can download all of the shows here).

From start to finish, “Love and Theft” captures the essence of Bob’s immense creative effort over the past decade and at times I think it might be my favorite Bob Dylan record, but more often my favorite Dylan record is the one I happen to be listening to at the time.  Nonetheless this is his gem of gems from this past decade, for sure.

Notables:

The album’s title, “Love and Theft” is from Eric Lott’s book Love & Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class.

Bob’s ability to adapt other art forms into his music has led to an occasional accusation of plagiarism, most recently from none other than Joni Mitchell.  In “Love and Theft” Bob not only borrows a few melodies, he also borrows phrases, most notably from Japanese author Junichi Saga in his book Confessions of a Yakuza. It’s an interesting subject and it’s handled well by Dylan historian Sean Wilentz in his article “Is Bob Dylan a Phony?”

This past decade was a busy period for not only Bob, but for his fans and critics, with numerous packages of Dylan reminiscence released, the most notable being Martin Scorsese’s awesome made-for-TV film No Direction Home and Todd Haynes’ odd interpretation of Dylan’s life through a group of fictional characters called I am Not There (Cate Blanchett was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of late sixties Bob).

It’s hard to find video of the “Love and Theft” tracks on youtube, but here’s a quick commercial for the album:

Footnotes:

(1) Here are the 10: 1 – Bob Dylan (1962), 2 – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963), 3 – The Times They Are a Changin’ (1964), 4 – Another Side of Bob Dylan (1964), 5 – Bringing It All Back Home (1965), 6 – Highway 61 Revisited (1965), 7 – Blonde on Blonde (1966), 8 – John Wesley Harding (1967), 9 –Nashville Skyline (1969), and 10 – New Morning (1970).

(2) If you attempt to weed through the 20 some-odd Dylan studio releases from 1970 through 1997, consider these, which I regard as his best from that era, and are every bit as good as his sequential masterpieces from his early career: Blood on the Tracks (1975), The Basement Tapes (1975 – recorded in the late 1960s and in many ways a long ago precursor to themes explored in his more recent albums, “Love and Theft” included – see above), Desire (1976), Slow Train Comin’ (1979 – Bob talkin’ about Jesus), Infidels (1983), Empire Burlesque (1988), and Oh Mercy (1989 – his first collaboration with famed U2 producer Daniel Lanois, who also produced Time Out of Mind).

(3) All told I am recommending 17 studio albums from the period of 1962 through 1997, almost too much of anything!, yet amazing through and through, and as if that weren’t enough, the entire Bootleg Series, now numbered up to 9, most of which are multiple CD collections, is fantastic, bringing the total number of Bob Dylan albums worthy of devoted attention, including the four from this past decade, to 31!

December 8, 2010

Diabetes Data

Filed under: Healthcare — Steve Krupa @ 5:17 pm
Tags:

I have been looking at Diabetes data lately and thought I would share with you some of the more interesting statistics, coming from multiple sources, but still underscoring the phenomenon that we are on the front end of a diabetes epidemic in the US.

Like the rolling credits at the end of a film, here we go.

  • By 2020 an estimated 52% of the adult population of the US will be either Diabetic or Pre-Diabetic.
% Adults Diabetic Pre-Diabetic Total
Today 12% 28% 40%
2020 15% 37% 52%
  • Health spending on Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes costs about $194 billion today (around 7% of total healthcare expenditures) and is expected to increase to $500 billion by 2020 (at least 10% of total healthcare expenditures).
  • Most people with Diabetes are diagnosed between 4-7 years after they become diabetic.
  • 90% of pre-Diabetics and 25% of Diabetics are not aware of their condition.
  • Type-2 Diabetes represents 95% of all diagnosed cases.
  • The prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes has tripled since the 1980s (causes are believed to be due to the aging population, the longer lifespan of diabetics, and the increase in the prevalence of obesity)
  • The average annual medical costs for diabetics in commercial insurance plans tends to range from 1.8x-4.7x ($7,800-$20,700) the average annual cost of the remaining members of an insured population (around $4,400).
  • The average cost for diabetes increases significantly (into the 4.7x category) depending on complications, the most common being hypertension, the others being cardiovascular disease, including peripheral artery disease (PAD), and kidney failure.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working age people and a major source of Fetal and Maternal mortality during pregnancy.
  • $1 in $4 Medicare dollars go toward the treatment of Diabetes.
  • Diabetics use 4-6 times more medical services than non-diabetics.
  • Diabetics have an average of 23 contacts/year with physicians.
  • Utilization of physician services by Diabetics is increasing at around 30% per year.

_________________________________________

Thanks to the United Health Center for Health Reform and Modernization and EosHealth, among others, for much of the above data.

