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CWAA: No Interference Calls Here

February 7, 2016

Super Bowl 50 has turned San Francisco into a bit of a zoo, with crowds almost everywhere downtown. Businesses that are normally closed during the weekend have opened, and lost tourists stare at maps on every street corner.image

As season ticket holders, my wife and I were in town for the SF Ballet on Saturday.  During intermission the lady seated to my right introduced herself, telling me she was indeed another visitor to our city.

The New Mexico native explained that she was enjoying her Christmas present from her husband: a weekend in San Francisco. She chose the weekend and it wasn’t until she arrived that she found out why she had such a problem finding a hotel room.

She was good natured about it, saying they arrived Thursday night and had already been to the Symphony once and we’re going again after the ballet, and also went to a concert at the Jazz Society and we’re headed to the Palace of Fine Art before dinner at Greens, a favorite vegetarian restaurant at Fort Mason.

A rather dizzying pace, but she asked if we had any other suggestions so I told her about several neighborhoods worth visiting via public transportation and suggested Golden Gate Park Arboretum was a ‘must see’ for a little relaxation.

When I asked her about the crowds she replied, “there are none.”

I guess the Super Bowl fans are more interested in the fake Super Bowl City hawking NFL merchandise, than any local culture offered by our City by the Bay. I wonder how many visitors will return home and tell their friends what a great time they had ‘seeing’ San Francisco.

But, we can all agree, at least one visitor enjoyed the real deal.

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The View from Here

May 30, 2015

Over the 15 years we’ve lived in our home here in the Berkeley Hills, we’ve been witness to a number of stunning views from our back deck.

I thought you might enjoy a look:

No dates, no times, just random scenes over the last few years.

Clouds make The City

Clouds make The City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fog creeps in

The fog creeps in

 

 

Our Golden Gate

Our Golden Gate

Summer sunset

Summer sunset

 

 

A sky ablaze

A sky ablaze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watching over us all

Watching over us all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Weil Loses His Way

November 20, 2012

Dr. Andrew Weil’s latest book tour stopped in San Francisco  last week. He’s on the road to promote his latest literary effort, a cookbook  – True Food – based on recipes he cooks at home and are served in his emerging restaurant chain.

Dr. Weil and a fan at his recent lecture and book signing event in San Francisco.

As part of his Weil Lifestyle campaign the book purports to establish a new healthy lifestyle and healthier recipes while rebutting the myth that ‘health food’ has to be  bland or worse.

Dr. Weil was interviewed at Herbst Theater by fellow cookbook author Molly Katzen who spent an hour fawning of the integrative health guru while leaving it to the audience to ask  controversial questions. Dr. Weil’s book offers recipes based on his own food pyramid which, while different from the hated FDA guide, leaves out very few foods that have led to the United States obesity epidemic.

In fact , Dr. Weil probably is a pretty good representative of the US population since he clearly doesn’t skimp on any meals. A doctor approaching obesity levels may not be the best spokesman for a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Weil said he was also scouting sites for a new restaurant – one featuring good healthfood similar to the locations in Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix. The fact that the Bay Area has been a leader in the trend Dr. Weil promotes doesn’t seem to rate a mention even though places such as Cafe Gratitude, Planet Organic or Gather are way ahead of the good doctor.

Dr. Weil was asked about supplements and admitted that, aside from a daily multi-vitamin, most folks can get all the nutrition they need from a healthy diet. This does seem to question the range of supplements marketed and sold by Dr. Weil on his own website.

Dr. Weil also took a minute to chastise the assembled group for the failure of Proposition 37 the GMO labeling question of the November ballot. “How you could let that fail?” has asked.

No one rose to answer, but I would note there were several folks in the room who had worked very hard to get the proposal on the ballot and promote it’s passage. No doubt a few of them were a bit insulted that someone from  Arizona, who did nothing to oppose the $50 million ad campaign put on by the Monsanto and Dow, would criticize their efforts.

Dr. Weil clearly does not oppose GMO food, preferring to wait for more evidence before branding it unhealthy. Of course, some folks would rather that it get proven healthy before allowing it in the food chain.

I’m afraid Dr. Weil has lost his way by promoting a food pyramid that would do little to improve the health of most Americans, selling suplements that he admits are mostly unnecessary and declining to oppose foods that have been shown to be unhealthy.

I’m sure it will do little to hurt his image or  his income.

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Outsourcing Realities

August 19, 2011

I’ve decided to keep an ‘outsourcing scorecard’ just to keep track of what direction the jobs are moving in the new world economy. I started about three weeks ago and so far the tally is 2-1 in favor of ‘offshore.’

The real surprise, I guess, is that there is any movement at all back to the United States.

I have several different jobs so I come in contact with outsourcing in several areas. I am a coach who does a fair amount of job counseling, plus I do business consulting for small firms, and I also work in health care dealing with insurers and doctors in the California Workers Compensation system.

The first score on my outsourcing scorecard, came two weeks ago when I got a call from a nurse case manager who was overseeing the care of a patient in the Bay Area. (Overseeing is the insurance company translation for making sure they are not spending too much of the insurer’s money)

That aside, she asked about the patient’s status but when the phone line kept breaking up, I finally asked where she was calling from. She said, rather matter-of-factly, The Philippines. I have no problem with the Philippines, or their residents, but the thought of a nurse checking on a patient’s condition and trying to assess care from 7,764 miles away, bothered me, so I told her to have someone in the United States call, I would be happy to discuss the case.

Last week, I called United Airlines at about 11:00 p.m. to check on a reservation I had made for my 91-year-old dad. I went through the normal phone tree and finally reached an operator and got the answer to my question. I was about to hang up when I realized that for the first time in over 25 years of dealing with United, I was not talking to someone in India.

I asked the agent and I could  almost hear the smile in her voice as she pointed out, “Well, United and Continental are now merged and the new CEO is from Continental, and he does not believe in outsourcing.”

I have been complaining about the call center in India for, well, forever, and I told her I was delighted to be speaking to someone in Chicago. Go Cubbies.

Score one for U.S.A.

Finally, this week, I was called from a local doctor’s office in the Bay Area about a patient they were referring to my wife, who is a psychologist specializing in pain management. They wanted to know if we had all the pages they faxed. I had to check so I got her call-back number which ended in a 5-digit extension, which I thought was a bit odd for a relatively small practice.

You guessed it, when I called back I was talking some an ’employee’ in the Phillipines working for a company that provides back-office services to doctors.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Everyone is trying to cut expenses in the medical field, but I can’t help but wonder, how long it will be until a medical office is just one doctor and one receptionist and everone else is thousands of miles away.

Of course, the next step is that everyone is thousands of miles away and the doctor is an avatar in front of a computer.

 

 

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Moon over San Francisco

October 9, 2010

Filed under: observations,Photos — Tags: , — admin @ 6:26 pm

Ok, last night you looked at Yosemite. Tonight it’s San Francisco Bay at sunset, from my back porch. Those are the towers from the Golden Gate Bridge you’re looking at.

Moon over SF bay

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