Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

December 8, 2019
by funny
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One Damnfool Thing after Another

Ohhh dear Lord…what have I done to piss You off this time?

😮

Okay. Last night I made an appointment at the Urgent Care to get the probably-not-broken (I hope) hand X-rayed at 2 p.m., allowing time for choir and the service and for driving back & forth.

This morning when I awaken, the paw is notably swollen — a new development. Though I manage to bring the swelling down with an ice pack, I figure this is a clue to a fractured knuckle or other bone near thereunto. I’m pissed, but glad I’d made the appointment.

Twenty to 10, I hop in the car and head out to the church…

Well…to the end of the driveway.

There, right across the street, is some guy whom I’ve never seen and who has The Look of a denizen of the far side of Conduit of Blight Blvd (which marks the border of a meth slum). He’s standing there peering around and punching at a cell phone.

Taking notes, are we, buddy?

He can see me leave, and he also can see there’s no other car in the garage.

Last time the neighbors and I called the cops for a prowler, it took them 45 minutes to show up.

So…I drive around the block and circle back. By the time I reach the Funny Farm, our guy has crossed over to my side of the road, gone around the corner, and is now standing next to the east side of my house, punching more data into his cell phone.

After a quick command decision to cut choir and church, I pull into the garage and holler for the dog, loud enough to be heard. Hope the guy hasn’t been watching long enough to know the dog weighs all of 25 pounds, not all of 95 pounds.

Why am I staying here? Is this God asking me that question?

I need to move either to Sun City — a ghetto for old folks — or to Prescott, where it’s probably snowing right now.

Actually, it’s not. Snowing in Prescott, I mean. Just damn cold: 36 degrees. No. I do not want to live in Prescott much more than I want to live in Sun City. But…do I really want to live a half-mile (or less) from a vast swath of dangerous blight?

Ohhh well. Having made the decision to abstain from church, I managed to move the Urgent Care appointment up from 2:00 p.m. to noon, the earliest moment when they have their X-ray equipment working. That rescues the afternoon from chaos, anyway.

I guess.

December 8, 2019
by funny
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Walloped

Friday night (is this really already Sunday?) Ruby & I went for a doggywalk after dark. A neighborhood community party was going on in the park, and, attracted by the happy sounds, I decided we should walk down the road that separates Upper from Lower Richistan and follow it over to the park. It’s quite dark along that stretch. And…in the past five or six years, a developer purchased a piece of horse property which he converted into a small HOA of ugly two-story McMansions, surrounded by an ugly stuccoed wall. Just fit right in to a neighborhood of sprawling single-story 1950s-to-70s ranchers, eh?

Oh well. Aesthetics aside, the builder took as much leave of his senses as he did of his taste. Between this fine wall and the city sidewalk, in a little easement about, oh…maybe six or eight feet wide, he planted several sissou trees.

These fine plants  get HUGE, and they’re extremely aggressive. Their roots will heave every wall and pavement within 40 feet of the trunk.

Not surprisingly, one of these charmers has lifted a whole slab of sidewalk along the way to the park. Since I rarely walk down that way (the park being, alas, a good place to stay away from in the absence of, say, a German shepherd), I’d forgotten about this little eruption. Sooo…trotting along behind a charging corgi, I tripped over it and fell flat on my face!

Wrecked my glasses — that’ll be $200. Wrenched my right hand. And blasted the patella on  the right knee.

Fortunately, I was able to flag down a driver cruising home from his law office. He drove me and the dog back to the house — we were about a half to three-quarters of a mile out.

These small dings hurt like the dickens, especially the hand. I applied ice packs, of which (given my various recent adventures) I have a-plenty residing in the freezer. But though they still hurt, I really do NOT want to spend yet another night in the Mayo’s goddamn ER, not after just barely getting over a two-month bout of bronchitis that I believe I picked up there.