November 19, 2010

Favorite Albums of the Decade (2000-2009) – #8 – Arcade Fire – Funeral – 2004

FAD (Casual Fridays) is back with the goal of discussing its final three albums (8, 9, 10) before the New Year (and don’t expect Bob Dylan’s X-mas album to finish the list, b/t/w).

Arcade Fire is one of two super-indie bands hailing, in part at least, from Canada, the other being Broken Social Scene, a band best known for spawning the solo career of Feist (yes the one-two-three-four-tell-me-that-you-love-me-more hot-crumbly voice from past iPod commercial fame).  Unfortunately commercial success is not the unifying element between Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire, massiveness is, as in sound and sometimes members; as in, how to make Indie-music fill every square inch of your brain, as in, there is no way this is a small club band.  Both are super-cool, particularly when they play small clubs, when you can walk from the bar into the live room and feel your hair blow back, like the sedentary audiophile of old Maxell cassette-tape fame.

Indie bands with a big sound demand massive, unforgettable songs, like take-me-to-the-Jersey-shore-for-a-big-enough-hook-I-can’t-forget, big sounds that fill your ears for hours, days even, after their final note.  It’s in this area (unforgettable songs) where Arcade Fire broke away from their indie brethren, delivering song after song to near perfection on their first big time studio effort, Funeral, an exploration of orchestral pop music played up against the lyrically weird awkwardness of being young and confused by the behavior of supposed adult role models.

With Funeral Arcade Fire began their exit from the club scene, probably for good, now using their big sound for evil by filling large arenas (I saw them early this summer at MSG), but no worries, even those shows are about as good as live indie rock can get.

What often distinguishes much of the indie music scene is its unique definition of musicianship.  Unlike some of the older school rock, where musicians dominated their instruments, a la Jimmy Page over his Gibson Les Paul, many indie musicians like to mix it up, interchanging instruments throughout a live performance, a trick captured by Arcade Fire from the wake of bands like Yo La Tengo, You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead and yes, even, Radiohead.  It is a trip to watch the lovely chanteuse Régine Chassagne switch from accordion, to xylophone, to keyboards, to banging it out wildly on the drums, all while delivering haunting backing vocals to the bombastic wails of husband Win Butler, himself a multi-instrumentalist.  Of course, as most musicians will admit, it is one thing to play many instruments, it’s another to master them, and within Arcade Fire’s music you get the feel that they have not so much mastered their instruments, but rather rhythm and orchestration.  This music thrives on beat and ambience as a backdrop to very catchy melodies and songs that are not necessarily structured in a way we would expect, but that are long-lasting nonetheless.  There are few bands that walk the edge between innovative and catchy successfully, but with Funeral, Arcade Fire  does this about as well as any.  It’s memorable, it’s musical and it’s fun, especially if you can remember what it was like to be a simultaneously confused and idealistic teenager.

Notables:

The band is a family affair (like another favorite Kings of Leon). Régine Chassagne (the true Canadian in the band) is married to Win Butler (a Texan), with Win’s brother William included on backing vocals and instruments.

Funeral is the beginning of a run of three great records from the band, the second being Neon Bible and third, the Suburbs, was released this year and is definitely in the running for my favorite album of 2010.

Here’s a video of my favorite track from Funeral, Wake Up, from back in the band’s early days, six years or so ago, when they were shaking up the clubs.  Stay with it – the last minute and a half offers a nice surprise and illustrates one of Arcade Fire’s pop tricks… I love it!

Somethin’ filled up
my heart with nothin’,
someone told me not to cry.

But now that I’m older,
my heart’s colder,
and I can see that it’s a lie.

Children wake up,
hold your mistake up,
before they turn the summer into dust.

If the children don’t grow up,
our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up.
We’re just a million little gods causin’ rain storms turnin’ every good thing to
rust.

I guess we’ll just have to adjust.

With my lightnin’ bolts a glowin’
I can see where I am goin’ to be
when the reaper he reaches and touches my hand.

With my lightnin’ bolts a glowin’
I can see where I am goin’
With my lightnin’ bolts a glowin’
I can see where I am, go-go, where I am

You’d better look out below

November 17, 2010

“Mayhem” – How Much of Health Insurance is Insurance?

Filed under: Healthcare — Steve Krupa @ 12:12 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Do you know Mayhem?

He’s a new character played by Dean Winters in a recent run of pretty-damn-funny Allstate commercials.  Check this one out (< 30 seconds).

You see, before you (the driver) caught sight of the hot babe in the awesome pink headband you needed adequate property and casualty insurance to protect you from the distraction that caused you to drive into that light pole.  However, in the immediate moment after you drove into that light pole, you did not need insurance, because its cost would have been exactly equal to what you really need, which is a new car.  Insurance is valuable to you before you run into Mayhem when its price (the insurance premium) is considerably less than the consequences of Mayhem, or in this case, the cost of a new car.

