Funny about Money

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

October 16, 2019
by funny
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Never Pours but It Rains…

LOL! This little comedy of errors is getting ridiculous. Actually, we could call it a “comedy of fiascos.” One damnfool thing after another.

So after spending the night before last at the Mayo’s ER and getting exactly zero sleep, of course (wouldn’cha know) the next day I had to go down to the church and spend the afternoon minding the front desk and answering the phone, a task I’m not very good at under the best of circumstances. And fully incompetent at under the worst of circumstances. So that must have been amusing to anyone watching. 😀

And yesterday as all the antics were winding down, I kept spiking a fever. It would shoot up to something over 100° — which is very high for me, since my temp is normally well under 98.6°. But I figured it must have to do with the UTI, which had gotten bad enough to produce some interesting pain.

But…well, no. Nothing can ever be that simple in these precincts.

I woke up this morning with a roaring sore throat, a fever, and a cough. So…presumably I’ve contracted the flu, a cold, or strep throat…also presumably picked up while passing hour after hour in a hospital emergency room. This, despite getting a flu shot while I was at the doc’s office a week ago. Yes: it takes two weeks for a flu shot to take effect!!!!!

Sumbiche.

So…now I’m having to cut choir practice tonight — not that I would be up for two hours of rehearsals even if I weren’t a latter-day Typhoid Mary. And I need to weasel out of staffing the church office’s desk tomorrow. This means, of course, I spent four hours yesterday spreading germs all over the phones, desks, and computer at the office…isn’t that ducky?

Meanwhile, it develops that despite the influenza hazard, it probably was a good thing I traipsed in to the Mayo the other night. One of the nurses there said, after I remarked that I felt embarrassed to occupy their attention with such a petty, stupid little ailment, that urinary tract infections can be “very serious.” Well…she wasn’t kidding. This morning along comes word from KJG that her mom has been in the hospital with a UTI that she chose to neglect — thinking that it would go away on its own.

Wrong. She ended up spending several days in a westside hospital, severely ill, and then being transported to a nursing home, where, KJG says, she “barely has awareness, is very weak, cannot do anything for herself.”

Good grief. Is that terrifying, or is that terrifying?

Well, I hope the poor woman recovers. She’s not in the best of shape to begin with — though I don’t think she’s much older than I am. But evidently, if you think you have one of these UTI bugs, you should trot off to the doc the minute the light dawns in your hazy little brain.

Meanwhile, in addition to being genetically susceptible to every damn virus that comes along, I’m allergic to aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen. So that means the only way I can address a fever is to stand in a cool shower. Which, it develops, is what I’d better go do right now…

October 15, 2019
by funny
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WordPress to the Rescue…partly

Well, that was…uhm…jolly fun… Spent the better part of the night at the Mayo’s ER after spiking a high temperature and enjoying a spectrum of annoying symptoms. Develops that the UTI that I was enjoying returned with a vengeance. The ER doc re-prescribed the stuff his colleague had given me. She’d written a prescription for only 5 days. He said I needed to take it for at least 10 more days. It was after 2 a.m. by the time I got home, and of course I didn’t sleep very well.

Head hurt like hell this morning…but  eventually I realized it was probably because I hadn’t eaten a thing since yesterday morning.

Client mathematician wanted a word count of the first five chapters of his current book, the edits of which I sent off to him the day before yesterday. In editing math copy, I don’t charge for content that I’m too stupid to understand: videlicet, just about every mathematical expression. Word counts every element in a mathematical expression — all those Greek letters, all those numbers — as a separate word. So in order to figure the actual editable number of words, you have to go through it line by line and delete every equation, every mathematical expression, every graph, every table…on and on and ENDLESSLY on.

Well, Word was having none of that. It kept crashing, and even when it didn’t crash, getting this done in any sane manner was almost impossible.

Finally it dawned on me (ever slow to tumble to the obvious…):

Hey! WordPress counts the words in a blog post. And when you paste copy from Wyrd into a WordPress post, it converts to HTML! 

Hot damn! Unlike effing Wyrd, HTML is extremely stable.

Or maybe just…dayum!!!

