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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

SCAMS


SCAMS


Warning this will be a cranky rant.

Begin rant:

I hate scams.  I hate scammers even more.  Especially semi-legal loophole crap scams run by thieving momma-flipping son’s or daughters of bitches, pieces of excrement…ok, SHIT scammers!

Do I feel strongly about this?  Why yes, I do.

Do I dislike people who ask themselves a question and then answer it? Why most of the time, yes, I do. I apologize.

The scams that really stick in my craw are the “insurance” scams meant to scare the crap out of old and stupid people.

The insurance policy or “protection plan” guarantees any bad thing will be reconciled at no cost if you pay for protection now.  It works by first scaring the person as to what could happen, and then subliminally planting in your head that if you do not pay for protection, the bad shit WILL happen!

Por exemplum (“for instance” to you non-high school Latin taking children of the 50’s and 60’s):

Last month I bought an electronic drum set for Mrs. C.  I was offered an extended warranty to cover a defective modulative-frammingham and other parts.  I was warned the modulative-frammingham could cost up to $250 to replace, almost as much as the cost of the drum set.  The extended warranty cost $70 and was good for life.  They did not say whose life; mine, the drum set, my wife’s, or the company issuing the warranty.

I declined.

I recently leased a new car and was offered an extended warranty to cover the expense of a starter fob for these new fancy keyless entry and starting cars.  The new fob could cost $400, the warranty only $80.

I have owned cars for 62 years and never lost a key, plus they give you a spare!

My pat reply to these warranty requests is that I self-insure and put their suggested charge amount into my own separate bank account which is now up to $12,785 saved by avoiding these warranties. 

Of course, that is a lie, but it does stop a sales pitch in its tracks.

The catalyst to this tirade is a mailing I received just the other day.


It came from “AA – Vehicle Notification Department” from 6400 Pinecrest Drive, Suite #400 Plano Tx.”

The notice was dated 080418, It was received 082618.

It seemed to suggest that if I did not a call them and act really fast, I would be screwed!

“Your vehicle /make/model: CALL TO VERIFY” There was an official looking code number, a comment COVERAGE AVAILABLE with an expiration date 082718.

“CALL NO LATER THAN 082718”.  (I am going to take a wild guess that if I called on August 28 it would not really be too late.)
Example of what your auto repair cost might be...interestingly they specify, "example only, do not send payment"  Pretty much lets you know they don't think they are sending this to people who are the sharpest tools in the shed.


I was initially scared shitless as I did not think I had enough time to make sure I did not miss out on this coverage for my CALL TO VERIFY automobile.  They did not seem to know the year of my CALL TO VERIFY auto.

Further reading of the really fine print (needed a magnification glass) did vaguely call this an advertisement.

I called, on Sunday night after 9 PM and sure enough was answered by a highly trained auto insurance consultant who was prepared to sell me a great deal to protect my CALL TO VERIFY automobile.

I screwed around with the lady for a while asking about coverage for my 1927 Hupmobile.  I quickly tired and felt a little sorry for this lady who makes a living ripping people off on car coverage they do not need and who probably would have trouble collecting from the “AA – Vehicle Notification Department” from 6400 Pinecrest Drive, Suite #400 Plano Tx.” If they did have a car problem.

I have more respect for the thief that sticks a gun in your back and just -steals your wallet than I do for these under-the-rock-dwelling-crooks who stay one slimy step ahead of the law scaring people out of their hard-earned cash.

Rot in HELL, and while I’m at it, GO FUCK YOURSELF!!  “AA – Vehicle Notification Department” from 6400 Pinecrest Drive, Suite #400 Plano TX.”

End rant.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

STUPID HEADLINE 082618


STUPID HEADLINE 082618
Maybe a politician can figure it out
Back by popular demand (my brother said he liked them), stupid headlines of the week and my even stupider sometimes sophomoric comments


Teen gets head stuck in exhaust pipe at country music festival – I’ve always thought country music makes your brain shrink.
Judge says serving powdered milk to prisoners is not, in fact, cruel punishmentExcept when you are not allowed to mix it with water.

Survey says America's favorite vegetable is broccoli – Is this the same survey that said Clinton would win?

'Pregnant' male models steal the show at London Fashion Week – And also at Ripley’s.

