Coffee heat rising

Why Blog…Still?

Just imagine! Funny has been online for  over 12 years! Its first post in WordPress appeared on Christmas Eve, 2007, but that was far from the first word. Funny about Money was born on an ancient Apple platform that was (as I recall) dubbed “iWeb.” It was a pretty limited tool, but it did allow you to publish a daily squib that could reach an audience on the Web, if you publicized it enough.

Over time, personal finance blogging took off. I’d started my site after becoming enamored of Trent Hamm’s The Simple Dollar and thinking “I could do that!” Never occurred to me to try to make a living at it — as he apparently was doing. For me, it was something to occupy my mind while sitting in front of the television set, trying to cool the brain after reading too many student papers.

Television sets…remember those? Free TV shows that came in off the air, that you didn’t have to pay to watch? Wow! Those were the days.

Whatever. By 2007, FaM was getting large enough that it needed a stronger platform…plus it was apparent that Apple’s thing wasn’t going to last forever (it was discontinued in 2011). But well before its demise, I’d made blogging friends who urged me to switch to WordPress or Blogger. Of the two, WP looked like the least hassle and probably the least restrictive, so it was away to the Big Leagues.

It took awhile after making the jump to WordPress before I realized some people (other than Trent) were actually making money off these things. And that Funny was doing pretty well as PF blogs go…at one point it ranked among the top 50 personal finance blogs in the English language.

So I tried a few monetizing strategies. Adsense was a bust, IMHO. It seemed as though if I could get my junior college students to go to the site and encourage them to click on a few ads, I could make…ohhh…maybe ten bucks a month (what is that? $.000001 a word?). But was it really worth junking up the damn site? And having Adsense serve advertising for Scandinavian…uhm…escorts?

Advertising goods for Amazon? Well…okay. Maybe. If I knew a friend or reader wanted to order XXX or YYY from Amazon, I could post a link on Funny and talk them into clicking through to the desired product. One friend liked to order very expensive dog food, in quantity, from Amazon. This worked, a couple of times. How well did it work? Well…maybe it produced enough to buy a package of chewing gum.

Advertising my own books on the site? Uhmmmm…. Ooohkayyy. Sorta. Certainly not enough to plan a night on the town, though.

But I wasn’t writing Funny about Money to make money. I was writing it because it entertained me and passed many an otherwise boring evening in front of the television. It made contact with humans in the outside world. And who knows? Maybe someone out there somewhere was even helped by some tidbit of advice the site emitted.

Over time, I drifted away from mumbling on endlessly about budgeting, investing, retirement planning, and all things money. There are only so many ways you can say the same things over and over: get an educational or decent vocational training. Get a job. Live within your means. Build an emergency fund. Stay out of debt. Pay off necessary debt (such as mortgages or car loans) as fast as you can. Never spend more in any given period than you have coming in. Be prepared for a layoff by having a side gig or too and contributing your emergency fund with every paycheck.

Quite a few personal finance blogs survive, although the most interesting and well written ones were sold off by their founders. Get Rich Slowly, Budgets Are Sexy, The Simple Dollar, and many others are no longer written by the excellent creative minds that brought them to us. In fact, it really is true that you run out of ways to deliver the obvious advice, and there are only so many fresh spins you can take on that advice.

Blogs went out of style some time back. Younger folk, it appears, prefer to communicate online in staccato blurbs or images, rather than wasting time reading thought-out essays. Presumably reading has gone out of style, too — even though books continue to sell. What do you suppose people do with them? Use them as fireplace kindling? 😀

Style not being my thing, I continue to post at Funny. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve thought of it as a “personal finance” blog…now it’s just a “personal” blog. Actually, it functions as a writer’s journal, a kind of five-finger exercise to warm up before turning to something more serious. Or to paying work.

So I expect it to be around for quite awhile longer. Hope you will be, too!

Prioritize the Freakin’ Priorities!

It is SOOOO hot that it is physically impossible for Person nor Beast to get anything done. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

Actually, no: I’m determined to come unstuck.