It took hours and hours and HOURS to paste each chapter into a post and then, in “Text” (HTML) view, to sift through line by line by line and delete every equation and every mathematical equation. Much of this stuff, WordPress converts into tables. You then have to find the table (even though it doesn’t appear as a table in the more easily comprehensible “Visual” view). This entails more sifting: through the HTML in search of tables, and then having to force WordPress to delete the damn things…which it does NOT want to do.

*******

Along about the time this adventure ground to an end, I realized I had a 100-degree temp on top of a number of unpleasant other symptoms. That’s high for me: my normal temperature is well below 98.6, so if I have a fever of 100 degrees, I am sick.

And I have a splitting headache.

Eventually I decide to drive to the Mayo’s ER, which is a distance. What time? Late…the roads were very clear, which is some sort of a miracle.

Though they kindly saw me promptly and were, as usual, marvelously attentive, it was after 2:00 a.m. by the time I rolled out of there and made my way through the black night to the Funny Farm. They called in a prescription to the Safeway near my house, saying I should show up there the minute the place opened — that would be 8:00 a.m. — to retrieve the pills and start gulping them down forthwith. In the meantime, the doc handed me one (1) of the horsepills to take while I was sitting in front of him and said “Get your tail to the pharmacy the minute they open, grab the Rx, and start gulping these things down!” This, as you will see, is a trick easier said than done…

*******

The few hours that remain to the night pass uneventfully and without sleep. Now I have to be at the Safeway at 8 a.m. to try to extract this stuff from their pharmacy.To make things even jollier, I promised one of the volunteer front-desk workers down at the church that I would do her gig this afternoon so she can visit family in California. That chore runs from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m.

So there’ll be no nap time for me. Can’t imagine how I’m going to get through the day.

First off, though, the problematic issue of getting to the Safeway pharmacy at 8 a.m.:

There are essentially three main drags that run from the north parts of the mid-city through the central commercial district to the downtown lawyers’ and bureaucrats’ district. Central Avenue goes through a genteel old-money residential area and ends at the North Mountains. Seventh Avenue also goes up to the base of North Mountain but then flows into Meth Lover’s Drive, which will take you westward if that’s the way you must go. Seventh Street indirectly joins a freeway bringing residents from the far northern bedroom communities, picks up people who live in the north central part of the city, and proceeds downtown.

Our City Parents, in their infinite “wisdom,” took it into their collective mind to convert the left-turn-only central lanes on Seventh Ave and on Seventh Street into one-way NO left-turn lanes during the rush hours: southbound from 6 to 9 a.m.; northbound from 4 to 6 p.m. While this sort of (marginally) speeds commute traffic (but not so’s you’d notice), it creates a GIGANTIC headache, because…well, no matter where you’re going, you can’t get there from here. Everybody who needs to go left to get to a destination travels on Central, so it’s bumper-to-bumper all the way downtown. The other roads move faster, but you have to perform what is known as an “Arizona turn” to get where you’re going.

An Arizona turn? That’s where you turn right to go left…and in the hands of a gifted driver, this can be quite the little maneuver.

This means that to turn left out of my neighborhood during the rush hours, you have to drive around and around and AROUND Robin-Hood’s barn. Because everybody else is trying to get to the same place you want to go, it creates vast traffic jams on the surrounding streets as people try to avoid those goddamn no-left-turn lanes.

Stupidly, I decide to drive across GangBanger’s Way to 12th Street (going north in order to turn south). This lovely boulevard is heavily traveled by my fellow law-dodgers but usually is navigable. BUT….I fail to take into consideration the goddamn high school on Gangbanger’s. At the high school, the city in its infinite stupidity has installed one of those crosswalk lights that holds up traffic whenever some pedestrian pushes a button. The upshot of that is that around 7:30, when I leave the house, traffic on this 7-lane main drag just flat comes to a dead stop, as kid after kid after kid ambles across the road.

But if you know where you’re going, eventually you can circumvent the schemes of Our City Parents and…yes: get there from here.