The cost of insurance is much less than the cost of Mayhem because of pooled risk.  Lots of other easily distracted drivers bought car insurance too but most of them managed to veer away from the light pole at the last-minute, avoiding damage, thus providing you with a pool of funding to buy a replacement car after the accident.  Pooling the risk of low-probability high-cost events makes insurance a very valuable product for all purchasers in their effort to protect themselves against Mayhem.

In the health insurance market Mayhem represents the possibility we might get sick, which we know can be very costly.  Very good drivers can drive into light poles.  Similarly very healthy people can require health insurance to pay for unexpected costly medical procedures.  But either way, the fact that the costs are unexpected makes an event insurable at a price significantly less than the cost of the event.

Someone who is sick and is not insured does not need health insurance; they need to be provided with healthcare.  Including someone who is already sick in an insurance pool is the same as including you in an automobile insurance pool after you drove into the light pole.  The event is no longer unexpected, and so your individual premium, which is the cost of your new car, will be spread among the members of the insurance pool, the economic equivalent of your passing a hat around and collecting enough money to pay for your car – in this instance you are not being insured, you are being subsidized.

A type II diabetic with health insurance that covers the costs associated with diabetes is being both insured for the incidence of diseases other than diabetes and subsidized for the known costs associated with diabetes.

Continuing with our property and casualty analogy, consider flood insurance.  There is a much higher probability of Mayhem occurring at a property located on a riverfront than for a property located on a hilltop miles from the water, and, as such, it costs much more to purchase flood insurance for riverfront property.  I wonder, is this fair?  Would we all stand up for a homeowner’s right to live by the river and insist that the unit price for all property insurance be the same regardless of where the property is located?  If we did the cost to insure waterfront property would reduce and the cost to insure the hilltop property would increase, effectively subsidizing riverfront home ownership.  Now, is that fair?  If we were to subsidize anything shouldn’t we instead subsidize safe behavior, a la, living away from water and well above sea level?

A seemingly healthy person with an unhealthy lifestyle that receives health insurance at the same price as people with healthier lifestyles, as is typical in most Group Health insurance models, is being subsidized for the higher probability of Mayhem.

Insurance markets, left to their own devices, are awesome at pricing risk and incentivizing safe behavior (we all know your premium is going up after you file your auto insurance claim for driving into that light pole).  However they (insurance markets) don’t handle subsidization well at all.  If subsidization is going to be required, then it must be structured by forces outside of the insurance market.

The Group Model of health insurance, which is used in the market for corporate-based insurance, is one such structure.  If you work for a corporation and you are receiving a health insurance benefit from your company, you most likely pay the same per member cost as everyone else at your company.  This is done by pooling both the risks and the subsidies.

Clearly the pooling of subsidies creates fertile ground for Moral Hazard, a phenomenon discussed frequently here, but curiously left out of much of the discussion regarding the problems of health insurance, particularly when the subject is healthcare reform.  Healthcare reform claims to be insurance reform, but in fact insurance is insurance – if you have a pre-existing condition you cannot be insured for it because it is already there (your car has hit the light pole).  At the public policy level “healthcare insurance reform” as it is defined within PPACA, is the regulation of the portion of health insurance that represents subsidies and their funding.

All other things equal, an increase in the probability of Mayhem (more unhealthy people) and the expansion of subsidies into the insurance pool (the insuring of more sick people) will cause proportionate increases in health insurance premiums.  On this basis alone, the provisions of the health reform bill are unquestionably inflationary w/r/t insurance premiums.  Count on it.

As a greater portion of insurance premiums represent subsidy, the role of the health insurer has to change from one of underwriting risk, i.e., pricing the probability of Mayhem, to managing risk, i.e., working to reduce the cost of known conditions within the insurance/subsidy pool, the latter requiring a substantially different set of skills than the former.  This transformation of the health insurance industry was already under way prior to the passage of PPACA (our healthcare reform law), as corporations began requiring risk management programs from their insurance companies.  Without this transformation, healthcare inflation is destined to sustain at its current levels, probably for eternity, or at least until the increases in the prevalence of chronic illnesses and the probability of Mayhem achieve some steady state, which with the baby-boomers now reaching 65 years-old will not occur anytime soon.  Regardless of who “pays” for the insurance/subsidies the costs of healthcare are going up, up, up, until the system shifts toward a structure where patients, payers and providers are economically accountable for managing risk.