The past few weeks have put me into a kind of coma. I get up, walk the dog, feed the dog, fart (interminably!) with the pool, then plop down in front of the computer and…and…yeah: sit there. Allll day long. Reading the news. Corresponding with friends. Reading the news some more. Reading those links that Google sticks in the pages upon which it forces you to rest when you enter a search. Writing a blog post (which is akin to writing a diary entry). Posting it to Facebook. Cruising Facebook interminably. Playing Internet games. Reading the news some more. Playing some Internet games some more. Fighting with the hazy swimming pool some more. Writing a Quora post or two. Driving to the grocery store or some odious appointment when forced to it. Fight with the pool again. Playing Internet games some more, again….and so on until around 6 p.m., when it’s time to feed the dog again, wrestle with the pool again, and waste some more time watching PBS news.

In short: I get exactly NOTHING done.

So…something’s gotta happen here. Decided it should be A Schedule: Set aside specific periods of time in which to do things. Write Ella’s Story, which I dropped and forgot about as I sank to the bottom of Lake Comatose. Post Fire-Rider segments, which also have languished. (Interestingly, revenues from Amazon have risen, suggesting the idea of posting freebie chapters from the various books actually does boost sales.)

And today I did, somehow, manage to drag myself around to preparing, finding images for, and posting Part VI of Fire-Rider and then posting links on Facebook and Twaddle.

Sounds great, eh?

Except that already tomorrow a fly will drop into that ointment: Not one but two workmen are slated to show up between 10 and noon. If one of them doesn’t soak up the entire day, the other will. Together they’re guaranteed to put the eefus on the “hour-a-day” scheme.

The pool is still foggy. A little better than it was this morning, but still a disaster area. I figured out it has something to do with the filter, which is operating in a suspicious manner.

The hand lesion that was found to be on the verge of flipping over into a squamous cell carcinoma is not healing. It hurts. It itches. And this morning I find a white spot — a very itchy white spot — right at the location of the original white nasty itchy actinic keratosis that send me to the dermatologist in the first place. And it’s growing. Growing very fast.

So, come Monday I’ll have to traipse halfway to Yuma AGAIN — just the drive there and back consumes almost two hours. This thing is going to have to be removed surgically…I can feel that in my bones. And how many gerzillions of hours will that consume? Don’t even bother to try to estimate.

Tomorrow morning will be consumed with trying to explain to the pool guy what has been going on — complete with photos — and, probably at the same time,. trying to explain to the Cox dude what the goddamn VoiP modem they stuck on my computer did yesterday, dragging me offline in the middle of an Amazon movie.

In the meantime, here’s something you can do for pore, pore pitiful me… 😀

This post at Quora is racking up more “likes” than any squib I’ve ever stuck up there. How’s about you visit that link, enjoy the anecdote (true story! 100 percent!), and if you so choose, click “like” at the bottom of the post? The thing is inching toward 1,000 likes…and I would get quite a kick out of it if it actually did reach that coveted goal. Share it on Facebook and Twitter and whatever other platform you haunt.

In the time-wasting preoccupation department, how cool would it BE to rack up 1.000 votes for that post?

Moving on: after about three hours of sleep last night, I cannot hold my eyes open even though the sun has yet to slide beneath the humid, hot horizon. And so…away….


Conundrum of the Day: To Drive or Not to Drive?

So today’s conundrum — it’s huge, hyuuuge, I tellya! — is whether to dork around with scanning and uploading checks to the credit union or just to schlep them up there.

I need to pick up some groceries, too. The credit union is way over on the west side and the grocery stores where I would look for quality produce are way to the east or down to the south. And…few things do I hate more than driving around in Phoenix’s noxious traffic.

However…the other day I discovered a Fry’s (Kroger’s, for those in more civilized venues) over on West Peoria, conveniently on the way (more or less) to the credit union. The neighborhood is sketchy. But probably only a little more so than mine. It doesn’t look, at a glance, like the parking lot is too dangerous to walk across — and now that I no longer carry a purse slung over my shoulder, there’s relatively less risk of mugging.

So much do I dislike the scan/scan/crop/crop/upload/upload hoo-hah (x however many checks you have to deposit) that really…sometimes I’d actually rather drive all the way up to the CU and just fork the money over to a teller.

This is do-able when I have to go to a Costco, too — a decent Costco resides on that side of town, only about six or eight miles from the credit union. (Yeah…jolly, eh?) It’s also relatively safer than the one closest to where I live — although you’ll see a fake crippled vet sitting in a lawn chair holding up his sign at one of the entrances to the parking lot, you never run into anyone in the lot actively accosting you to panhandle.