Are windowless planes the future of travel? – Have they asked pilots about this idea?

Colombians urged to stop having sex because it's too damn hot – Is it ok for fat and ugly Columbians?

Beer delivery men save the life of potential bridge jumper – “Wait, don’t jump…WE HAVE BEER!”

Mexico City bans use of attractive models during city events – “We the jury find the accused not guilty by reason of ‘she ugly!’”

North Carolina mom in 'disbelief' after son, 10, punished for calling teacher 'ma'am' – In the school’s defense, the teacher, Mr. Andrews, asked to be addressed as ‘Sir’ several times.

MIT develops wireless system to let subs communicate with planes – The old wire to wire hook-up worked ok for communication, but the subs had issues trying to keep up with the planes.

Democrats strip power away from super-delegates – They are now called mediocre-delegates

Good News Story of the Week:

Sea Urchins Save Coral Reefs – I love a good sea urchin story, almost as much as a good dog saving story.


  



 




Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Sweet Shop


The Sweet Shop
When I was a young man I had almost 23 thousand cavities.  Part of that were dentists who could not tell the deference between an indentation in a tooth and a real cavity.  Just to be sure they drilled and filled.  The other reason for all my cavities was the Sweet Shop.

Every town had a sweet shop.  Every kid spent time at the sweet shop.  There were sodas. Comic books and candy.  Lots of candy.  I’m sure much of that candy is still around, just not in the same kind of knock yourself out with sugar as the sweet shop venue of my youth. 

If you found a quarter on the street on the way to school, you would end up in the sweet shop after school.  It was not uncommon to find an occasional quarter.  A quarter would get you a sleeve of bazooka bubble gum complete with a comic, a Hershey bar, a pack of nickel nips and a comic book. 

If you find a quarter today on the way to school you have found only one fifth of a decent candy bar.  Today you almost never find four dollars and seventy-five cents laying around in the street, probably why kids don’t go to a sweet shop today, and why there are no more sweet shops in every town.

Inflation killed the sweet shop.

If inflation had not killed the sweet shop, politicians would have done it instead.  If we can’t have plastic straws or soda with our happy meal, I’m pretty sure the sweet shop would have been outlawed.

Probably a good thing, all that candy and sugar is not a good thing especially for a growing child with a mouth full of brand new teeth.

Still I have fond memories of the sugar poison we found at the sweet shop. 

Lik-M-Ade…a powder that you added to water to make a delicious sweet drink, except we never added it to water, we just licked the powder straight.

Nik-l-nips…sweet syrup in wax bottles that were made to add to water and make a sweet drink, only we just sucked down the syrup much like we licked the Lik-M-Ade powder.  Some people even ate the wax…eww...I had standards.

There was chocolate, Hershey’s, Nestles, in various bars, M and M’s, and the greatest bar of all…Chunky, WHAT A CHUNK OF CHOCKOLATE!

There was licorice whips, Good and Plenty, Dominoes Turkish Taffy, jelly beans, Tootsie Rolls and of course, Cracker Jacks…ALL IN ONE PLACE!  Does anyone remember Chuckles, Bit-O-Honey, Black Jack gum, Raisonettes, Goobers, Red Hots, Ju Ju Bees, and don’t forget the very refreshing Jr. Mint? 

I assume some of these are still around but you don’t buy them at a good old fashion Sweet Shop.  You could also get sodas at the sweet shop.  You did not just get a coke, you added a shot of syrup and had a Cherry Coke.  Ever had a Lime Ricky?  An Egg Cream*?...Yum!

Also at the sweet shop we would pick up a pack or two of Topps baseball cards.  For a nickel you got five baseball cards, mostly players from the Philly’s or Cincinnati that we used for flipping and trading.  Occasionally you found a Yankee or a Dodger or a Giant, that was like hitting the jackpot.  There was also a slab of gum which smelled really great, but tasted like cardboard. 

The sweet shop was not only where we nurtured bad teeth, it is where we hung out, argued about the best sports team and considered fraternizing with that other gender which was becoming less annoying and more intriguing.

Growing up we didn’t have video games, or social media, but dammit, we had The Sweet Shop, and that was pretty great.


*Did not have an egg, was originally echt creem, from echt, Jewish or German for real.