A hard left across three lanes of oncoming takes me and the pickup ahead of me into a neighborhood. We weave our way through this fairly dire little slum (there’s a reason I call it Meth Central), back to 7th Street, go north (opposite of the direction we need to go), shear right on Butler, cruise through a slightly less dire slum (yes, even this garden spot is beginning to gentrify), and come out on 12th Street. There we cruise southward, he toward whatever his destination might be and me dodging westward (a right turn) on Glendale toward the Safeway that I can’t turn left into because it’s at 7th Street and there’s no left turn allowed there.

Once I reach 7th Street (turning west now in order to go east), I sail into the nearly empty parking lot, shoot through the Safeway’s front door, and accost the two pharmacists, who bless their hearts are in a pretty good mood at this hour of the day.

However…the lucky soul who chooses to take me on has no clue to the Rx that was supposed to have been sent over at 2 a.m.  Finally she realizes: they’ve made it out in my unpronounceable legal name, a little horror that I never use. Being a little frazzled myself at this point, I don’t think of it, but just as she’s about to send me away (having tried and failed to get thru to the Mayo on the phone) it occurs to me that maybe this funny name thing has been applied to the Rx, and lo! So it turns out to be.

Finally I get home around 8:45. It has taken a full hour to make a twenty-minute round-trip drive and grab a bottle of pills!!!!!

Ugh. Now I have three hours before I have to schlep up to the church, where I stupidly volunteered to take on my friend Barbara’s afternoon shift at the front desk.

When will they ever learn?”  NEVER volunteer!!!!!

I’m too keyed up to sleep now; I really should take the poor little dog for a walk; I’m sure there’s a sh!tload of things I should be doing right this very minute (pay the bills?); and I cannot even imagine how I am going to stay awake through three hours and thirty minutes of excruciating tedium down at the Church.

Why do you suppose they have a switchboard-like phone at all? I do NOT understand that. There’s no reason the staff/clergy (all of about 12 of them) can’t have their own phone numbers that will ring direct to their office phones or to a voicemail. They want somebody lurking around the front office to bounce out the homeless and greet the parishioners?? Whaaa? Maybe two people a day come in. Could the office manager, who appears to be a kind of Guy Friday, be parked in an office near the front, where he can see and greet whoever comes stumbling in the door?

Our rector is in the final running for the position of Bishop. That’s good for him: he’s a pretty ambitious guy and an exceptionally worthy candidate. But it means now we have to get a new pastor. That means major hassle, as you’ve no doubt noticed. I’d like to see them plant our associate priest in that job. She happens to be a woman. She also happens to be amazingly sweet and she can give a killer sermon.

The present incumbent was hired to rescue our merry group from a fairly dire financial predicament, after the prior regime took a richly endowed organization and within three or four years ran its finances right into the ground. Having performed what we might best describe as a dramatic rescue, indeed, he’s ready to move on to the next stage in his career.

We, on the other hand, are not and never will be ready for him to move on….

October 11, 2019
by funny
2 Comments

Wonders of the Brave New World

How can I say how much I miss the television?

You know: the free stuff that you didn’t have to cough up a gouge for so you could watch content with just as much advertising as the unpaid programming? The free service that you didn’t have to pay for a cable connection to view? That television.

Like…all I want to do is watch the evening news. Come into the office (no, you can’t watch this fine content from your easy chair: you get to sit in your wooden desk chair to watch video programming) and find the iMac has shut itself down. Or maybe I shut it down completely last night when it would NOT go into “sleep” mode. So I have to fire the whole damn thing up. Naturally it puts up a fight.

Try to load FireFox: the iMac decides I should load Word instead. No. I do not want Word! But now I have to wait for it to load , which it does not: it hangs. But FireFox does, so I get to wait a for it to tell it can’t find my “pages,” which presumably would be the pages that I didn’t have open at all when the damn thing went down. Now it’s clickety-clickety-clickety-clickety to get the PBS NewsHour to come up, then sit through an ad for a freight train line and for Consumer Cellular and for a long series of nonprofits.

And finally…news. Wow! It’s looking worse and worse for the Orange Buffoon. The (fired by the crooked buffoon and his henchmen) ambassador to Ukraine had to be subpoenaed to make it possible for her voluntarily to testify to Congress. He’s fighting back by riling up his stunningly ignorant, hate-filled, and scared sheep.