Don’t need to make a Costco run, though. All that’s really needed is just enough produce to tide me over until next month’s Costco junket. Which, we might add, I would like to put off as long as possible.

Meanwhile, I need to meet people.

Do I want to meet people? Not especially. I’m happy enough here in my cave. Indeed, I’d be just as happy if the cave were in the side of a slab of southern Utah sandstone. But…I suppose, for one’s mental health, one needs to meet people.

Also, conveniently, I’ve discovered that folks who crave to be published writers will pay The Copyeditor’s Desk’s going rate of 4 cents a word, just to get me to read their golden copy and advise.

For the current client, what I’m doing, really, is instructing: essentially teaching the guy creative writing techniques at about the university sophomore of junior level. This is pretty easy for me…because of course it’s what I spent 15 years doing at the Great Desert University. It crossed my mind, as I was contemplating that project, that I could actually offer to teach people creative writing, along with editing their copy. And that would be worth paying 4 cents a word for.

Or more. Whatever the market would bear.

The problem is, I’d need to find folks who crave so much to give their golden words to the dark and the waiting sky that they’re willing to pay for the privilege.

Well, here in Amazon’s Self-Publishing Dystopia, the woodwork is crawling with writer’s groups, some small and some large. This weekend one meets downtown, at a coffeeshop associated with the Episcopal Cathedral — and one can (usually) park for free in the Cathedral’s lot.

To engage oneself with this group, one has to send in 1500 of one’s golden words for members to read and critique, and then print out a half-dozen copies for the purpose.

Do I want to do this?

Hm. The cave beckons (don’t leave me, humann!)

Well, I could send them the current chapter of Ella’s story, which no, I have not updated since I sank into the current slough of despond. It’s actually about 1800 words, if you count the blurb at the top. Close enough, I reckon.

How much explaining do I want to do, though? Do I seriously want to tell a passel of wannabe writers that I consider publishing stuff on Amazon to be a colossal waste of time and effort, and that I publish my stuff for free at my website, where it probably garners more readers than books on Amazon get? Do I really want to tell them that if you want to succeed as a writer you have to succeed as a marketer, and that if I wanted to spend my time marketing, I’d be making a decent living selling ad space for magazines, peddling cars for Toyota, or hawking refrigerators and stoves?

Not. so. much.

Well, I really don’t know. As you can see by the length of this squib, I’m having quite enough trouble bestirring myself to get off my duff and drive to a credit union & a grocery store.


Done In and Dogged Out

LOL! If it’s not one dawg it’s another.

Well, that’s not funny, given how sick poor old Cassie has been.

Actually, Cassie is presently somewhat better, other than having come completely unhouse-trained. She now poops and pees wherever and whenever she pleases. Fortunately, it’s usually on the pee pads I put in her favorite locales — something that’s getting pretty pricey, since I have to pick up and replace four to six of them a day. But sometimes it’s on the bathroom or bedroom rugs. Yay. At any rate, she doesn’t appear to be feeling as bad as she did.

Which is not to say she appears to be feeling well. I’d guess she’s running at about 80%…maybe 90% on a really good day. Whatever happened to her doesn’t appear to be about to go away.


Last night Ruby started barfing spectacularly. She apparently ate something that made her good and sick. It soon became apparent that this was not a life-threatening thing…but by “soon” we mean sometime after midnight.

Ruby and Cassie both are in the habit of “harvesting” mummified oranges that fall off the trees and dry up, often after having been chewed out by the roof rats. They bring these crispy treats into the house, hide them in the bathroom, and crunch them up into crumbs. What a mess to clean up!

Well, they’ve never made either dog sick before, but apparently this time one of them did.

The real concern, though, when a dog starts barfing, is that we have some nut cases around here — apparently among the drug-addled vagrant population — who have been known to throw poison treats over people’s fences, thereby killing their dogs. It’s a strategy used by burglars, but neighbors have reported having small, harmless dogs targeted. So given both dogs’ corgi-esque love of yapping, of course an unexpected, apparently reasonless barfing attack causes some worry.