Thursday, August 23, 2018

Identity Theft


Identity Theft

“Good morning, this is Blah, blah, Bla and Bla how may I help you?”

“Yes, I am calling about the sixty-five-cent piece of crap I ordered from you last week, I am wondering when I might expect delivery.”

“Certainly, I will first need a little information.  Your full name, address, birth date and social security number so we can authenticate your order.”

How often in your life does this happen?  You visit a doctor, you order a prescription, you renew your license, you make a reservation, you buy gum…everyone wants you name, address, birthdate and social security number.  You give it because you need to see the doctor, need the prescription, have to have a license, or dammit, you just want some gum!

However, what are you constantly warned about in order to avoid identity theft?

Do not give anyone you name, address, birthdate and social security number as with that information a thief can steal your money, get phony credit cards in your name, ruin your credit, and leave you homeless.

In this age of technology, we are told that our fingerprints are unique and cannot be counterfeited.  Our voice print is unique and cannot be duplicated.  Our DNA is unique and cannot be reproduced.  Why can’t we get things done without giving our personal information to everyone and their great Aunt Tilly in order to exist in the world?  Why can’t we be identified by means that is proven to be unique, safe and secure?

If I need to see a doctor, get a prescription, get a license or buy some gum, you shouldn’t need my name, address, birthdate or social security number.  I should be able to confirm my identity by pressing my thumb on a pad, speaking into a mike, or spitting into a cup.

“I’d like a pack of Dentine please.”

“Certainly, could you just spit in this cup?”

“Sure, Chaa-cha spa-too.”

“Thank you, Mr. Hagy, here you are, that will be a dollar twenty-five.”

“Sure, now could you please just press your thumb on my phone app as my receipt?... Thank you, Miss Jones.”

Easy-peasy!

You all have a nice identity-theft-less day now.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Old People


Old People

There are several stages in one’s life with regards to new stuff:

1.     The first stage is excitement.  Brand new stuff makes you very excited and you cannot wait to use it.  (Toddler to teens)


2.     New stuff is intriguing.  You have to give it a try.  (Old enough to know everything)


3.     You desperately want new technology because all your friends have it. (Young adult)


4.     You need new technology for work, or to just fit in with your peers. (Middle-age)


5.     You like new stuff, but you can live with it or without it.  (Passing fifty)


6.     You are forced to use new technology because old technology is no longer supported.  (Almost retired)


7.     You don’t need or use new technology.  (You are retired)


8.     You not only don’t use it, new technology actually makes you angry, people should not even mention it in your presence.  (Old Coot)


I love old people, I really do, after all, I am one.  Part of being old is being set in our ways. 

I remember trying to convince my mom into trying new technology.  New technology then was like cable TV, or power anything in a car, or touch-tone phone, or a microwave.

“What? Why would I ever pay for TV?”

“Why would I pay extra to not have to turn a crank?”

“How much time do I save over a rotary dial?  I should pay for that?”

“A regular oven works just fine, and I don’t think food would taste as good with a microwave!” Well she was right about the taste thing.

Old people don’t need new stuff that helps them do things faster or easier…they’ve gotten on just fine without that new-fangled stuff.  At some point, old people just get worn out relearning better ways to do stuff that they never knew they needed to do better.

I get it.  I feel that way about new stuff too.  When my son starts explaining his internet music or how to operate his TV, my eyes just gloss over… “What do I need that for?”  “Why would I pay for that?”

OMG, I am becoming my mom!

I do like some new technology, and I understand if old people do not, but what I really love about old people, is when old people get angry about new stuff.

“Facebook?  I don’t do that face thing, who needs it, it is just full of trash and nonsense!”

Yes, but if you use it correctly it also has pictures and messages from friends and family and especially grandchildren!

“Smart phone?  Don’t need it, don’t want it, I don’t want people bothering me all the time!”

I can’t leave the house without my i-phone.  Of course, I don’t have an iPod or music on my phone, I have those new-fangled CD’s, why do I need anything else?

I don’t tweet or Pinter, download or app.  I have an i-phone, a PC, cable TV and a Kindle and that is where I draw the line.  I think I have reached overload.  What do I need new stuff for?  Why would I pay for something I don’t really need?  I’m fine with the stuff I have.  Change pisses me off.