It’s like having Caligula in the White House. I mean the real Caligula: the demented Roman Emperor. The scary thing about it is that Caligula was symptomatic of the decline of the Roman Empire. Truly: there’s nothing new under the sun.

Rachel Maddow is talking as fast as she can talk. Even that breathless pace, we can barely keep up with the fast-and-furious breaking events. One criminal act after another…and not only that, but patently mind-boggling stupidity.

And you just keep returning to the fundamental question here — or at least one of them: what was wrong with the Republican leadership that they allowed the nomination of this moronic demagogue? Is Mitch McConnell really that stupid? Mike Pence: is he that dumb, or did he figure if Trump went into the White House it wouldn’t be long before he himself — Pence — would be occupying the Oval Office? If he’s not that dumb, is he really that craven? And is there any reasonable term for this corrupt behavior other than treason?

What times we live in….

October 10, 2019
by funny
1 Comment

News Shell-Shock

Sitting here watching the PBS NewsHour, having perused rather too many news sites in GoogleNews before this. I sweartogod, I can barely stand to watch or read this stuff. How many friends have you heard say that? How many times have you said it yourself?

Lookit this: they just nailed two of Giuliani’s flunkies as the crooks were climbing on an airplane bearing one-way tickets out of the country.

The saga gets wilder, crazier, and more alarming with every hour that passes. What on earth do you suppose the Republicans had in their collective mind when they nominated a lunatic like Trump for the presidency? Surely they must have been able to see, from the git-go, that their candidate was incompetent to lead the country. The peccadillos, the welching on debts to architects and contractors, the businesses run into the ground, the draft-dodging, the inadequate education, the utter vacancy in the ethics department…really: what could they have been thinking?

Apparently they figured if they engineered and gerrymandered in a clown, they could entertain the masses with a circus while they took away our bread. They must have thought they could control him, at least to some degree. They probably recognized how feeble he is in the brains department and figured they could steer him as they pleased. Instead we’ve gone from crude to stupid to vicious to downright lunacy as more and more tumult emanates from the White House.

How. Exceptionally. Stupid of them. Or…should we say, how exceptionally evil? Is cynicism evil? Or are we merely seeing an unfortunate outcome of the Republican leadership’s ill-considered cynicism?

If you’re going to play at being Niccolò Machiavelli, you’d better be as smart as Niccolò Machiavelli. Apparently the Republican right and their billionaire handlers didn’t have enough IQ points among them to aspire to that standard.

October 6, 2019
by funny
1 Comment

Could a Smart Home Reduce Your Insurance Premiums?

The growth of the Internet of Things (IOT) has seen a rapid adoption of smart technologies within the home. Over the past 40 years, not much changed in basic functions of the home, such as lighting, temperature control, and security, until the developed of connected devices, which have suddenly opened up the market and given the average homeowner access to technologies that once were reserved for the rich and famous.

A MoneySupermarket.com survey reports that 77% of the British public know what connected devices are, and a massive 79% have a smartphone with which to control their Smart Home should they so wish.

The benefits of a connected home often form the butt of jokes, with the punchline being someone asking Alexa or Siri to carry out some menial task on their behalf, saving them a task that would have required them only to reach out their arm. But there are much wider benefits to their smart devices than just changing the radio channel, turning on the lights, or changing your fridge temperature by one degree. The main benefit is in home security. This is how it affects your home insurance.

Films of the past decades have made us aware of the high technology solutions for security adopted to secure priceless pieces of art or diamonds. Such systems used by art galleries and museums are now readily available and affordable for the average home, greatly increasing security measures for many who once relied on just locks and bolts to secure their home.

Which smart devices have brought the home security market so far in such a short period of time?

Video Doorbells

Look down your road and you will probably find one or two neighbors who’ve already adopted a smart doorbell such as a Ring system. The bell doesn’t look much different from a standard doorbell or small intercom system but look closely and you will notice that it has an integrated camera. What is really different is the technology behind the doorbell device ,which connects it to your home WIFI and your other smart devices, including your smart phone, even when you’re outside the home, even abroad.

The smart doorbell notifies your phone when motion or sound, depending on your settings, indicate that someone has either pressed your doorbell, or has even just walked up your driveway. A live video stream can then be viewed from your phone or tablet, allowing you to communicate directly with the person at your doorstep through the device, asking them to place your parcel in your porch or call back when more convenient.