By 2 or 3 in the morning, though, her stomach calmed down and she seemed OK. Come the light of dawn, she was fine. Fed her hamburger (cooked) and rice this morning and again this evening: she seems to have recovered.

I, however, have yet to recover from the three-hour night. 😀

Today I managed to get a new chapter of Ella’s Story on-line. Not quite by the self-imposed deadline…but only a day late. Since no dollars are concerned, we need not add the dollah-short part.

But this was accomplished, I’m afraid, not by actually finishing the chapter as conceived, but simply by spotting a natural pause and cutting it off there. Between the sick dogs and my natural laziness and a general feeling of overwhelmed-itude, the truth is I’m not applying myself to this project for the enough hours a day to make the required progress. One of the things it illustrates, though, is how amazing those late 19th-century and early 20th-century writers were, in their ability to produce novels on the installment plan. Dickens, for example…and Poe, I believe, among many others, would write segments of novels for periodicals. And of course, they had deadlines, just like a journalist does.

Having amused myself as a magazine journalist for a good 15 years, I can assure you that a journalistic deadline is one helluva lot easier to meet than one that requires you to make stuff up and then turn your imaginings into something believable. Or at least more or less readable. A workaday magazine or newspaper article pretty much writes itself, growing like crabgrass out of your interviews and research online and in print sources. A piece of fiction? Not so much…

To my intense annoyance, I discovered that somehow WordPress had disappeared Chapter 11. I know I put it online, because I remember the images I posted with it, and because those images still lurk in the “Media Library.” So I had to reconstruct that, yet another time-killer.

One advantage Poe and Twain and Dickens and all those had over us wretches in the Digital Age is that all they had to do was write the damn stuff. They didn’t have to publish it, too. They had…oh, does anyone remember them?…publishers who edited and typeset and designed and laid out and illustrated and proofread and printed and distributed their work. Today those who imagine they will find great fame in self-publishing have to do all that themselves. And none of us is qualified to do all those things well.

Not by a long shot. Nor does having to devote half to three-quarters of your time to jobs you don’t want to do and aren’t really trained to do leave enough hours for you to do what you do want to do and what maybe you’re good at: to write. I am so very tired of spending hour after hour after hour in digital ditz! Just to create a table of contents for the 33 chapters I’ve put online in Ella’s Story required me to do 297 mind-numbing, repetitive, tedious computer operations today. That’s not counting the typos, which in having to be redone probably expanded that number by about 10 percent.

I un-friended the FB writer’s group I’ve belonged to for the past two years or so. That was too bad, because each week they give you a chance to publish some magnum opus…which has conveniently allowed me to publicize my emittances with some regularity. Haven’t noticed any increase in sales, though.

What I have noticed, however, is this 7th-grade mean girl they’ve picked up. She’s very, very nasty. Today she took aim at me. My response to that is simple enough: fuckyouverymuch. I don’t hang around where I’m not wanted, so off I went. That, we might add, will be one fewer electronic time-suck. I don’t know whether organizers of those groups try to moderate them, or if they even can — this one is quite large. But evidently someone needs to.

And now for something completely different… Did you know that you can still read books?

No, I mean real books, the things shaped like boxes with this hinge-like strip along one edge to which pieces of paper are attached.

The Brothers Grimm

Couple months ago, I’m at the Costco and I happen to spot this old-fashioned-looking hardback with an embossed cover and gold-leaf print: Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales.

WTF!?! Last time I saw that book, it was at my great-grandmother’s house in Berkeley, back in another century when normal people could afford to live in Berkeley. It is a beautiful little production, published by some outfit called Canterbury Classics, out of San Diego. Gosh.

So for old time’s sake, I bought the thing. Stuck it on the nightstand and went off and forgot it.

One evening I started browsing through it and was reminded of what a hoot the original Grimm’s tales were. This is great stuff! And perfect bedside reading, when you’re so tired you can barely lift the dogs onto the sack. They’re very short, pretty light (in a strange and sometimes not-so-light way), and none of them require a sustained attention span.

So the other day I’m back at Costco and what do I find but a whole SLEW of these Canterbury Classics! Hot diggety! How can I leave them alone?

Yes, I know: Impulse Buy Hell. But hey: how often do you get to buy embossed hard-cover books with gold-leaf print all over them?