I didn’t think anything was broken. But two days later, the hand is pretty badly swollen, Naturally, it’s Sunday. Made an appointment at the local urgent care joint this afternoon, where I hope they will X-ray it and tell me yea or nay, is a knuckle or metacarpal busted

Lucky thing I only busted my glasses, and not a hip…it was dark as pitch down there, and if I hadn’t been able to get up and step into the roadway to wave my paws and holler, I wouldn’t have had a chance of getting anyone to notice me.

Come to think of it, though, it’s kinda remarkable that a nearly 75-year-old broad could fall flat on her face (twice! this is the second goddamn time — the first was at a dead run) and not break anything., Now that the pain has subsided (presumably under the influence of three ice packs), I doubt if anything is actually broken, except for a chip off a dental crown.

Thankful though I am that no more serious injury was done..HOW could I do without these little interludes? Let me count the ways….

 

December 7, 2019
by funny
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Cox the Feeble…America the Disconnected?

Live-Blogging in the Disconnect Mode…

Along about 6 p.m., a little rain started to sprinkle. I’m playing with the computer, my usual pastime, thinking I should get up and turn on the PBS Gnus by way of catching up with the day’s antics in Washington. In passing, as the drizzle begins, the lights blink almost off and back on, so fast and so subtly it’s barely noticeable.

This is the second time it’s happened in the past few days. Nothing much ensued the other day, but it’s something I take note of because the house has aluminum wiring. Anything electrical that’s even faintly unusual makes one itch.

But as before, nothing bursts into flames. Yet.

LOL! You think I exaggerate? One of DX-H’s law partners and his wife went out to dinner and a movie one night. After a pleasant evening they came home…to a slab and a pile of ashes.

No joke! The house had burned completely, altogether to the ground.

So electrical glitches elicit some interesting imaginative scenarios.

The laptop has developed a few glitches of its own, of late. So when its Internet connection suddenly went down, just as I was about to pack it in and go turn on the big iMac for the purpose of “television” viewing, I didn’t think much about it. Rebooted. Still offline. Ohhh wellll…I needed to call the Apple Service people for something else, anyhow.

Haul out of the easy chair and away to the office. Fire up the iMac and…yup. DEAD. It, too, is offline.

Clearly, what we have here is another goddamn Cox thing.

Call the Cox 24-hour service that I subscribe to expensively…or try to, anyway. When I pick up the phone, instead of a dial tone I get buzz buzz buzz buzz… Busy signal???! Whaaaa!

Fortunately I happen to have quite a few minutes available on my cell phone. Dial up Cox’s expensive service, from whom, after a couple of transfers, I learn there’s an outage in our area. They expect to have the service back up around 8:00 p.m.

Ducky.

This is classic Cox. Every time it rains, Cox goes down. And it’s not even raining very hard. It’s barely sprinkling out there.

We have only two residential Internet choices here: Cox and CenturyLink, the ghost of the late not-much-lamented Qwest. CenturyLink has a reputation for being even worse than Cox – in fact, by comparison Cox looks good.

 So…if you live in Maricopa County and you imagine that someday you may need to dial 911, you’d bloody well better have a cell phone.

I now have two of the damn things, neither one of which I know how to work. Managed to figure out how to dial a phone number on the new Walmart purchase and got through to Cox’s alleged service department. That would be where the 8 p.m. estimate came from.

To make the present event even more infuriating, the Macs are showing, with their little “radio” icon, that the wi-fi is on. But it ain’t.

Or…lo! Maybe it is!

Yes. It is on. For the nonce.

Knowing Cox’s fine reputation for reliability though, it probably won’t be for long.

😀

Oooohkayyyy…. Yes, the connection is reestablished. But now the iMac WON’T ACCEPT MY PASSWORD to sign back on. God DAMN IT but I hate loathe and despise the techno-dystopia that we live in. Now I’ve got to try to call up Apple on a phone line that may or may not keep working and try to get my computer to come back on.

….