September 24, 2010

Talkin’ Health Insurance Rate Increase Blues

 A super-enormous spending bill gets press attention, so I’ve been talking with the media these days (1) regarding recent health insurance premium rate increases following the enactment of health reform, which is estimated to cost approximately $250 billion per year once fully realized.  While rate increases by Aetna and certain Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans correlate with the recent passage of health reform, it is hard to believe health reform is the cause, at least not entirely.  The fact is that health insurers have been raising premiums at hard-to-believe rates for well over a decade.  The primary cause then and now is runaway healthcare inflation.  It is true that for the most part insurers, like any other business, look to maximize profits, but most markets for health insurance are extremely price competitive.  Generally it is the increase in expected medical expenses that drive rate increases, and unfortunately demand for medical care has been increasing at approximately 3x the rate of general inflation.  From what I can tell this will continue forever until fundamental structures in the healthcare system change, so expect ongoing rate increases from insurers to persist, despite the political pressure.

A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, while subtle in its presentation, is astounding in its exposition of runaway medical inflation’s impact on health insurance premiums.  Take a look at the charts below.

       

Compounded Annual Growth

   

Absolute 10 Year Growth

Total Health Insurance Premiums   7.8%   114%
Employee Contribution to Insurance Premium   9.5%   147%
Employer Contribution to Insurance Premium   7.3%   103%
US Inflation   2.4%   26.8%
US Real GDP (2000-2009)   1.6%   15.3%

From just this small amount of data it is clear that health insurance premiums have been sky rocketing for almost two decades.  US inflation averaged 2.4% per year, while health insurance inflation has averaged 7.8% per year, with the brunt of this premium increase being absorbed by employees at an average rate of 9.5% per year.  Wage increases have essentially kept up with inflation, meaning the annual disposable income of the average insured family, in real terms, was reduced by nearly $2,000 over the past decade as a result of medical inflation.  W/r/t employers, their bills rose at 7.8%, about 3.25x their ability to raise prices.  Result: employees and shareholders are getting squeezed.

Why so much medical inflation?

There are lots of little reasons that emanate from one major trend: we (the US and its medical profession) keep getting better and better at keeping people alive.

There are many definitions of the word “doctor,” the most relevant to understanding medical inflation being (from MWD – free version):

Doctor : (n) a person who restores, repairs, or fine-tunes things

Today there are an astounding number of ways to restore, repair and fine-tune humans. “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning” is all but gone.  We now understand thousands of causes of the headache, from too much protein in the diet, to brain tumors, to meningitis, to stress, to something called Syringomyelia ($1 to the first reader that knows what this is, and no fair if you are Neurologist), and so on. 

We now know so much that we are increasing exponentially the things that doctors can restore, repair and fine-tune, creating treatments for ailments, many of which were once life-threatening that are now survived regularly, leaving us with an older and sicker population that costs more and more to fine-tune every year.  In short, much of our medical inflation is a symptom of our amazing technology and our wealth.  Modern medicine, while an awesome exposition of human inventiveness, is slowly and steadily eating away at the more productive sectors of our economy that created the means for such inventiveness in the first place.

Will it end?

If the “it” is invention, the answer is clearly no.  We will forever be extending our life expectancy and reducing the health and fitness levels necessary to achieve it.  Medical invention will not be stopped.

If the “it” is medical inflation, the answer is not anytime soon.

Much of the healthcare chat on this blog, and that of my business partner Lisa Suennen, involves the many structural changes that must take place within the healthcare economy in order for medical inflation to come under control without the government resorting to over-reaching measures like rationing of care and reimbursement controls.  Many changes are underway, and everyday we meet new companies designing new systems and technologies created to both reduce healthcare costs and improve quality.  Unfortunately it will be many years, perhaps decades before the healthcare system begins to function primarily around a cost/quality paradigm.  I would look for measureable changes in the following areas before expecting any meaningful downward shift in the medical inflation trends:

  1. Patients evolve toward more active, cost and quality conscience consumers of healthcare and health insurance.
  2. Insurers evolve to managers of health risk rather than pure underwriters.
  3. Providers evolve their business models from a strict fee-for-service reimbursement model to a more pay-for-performance model, like most advanced industries (will doctors offer one-year warranties? – why not?).

 Such an evolution spawns subsets of ideas like wellness, care management, value-based health insurance, healthcare information exchanges, insurance exchanges, provider pricing based on quality scoring, telemedicine, and on and on.  I have been and will be discussing them all with the understanding that without meaningful progress medical inflation is here to stay.  Expect it (healthcare inflation) to continue at about 8%, so in 5 years our average family will cost about $20,000 or more a year to insure.

 ___________________________________

 (1) Here are a couple of links.  First an brief piece on medical inflation from TheStreet.com along with a podcast interview (download the podcast titled “Best (and Worst) Bonds, Insurers and Obama, Gold’s Rush” – my segment comes in around the 23:00 mark).

« Previous PageNext Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.