Don’t even mention anything new, I am approaching stage 8, and heading for Old Coot designation.



Thursday, August 16, 2018

Cell Phone Frustration


Cell Phone Frustration

No doubt that cell phones are one of the greatest inventions ever.  They are of course more than phones, they are computers, calculators cameras and stuff that I am too old and dumb to care to figure out.

Without all the other functions, just a phone that you can carry with you everywhere is a tremendous invention.

Being able to call at any time from anywhere for directions, ask a quick question, confirm an appointment etc. is terrific.  The cell phone is, however, not without frustrations.

The fact that everyone knows you always have it in your possession, means it is impossible to tactfully avoid someone you don’t want to talk to.

The flip side of not being able to avoid someone is when you need to talk to someone and they do not pick up. 

Come on people, pick up…we know you always have the phone handy, what is going on?

This seems to happen to me all the time.  I get a text from Mrs. C and I need to call back to confirm I received it.

“The person you called at number 555-5566, is not available please leave a message after the beep.”

WTF!!! I know you have the phone with you, you just sent me a text! 

So, I call back rather than leaving a message.

“The person you called at number 555-5566, is not available please leave a message after the beep.”

CRAP!!

This goes on for like ten minutes before she finally answers, and in unison:

“Where were you, I have been calling and calling?”

“Where were you, I have been calling and calling?”

In unison:

“I have been calling and calling you…WTF!!”

“I have been calling and calling you…WTF!!”

“Stop!  What are you calling for?”

“What?”

“Why were you trying to call me?”

“I forget, why were you trying to call me?”

“To see if you got my text.”

“Now I remember, I was going to let you know I got your text.”

“Why didn’t you just send me a text that you got my text?”

“I don’t trust a text, why would you send me a text and then call to confirm I got it?”

“I don’t trust them either.”

It is possible that as much as I like new technology*, I might not be totally prepared to use it correctly.

*Yes, cell phones will always seem like new technology to me.


Swimming pool update:

I went to our pool today for the first time in a week as the weather has not been good.  There was only one life guard and she was not the same one as last week who told Mrs. C she could not use the deep end if there was only one guard.  I jumped in the deep end and was not told I could not.

Yes, I was a little disappointed, I kind of wanted to unload on the stupidity of that made-up rule.  I wanted to be a rebel.  Damn!

BTW, I had not been to the pool in a long time and had not realized that the deep end is only 5 foot deep.  Standing flat footed in the pool the water only comes up to my shoulders…our pool HAS NO DEEP END!!!




Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Incompatible in Bed


Incompatible in Bed
Artist rendering only

My wife and I are incompatible in bed.  That’s right, I said it, and it is a big problem.  It is a source of constant arguments.  I want it my way, she has another idea.  There does not seem to be a solution.

In the winter it is not as serious.  I like a window open for fresh air and to keep cool, she can counter-act this by simply adding additional blankets on her side of the bed to reach her preferred temperature.

In the summer it is not so easy.  Adjusting the air conditioner temperature does not choose sides of the bed and that is where our incompatibility hits the fan.

Mrs. C tends to be cold when sleeping, I tend to overheat…What did you think I was talking about?

That’s right, you more seasoned readers knew exactly, I think it is a common bed time problem for opposing genders as their bodies go through age related changes.

Mrs. C likes the night time room temperature around 78 degrees, I think she is cold blooded.  She will even jab me with her feet to show me how cold they are…Yikes!
 
“It’s freezing in here, what did you turn the air to?”

She caught me again.  I usually turn the air down to 72 and then adjust it when she calls to tell me she is coming home from work…sometimes I forget.

“It’s hot as Hades in here.”

“No, it is not, you just have a f***ed up internal thermostat!”

“No, you have lizard blood, you are always freezing.  You should sleep in the sun on a rock!”

“Very funny, now go turn the air up to a respectable 76 degrees.”

“Seventy-six?”

“Yes, we can compromise.”

“I want 72, you want 78, how is 76 a compromise?”

“It is a compromise because that is as low as I am willing to let the temperature be set.”

“Ok, but I get to turn on the ceiling fan.”

“Fine, but only to level one, not to take-off mode.”