The advantages of this to security are obvious: you have eyes and ears on your front door 24 hours a day even when you’re not home. And the recorded footage can be used to deter or identify uninvited intruders. But what about the rest of your home?

Smart Sensors and Cameras

Other smart sensors and cameras, often as inexpensive as £30 ($37) per device, can be placed around your home and property to notify you of movement at windows, doors, or inside the building. Again, notifications can be sent to your phone so that you can respond to a would-be burglar, call the police, or trigger another smart device that turns on lights or plays noises. Automatic responses to triggered sensors can also be set up such as security lights turning on.

Will this Reduce Your Home Insurance?

Insurance companies like are starting to provide a reduction in home insurance premium for homeowners who have installed security devices, particularly those of well-known manufacturers, so check with your insurer before choosing your devices. The advantages to you and the insurer are obvious, with damage to property and contents likely reduced in a home where connected technologies are deployed.

What Is the Future of Connected Devices?

Interestingly, a spokesperson for Insure4Retirement, a UK insurance broker, pointed out that 30% of home insurance claims result from water damage from internal leaks, not flooding, according to the Association of British Insurers. Technologies that sense and notify of water leakage are already on the market that sense and notify of water leakage; some can shut off the water supply to the leaking system. Although many homeowners are unaware of these technologies and insurers have yet to lower premiums for homes where they are installed, once some insurers innovate in this area it is likely that the devices will be adopted by homeowners.

October 6, 2019
by funny
2 Comments

A Wrenching Decision…

Okay, so my beloved kitchen wrench, the one that resides in a drawer, where it stands by to perform the crucial job of unscrewing the caps on bottles of cheap wine, has been hiding for the past several weeks. Didn’t pay much attention to this, because I’ve been on the wagon for quite some time and so had rare occasions to pine for the wine wrench. {heh!}

Well, the other day after I escaped the Mayo’s test lab, whence I was ordered to present myself for an annual health review, the first thing I did was tear down to the fancy-Dan Fry’s at Tatum & Shea and grab a bottle of my favorite California hootch. I’d been abstaining for the past month, by way of gaming the Mayo’s system: I’ve grown mightily tired of hearing my unempathetic doc whinge about my liver enzyme levels. And of having to prevaricate about how much spirits I actually consume, so as a) to avoid getting that written down anywhere and b) to avoid having to listen to a long lecture containing advice that I already know, thankyouverymuch. At any rate, I was reminded that the beloved kitchen wrench had gone AWOL when I tried to open this fine bottle of wine. Searched all over for the thing, but couldn’t find it.

Alas. Managed to get the fine bottle open anyway.

This morning another raft of test results went online at the Mayo’s “portal.” And lo!

  • Liver enzyme levels: right smack in the middle of the “normal” range
  • Glucose level: about 5 points high…we’ll be told, once again (as over the past 8 or 10 years) that we’re “pre-diabetic.” Okay, just hand me the damn candybar…)
  • Everything else: dead on normal.

Hm. I suspect those liver enzymes have come down specifically because I decided to knock off my daily dose of wine. Or beer. Or whiskey.

Have I felt better? Not really. About the same, I’d say. I felt fine before climbing on the wagon and I feel fine now. But that notwithstanding…I do think it’s time to revert to Great-Grandmother’s staunch policy of tee-totaling. Clearly the booze has been affecting the liver, and not imbibing has also affected it: for the better.

Hence….the decision: Stay on the wagon? Or sink beneath the waves of a sea of iniquity?

Contemplating said collection of medico-facts this morning, it occurred to me that I still hadn’t found the wine wrench, despite having launched a special search for it after I arrived home with the recent purchase in hand. So got up off my duff and wandered into the garage for another lookaround…

And lo! There were the familiar yellow handles! Yes. Right there in the toolbox. Uh huh. The toolbox I’d searched three times without finding them.

How does that happen? How can you look at something — right straight at it, presumably — three times without seeing it? When you’re sober and have been dead sober for a month or so?

Possibly it’s sobriety that’s at fault… 😉