Lo! It’s up. And now we’re watching Hari Sreenivasan holding forth about the Pensacola shooting, reporting in awe that the Saudis who shot up the naval base…oooohhh! watched a shooting video before going on their rampage. Imagine that!

Y’know, Hari’s cute. No: handsome. He emanates smarts. He’s probably the best thing on PBS News. But…really…wouldntcha like to have Walter Cronkite back? David Brinkley? Chet Huntley?

PBS seems to me to be the best news show that’s out there, on the air or in the stream. But dayum! Truth is, the wackshit conservatives are right. It’s politically correct to the point of doctrinaire. It’s surely better than anything else we have these days. But it’s NOT objective. It doesn’t even try to report the news objectively.

{sigh} We live in hopeless times…

December 6, 2019
by funny
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Burglar Hacks: How to discourage prowlers

Occasionally when I chat with folks — especially strangers — I’m reminded that living in a central-city neighborhood poses certain risks that those in middle-class suburbs escape. Truth to tell, most of the time I don’t dwell on the dangers presented by the meth colonies directly to the north and to the west of us. My house is secured, I have a barking dog, and I’m armed to the teeth, so…well…make my day. 😀

Today, though, in response to a Quora query, I was led to articulate the steps I’ve taken to secure my home. These are strategies most of us can use and, with the exception of the security doors and the drill-resistant deadbolts, modestly priced. And none of them include owning a shotgun or a baseball bat…

Assuming you live in a place you own, as opposed to a rental…

  1. Install motion-sensitive light fixtures outside all the doors.
  2. Also install, motion-sensitive floodlights that will light up each of the exterior walls. Place these up under the eaves, where a prowler can’t easily reach them to unscrew the bulbs.
  3. Install good-quality steel security doors on all exterior doors, and equip these with tamper-resistant, drill-resistant locks such as Schlage or Medeco.
  4. Equip exterior doors and windows with “screamer” alarms that you can set to squeal if the door or window is opened (this assumes you’re not fond of whole-house burglar alarm systems).
  5. Or, if you don’t mind the expense and nuisance, call a burglar alarm company and sign up to have them alarm every entrance and send you a bill once a month.
  6. Attach timers to a few lights and a radio inside your home. Set these to go on and off at various times (for example, to make it look like you have moved from the living room to a bedroom or family room). Leave the radio playing just loud enough to be heard through a closed window…but put it on a timer, too, because most burglars are smart enough to know you don’t have the radio blatting 24/7.
  7. Get a dog with a gawdawful bark, if you’ll be around enough to take care of it. If you’re unable to care for a dog adequately or don’t want the expense, then try this sort of thing: The 5 Best Barking Dog Alarms Reviews for 2019 (Expert Advice)

Some of these, such as #4, #6, and #7’s barking dog alarm gadget, apply to rentals, too. Also, you can get motion-sensitive light-bulbs, so if your apartment has porch lights, in theory you could replace the regular bulbs with these — I’ve found they don’t work very well, so personally would not spend the money on them. But nothing ventured…

December 2, 2019
by funny
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Live-Blogging from the Apple Store…

Here’s a little oddity. For the first time in recorded history, I heard an Apple dude remark (to someone else, not me) that he dislikes the dsytopic, gawdawful site Apple moved to in Scottsdale Fashion Square.

It’s slightly less dsytopic than the one in Kierland Commons. But…welll…nooo…maybe not so much.

Scottsdale Fashion Square, like other upscale shopping malls here in lovely Phoenix, has been “renovated” into a postmodern nightmare mini-world: sharp-edged, ugly, noisy,… Oh, yeah: noisy as Hell! Indeed, if I were to design a new Hell for Satan Himself, it would look just like these hideous malls. And Satan’s throne would be smack in the center of the Apple Store.

These places are designed to reverberate. Every wall, every floor, every ceiling is made of echoic matter: faux marble (who knows, maybe it’s real marble), definitely faux granite flooring, four walls of two-story-high glass. As a result, the noise level is fuckin’ deafening. You can’t hear yourself think, much less hear the poor Apple guy, who has to shout to hear himself.