With the fan on and without covers it is almost comfortable enough for me to sleep, except for the constant complaining from Mrs. C. Then suddenly I feel a cooling breeze, the fan is turned to high and the covers are kicked off Mrs. C’s side.

“Hot flash?”

“Yup, you better take advantage of it and get to sleep, it may only last ten minutes.”

“Now you know how I feel all the time.”

“Shut up and go to sleep…JERK!”


Monday, August 13, 2018

Stupid Shit




Stupid Shit
I am easily bothered by stupid shit.  Is it just me?  Is that why I am cranky…stupid shit?  Sometimes I stay awake at night bothered by stupid shit.

Lately I am bothered by the Chevy commercials.  I have nothing against Chevys, I am sure they are very nice cars.  What bothers me is this J.D. Powers claim.

“Chevy has won the award as most dependable car by J.D. Powers, three years in a row.”

That is impressive, but who the Hell is J.D. Powers?  How does J.D. Powers make any money just declaring products the “Most Dependable?”  Does J.D. Powers declare all product categories as “Most Dependable?” Do they vote products the “best” the “most attractive” the “most economical” the “most anything” or just the “most dependable”?

There must be close to a jillion different cars, do they really test them all for “most dependable”? How do they determine “most dependable?”  Doesn’t it take years to determine if a car is dependable?

Like if I had a Chevy for three years and it ran just fine and in the fourth year the engine just died, I would  not call it a dependable car.  It would take at least ten years for me to decide if a car was really dependable or not and yet J.D. Powers declares a car as most dependable every year.

“This years most dependable car is Chevy!”  That makes no sense to me.

“The most dependable car for the last ten years was the 2008 Chevy!” That I could understand.

Is it possible that Chevy pays J.D. Powers to declare their car as the “most dependable”?

That would make sense to me and also explain how J.D. Powers stays in business.  Is it like when a product is declared the official product of some organization?  You know, like

“Odor Eaters is the official anti-stink foot product of the Professional Bowlers Tour.”

And what ever happened to the “Good Housekeeping seal of approval”?  Does Good Housekeeping still seal approval on stuff?

Stupid shit, but it bothers me.

I wonder if I could go into the business of declaring stuff dependable, or giving stuff the seal of approval.

“Gold Bond Butt cream has earned the Cranky Old Man seal of approval!”  Would that help sell Gold Bond Butt cream?

“Callaway Golf balls have been declared “Most Dependable” by the Cranky Old Man!”  Would that make golfers run out and buy Callaway golf balls?

Stupid shit, right?

Still if anyone is interested, I am prepared to seal and or declare anything for the right price.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Time For a Tune-up


Time For a Tune-up



Tune-up?  Is this cranky old man out of shape?  Well yes, but the tune-up is not for me.

“But” you ask, “You just turned in your 11-year-old Jeep for a new Honda…surely it does not need a tune-up.” No, not the new car.

My guitar, my precious all mahogany Martin guitar needed a tune-up.  “Tune-up a guitar?” you ask. “Don’t you always have to periodically adjust the tuning?”  Why yes, that is why they have pegs to tighten or loosen the strings to put them in tune, this is a different tune-up.

Several strings on the guitar were buzzing.  Now I am not a skilled musician, I do not play as cleanly as a pro and I have a tin ear, but can hear a buzzing string.  If I fret perfectly, the string should not buzz, especially on a higher end instrument. The buzzing drove me up a wall.

When I put the guitar away in its case with a humidifying device, the buzzing stopped, but if I forgot to put it away for a day or two, the buzzing came back.  I suspected the buzzing was because the guitar neck was affected by low humidity.  Research on the internet confirmed my suspicions.

Adjusting the neck on a Martin guitar requires a special tool.  It also requires some special knowledge and experience.  I have neither, so I took the guitar to a guitar mechanic also called a luthier.

I picked it up today, and the strings do not buzz, the action (playability) is much nicer, and the strings are perfectly in tune whether played open, or the same note fretted.

The luthier advised a guitar needs a tune-up once or twice a year and at least every two years.  My guitar is over two years old.

The luthier is not cheap, worth it, but not cheap.  I intend to buy the special tool, read up on the tune-up process, and practice on one of my less expensive guitars…or maybe just grit my teeth and pay a professional to do it right every other year.  Yeah, that is probably the way to go.  

