#5SmartReads - January 23, 2023
Hitha on insulin in America, Bling Empire: New York, and Lunar New Year
This is one of the best explainers of why insulin is so expensive in America. It really comes down to this:
“Under the standard rules of capitalism, the three main manufacturers of insulin would be expected to compete and push prices down. But the companies actually "price-shadow" their products, raising prices in unison.
Pharmacy benefit managers play a unique and somewhat cryptic role in the cost of insulin. PBMs initially started out doing a specific task: handling the nitty gritty of processing and adjudicating prescription claims that insurance companies and large employers were only too eager to farm out. Their remit has expanded and they now create the formularies that dictate which medications an individual's insurance will cover”
We don’t have to live like this - under a constant barrage of gun violence, lifesaving medications being so expensive that people are rationing it, and with clean water and air being a luxury and not a right.
I’m following’s lead on that fight part.
It’s rare that a reality show centered on people with immense privilege and wealth is described as vulnerable.
But that’s how this review describes Bling Empire: New York - and it’s definitely piqued my interest.
Naturally, many experiences on the show are the furthest thing from relatable (spending tens of thousands on a shopping spree, whisking a burned out and sad friend on a vacation to the Bahamas, sitting front row at the couture shows.
I’ve found myself more drawn to Netflix’s unscripted shows over other networks for the double whammy of wealth and relatability that drew me into Selling Sunset, Indian Matchmaking, and My Unorthodox Life. And from this section of the review, that’s exactly what this series delivers:
“The Los Angeles version of the show saw cast members speaking candidly about issues around infertility, the struggles of identity when you’re adopted, and making it in the big city. Those are also very real and important issues as well, but something feels different about the way Wang and the NYC cast reveal themselves, to both each other and the audience. Part of it may be chalked up to the very visceral and not at all scientific feeling that the people we’re watching are actually friends and actually care about one another — at least in the context of a semi-scripted reality TV show.”
While I am still loving the humor of EggTok, I would’ve thought that eggs prices would be fairly recession or inflation-proof. And they are - when the number of hens remains steady. But when an avian influenza outbreak takes out a significant part of the hen population, it’ll affect the supply of eggs (and subsequently, the prices).
I love a nerdy economic breakdown, and this one is really smart and breaks down some of the egg-specific factors (avian flu, state regulations for egg sales, etc) that affect both prices and availability of eggs throughout the country.
The hold that the promise of a new journal or planner has on me is strong.
But maybe it’s not about the specific book itself, as Mia Brabham explains, but how you use those pages.
I’m familiar with dream journals, gratitude journaling, and the bullet journal methods, but I learned a few different journaling practices in this smart piece. I’m still very much loving my Five Minute Journal every morning and evening for gratitude journaling, and the Full Focus pocket planner (the endless options of bullet journaling has me experimenting with different spreads more than actually staying on task).
If you want to be a journaling person, give this a read. It’s got some smart advice.
The tragic and horrific shooting in Monterey Park is weighing heavily on my heart, especially as it happened on the eve of Lunar New Year.
We don’t have to live like this, and I’ll encourage you to follow my wise friend Emily for how to work for the country we aspire to be.
But I want to keep the focus on Lunar New Year, a holiday so much of the world is celebrating. And the Grant Avenue Follies are celebrating with swag.
These Follies are no tap-dancing troupe - rather, they’re an elder and wiser (aged between 61-87) group of talented rappers who collaborated with Jason Chu on That Lunar Cheer:
Happy Lunar New Year, to all who celebrate! We wish you a very happy Year of the Rabbit or Cat (the latter for my Vietnamese friends).