Grab Bulfinch’s Mythology and, by god, the original Thomas Burton’s Arabian Nights.

This stuff is too, too good. It is going to keep me amused for weeks. Maybe even months.

And so, to bed…


Ruby the Corgi Pup. © 2014 The Copyecditor’s Desk, Inc.

The Brothers Grim: Public Domain,

Frontispiece to Burton’s Arabian Knights. By Adolphe Lalauze (1838-1906) – A plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights entertainments, now entitled The book of the thousand nights and a night Vol. 1, Public Domain,

Time flies…damn fast!

Woo HOO! There’s a book hiding in this pile of pills!

Tempus fidgets, as my mother used to say. She and about a million others in the Greatest Generation, I’m sure. True that, though: time passes so fast you don’t even notice it going by.

Yesterday, for example, I didn’t notice it was Wednesday. Thought it was Tuesday. Along about sundown it happened to occur to me that a whole day had disappeared. 😀 Tossed a blurb from Asked up online, but never did much else, partly because we had another sharp storm in the evening that threatened to blow down trees and power poles.

Just wrote that little piece on Quora — “Did You Ever Walk Out on a Doctor (because he was disrespectful…).” And right off the bat, it attracted something over 200 “likes” — a kind of a record. Since it went over so well there, I decided to add it to the Asked collection.

Another essay — on getting out of an abusive relationship — is closing in on 1,000 likes. Can you imagine?

In the middle of this, up pops a message from a client: did I receive the paper he’d sent me to edit?

Uhmmmm…well, nooooooo….

Turns out the damn MacMail decided out of the blue to route messages from this guy into “Junk Mail.” This was several days ago. He sent me a new copy before I could find the original among the 105 unread messages in “Junk,” the 174 derailed to “Trash,” and the 415 (!!!!) in  the “Facebook” folder.

Holy shit! There is simply NO way anyone could possibly keep up with that tsunami.

Tuesday was one long struggle through the heat and humidity to stay focused on writing the proposal for the Drugging of America book. On reflection, I realized Chapter 1 covered way too much ground, and that I needed to break it into three chapters. That took most of the day.

So I now have three new chapters — for a total of 17, plus the introduction, plus the references section, plus a resources section. And now I have to revise the chapter outline. Whee!

But by the end of today, most of the proposal was drafted. Still have to write a self-aggrandizing bio, but otherwise the most difficult parts of that thing are done. Tomorrow I’ll finish the body of the proposal, revise the chapter outline, and get the thing ready to send off. I hope.

My plan is to send one proposal to one university press — the one I think most likely to publish this book. Then when (which is usually the case: when not if) they reject, I’ll send out a half-dozen at a time until someone bites.

And I think they will. This really is a great idea for a book, one whose time has arrived. And there isn’t much competition. Other than Barbara Ehrenreich’s latest eloquent rant, that is.

But the advantage I think mine has is that it isn’t an eloquent piece of creative nonfiction cum seat-of-the-pants reporting. This is a book that could be — easily — used as a reading in a number of college courses. And not just in pharmacy or nursing. The proposal will suggest courses — real courses that I’ve tracked down at universities — in public policy, nursing, and pharmacy, plus a combined program that leads to an MD and a master’s in journalism.

Texts that sell in college courses, as you can imagine, are the sine qua non of academic publishing. Sell a book to one professor, and you sell upwards of a dozen copies a semester. If it’s a decent undergraduate course — as you can bet will be the case in colleges of nursing — you’ll unload upwards of 30 copies per section. A required lower-division course? Hundreds of copies. Every semester. At a stiff price.

I was still getting substantial royalties from The Essential Feature 10 years after the thing went to press…because every professor who ordered it for a course spawned 30 or 60 sales. Per semester.

So…that’s how I hope to sell this book.

However it flies, the thing is not going on the trash-heap that is Amazon.

Selling your squibs on Amazon is fine as a hobby. That’s essentially what my little scribbles are — the FireRider series and the diet/cookbook thing and the various other stuff. Taken together, they generate about $5 a month. When the weather’s  good. But pretend as much as you would like that you’re “in business” to sell the stuff: it’s still self-published. You can’t get a newspaper or magazine to review it for love nor money, nor do you have much chance of persuading a bookstore or a library to pick it up. And it certainly is not going to end up on some professor’s syllabus!