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Rules run Amuck


                                       Rules run Amuck

                                                

Mrs. C and I live in a townhouse community.  We pay monthly dues of around a billion dollars a month for snow removal, landscaping, outside maintenance to our homes and use of a swimming pool and two tennis courts.

In the ten years I have been here, no one has ever used the tennis courts.  We use the swimming pool about six times a year.

The other day Mrs. C went to the pool.  There was one lifeguard on duty. The pool has two sections, one section is four-foot-deep, the other section is maybe eight foot deep.  Mrs. C likes the eight-foot-deep section, but she does not swim, she does not let her hair get wet.  She either stands where it is only five-foot-deep, or floats on a foam noodle.

When she ventured into the “deep end” the lone guard admonished her that since there was “only” one guard on duty, no one was allowed in the “deep end.”

WTF!

Mrs. C complied but soon came home more than a bit miffed.

This is a small pool.  We are adults.  The only way an adult could be in danger in this pool is if they had a heart attack, or they were drunk and slipped and conked their head before landing in the pool.  Even then, one life guard should be able to drag the body six feet from the middle of the eight-foot-deep pool to safety.

Am I annoyed about this makeshift stupid as all crap rule?

Why yes…yes, I am!

Tomorrow we will be going to the pool.  I don’t really want to go to the pool, but we are going to the pool.  I only hope that the pimply-faced guard tries to tell me to not go into the “deep end” as there is “only” one guard on duty.

I passed my swim test sixty-six years ago, swimming 25 yards and back in a 25-foot-deep lagoon that had one-foot visibility.  I performed my test while my father sat on the back of a boat, cocktail in hand telling me, “I’m pretty sure you can do it!”

And I did.  


I'm pretty sure I can handle an eight foot deep ten foot across swimming pool!

Sixty-six years later, I am not going to let a pimply-faced life guard tell me I can’t swim in the “deep end” of a pool that cost me a billion dollars a month in association dues.

Call the cops, call your supervisor, call the lawyers whom you say made the rule; call who ever you friggin want to call, but you will either get a second guard to make sure I don’t drown, or you will sit your pimply-faced-ass back down in your chair and shut the frig up, cause I am not going to cool my old ass off in the kiddy end of the pool.

Damn I hope there is only one guard, I am really fired up!





Freezer Panic


Freezer Panic



I had a sudden hankering for a grilled cheeseburger tonight.  Looking through the freezer I found tons of stuff that my almost-hoarder-wife just cannot part with.  There were frozen bagels from 1998, multiple boxes of unknown products from Omaha Meats that are at least one year old and containers of frozen bricks of what might be a sauce of some sort.  Some stuff was wrapped in foil, then stuck in a plastic baggy and not labeled. 

I did not find any hamburgers.

I was a little miffed having to unload this Jenga puzzle of frozen crap and still not finding what I wanted.  Somehow, I have to convince Mrs. C that even frozen stuff goes bad after several years.

After shoving all that probably never to be prepared frozen stuff back into the freezer, I trudged outside to the freezer in the garage where I was sure we had hamburgers.

I found the burgers, but they were in the process of thawing.

WTH?

The freezer was not freezing.  Did I panic?  Damn betcha I did, the garage freezer is chock full of steaks, chops, bacon, sausage, and chicken.  All the expensive stuff is kept in the garage freezer while the inside freezer is full of frozen crap.

I know!  That’s what I said.

I removed the expensive stuff in the non-freezing freezer and made room for it in the functioning freezer by dumping frozen crap that based on experience we will never consume.  I didn’t really dump it, God forbid…Mrs. C would have a panic attack.  I jammed some in the fridge and some in the non-freezing freezer.

I also turned the non-freezing freezer temperature control to “Cold as a witch’s tit” and banged the door a few times hoping to…hell, I don’t know, but slamming stuff sometimes is a magic fix.

I grilled my burgers and later went to check on the garage freezer.  Apparently, my technical fix worked, at least for now, so crisis averted.

I do plan to have a talk with Mrs. C when she gets home from work about clearing the freezer of frozen question marks.  

Actually, that’s a bad idea, better to say nothing until she asks,

“Where are my frozen bagels from last decade?”

I may be a jerk, but I'm not stupid.