To add to the din, the Apple store has a guy emitting “lessons”, through a loudspeaker, on how to operate this or that or the other complicated software. This one is “Music Lab,” which generates “music” – I’d call it “noise,” but whatEVER. Right now he’s showing how to create a beat, emanating whacka-whacka-whacka-WHACK whacka-whacka-whack-WHACK at high volume. The latter being required so the two people watching can hear it over the ambient racket.

Just the thought of working here…ugh! It’s unimaginable. These people must go home with a splitting headache after every shift. And consider: we have to drive on the same roads with these harried folk as they trudge back home from a crazy-making day in this place.

***

Not surprisingly, the Apple Genius (they don’t exaggerate with that…) figures most of the issues have to do w/ outdated software, both the OS (which I’ve had to keep in the pre-Christian era because I haven’t wanted to move to Microsoft’s cloud and so needed to maintain the functionality of VERY old Wyrd and Excel programs). He is, however, the first to know that Microsoft has updated versions of Wyrd and Excel that can be installed as resident on the computer, rather than floating in the Cloud.

He proposes I install these. This will create an Issue, because they’ve been changed so many times over the years that they’re totally alien. Effectively, I’ll have to relearn Wyrd and Excel.

As you know, this will mean a Chinese mathematician will shortly fly in the door waving 30 pages of differential equations and crying “we must turn this into English YESTERDAY!”

At any rate, if a miracle happens and I have a few days before the next client surfaces, I may be able to run out to the campus and get one of the librarians to coach me. Except…it’s coming on to Christmas break, so unless I move fast it may be too late to trap one of them before the semester ends.

In any event, I’ll still have the big iMac loaded with the outmoded but mercifully functional Wyrd, Excel, and various Mac programs, so if push comes to shove I can perch in front of that thing to work. The problem is…sitting at that desk is bone-crushingly painful.

Pray for no work…

December 2, 2019
by funny
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When You Think You Have Nothing to Do…

You’re just sitting here, right? Playing some silly computer game, whiling away the time before you have to drive to Scottsdale to schlep your computer to the Apple “Geniuses” in hopes of getting the current raft of quirks fixed. That’s an hour’s drive, so you’ve gotta be outtahere by noon…and…and…dayum! It’s already 10 a.m. Holeeee shee-ut!

Hurry...

Dump the coffee grounds into the garden to pre-empt the cleaning from dumping them down the kitchen sink drain, thereby creating a fine new plumber’s bill.

Hurry...

Climb into the bathtub to get washed and…

Hurry...

Haul out of the tub to answer the goddamned phone. Manually  block another spoofed number. Recall that you didn’t block the number that was used for yesterday afternoon’s harassment, either.

Hurry...

Get the money for the cleaning lady; place it where she can find it.

Hurry...

Hurry…block yesterday’s nuisance call number. Search through the blocked phone numbers and unblock the dermatologist’s number, zapped in error yesterday.

Hurry...

Throw on some decent clothes and paint the face preparatory to schlepping across the city. Realize an old sweater and a pair jeans will not make it for an appearance in the dystopically redesigned and now very ugly Scottsdale Fashion Square. Consider: do you care what the Richistani think of you? Reconsider: problem is, of course, getting the “help” at the Apple store to notice you.

Hurry...

Better put on some better clothes. And shoes, come to think of it!

Hurry...

Pick up the mess in the office.

Hurry...

Recharge the computer, for godsake. It’s already at 78%…will it get back to 100% by noon?

Hurry...

Back up to Time Machine. But…seriously? Won’t that take longer than 45 minutes? Shoulda thought of that sooner. Doesn’t matter. Damned Time Machine isn’t reading the external drive. Ducky. But Finder is reading it and emits an angry squawk when it’s disconnected.

Hurry...

Out the door!