Another day has slipped by. I’m exhausted! Going to bed, before it starts to rain again…

Of iPhones and Spinning Wheels and Ella’s Story

Ever have one of those days when your wheels are spinning nonstop for about 18 hours? Or you feel like your nose has been pressed to the grindstone all day but it comes off not sharpened but duller than when you started?

I feel like I’ve been working steadily but have accomplished almost nothing. But really, that’s not true. By the end of the day, this week’s installment of Ella’s Story managed, somehow, to get finished and posted. As of yesterday evening, I had an idea where it was going but no idea how to get there.

LOL! Is this what one of my late, great editors used to call, crabbily, “backing into the story”? Maybe I need one of those guys back today, to snap the whip! 😀

Cranking fiction on a deadline is not easy. Nonfiction? A magazine or newspaper article? Nooo problem. You start with all the facts and you know how to tie them into the who-what-when-where-why-and-how rope. Your only hold-up is landing interviews. But fiction…you may have a vague idea where you’re going with it, but often — make that usually — you don’t have the specifics. You have to make them up. And that, heaven help you, is actual work.


Oh, but sooo many opportunities to procrastinate! What? Me, work?

§ The big potted ficus plant — a six-foot-high tree, really — the one that fell over in the most recent storm, was so traumatized that now it’s dropping its leaves. At first I thought it had dessicated somehow. Maybe the irrigation dripper that goes to its pot broke somehow when the thing crashed to the ground and got bashed by the downpour? But I don’t think so. So: four possibilities:

a) Somehow it actually did get dried out and, of course, in this crazy heat, could not survive any degree of dehydration.
b) Somehow it got overwatered. Ficus hates to be overwatered.
c) It got shocked when it fell over and whacked on the paving. Ficus will drop their leaves if you move them into a new room. Slamming it on the ground have unnerved the thing.
d) It has a disease or fungus.

The first three events, it can survive. The fourth: not so much. All one can do, though, is watch it and see what happens. This is not a good time for it to lose its leaves, since it the shade it provides shelters a roomful of cherry furniture from the morning sun glaring in through an east-facing Arcadia door.

§ Amazing article in The New Yorker…reminiscent of a friend’s life story. Had to read the whole, very long thing…then send it along to her. Took half the morning. But I drank a lot of good coffee and munched a lot of good chocolate in the process…

§ Credit union has informed us that it’s revamping its online presence. This warning, of course, is the equivalent of screaming DUCK FOR COVER! in a crowded room. The alarm is heightened by their telling us that we’d better download and save six months’ worth of transactions. Just in case.

Well. Of course that took for-freaking-EVER. God, how I hate messing with that kind of digital ditz! In the course of it, I discovered about $600 in the medical savings account, which either was transferred there by accident during the last C.U. fuck-up or, for reasons unknown, did not get applied to debt to the Mayo. Probably the latter: chances are I paid it out of cash flow without remembering to replenish the checking account from that savings account. And that would explain why I ran out of money two months early this year…

§ Cleaning! Pick up the mess. Wash the dog blankets. Clean the kitchen. If I use the leaf blower to blower the loose dog hair out of the garage, will the dog hair actually get ejected and blown down the driveway to the street, or will it just go airborne, float around in there, and then settle back to the floor?

§ And, totally NOT least, the cell phone issue.

I’ve decided that I probably want to buy an iPhone and feed it with TracFone minutes. Supposedly, the iPhone is relatively easy for old people to learn to use. And TracFone’s by-the-minute plan has worked well with the cheapo model I’ve been carrying around for automotive emergencies. And the price: enormously right.

TracFone is selling four iPhones for relatively reasonable prices. Apparently if you’re willing to settle for an older model, you do NOT have to pay a grand to get your hands on one.

If you don’t use the phone a lot, TracFone has a lot to recommend it. No monthly payments, and pretty much what you see is what you get: no little surprises to blindside you. I’ve been using it for the throw-away phone for a couple years now: totally hassle-free, as opposed to the endlessly annoying T-Mobile. You only need to pay for as much service as you’re likely to use. TrackFone’s current “bargain” iPhone comes with 750 minutes and 1,000 texts to use over 60 days. Well, that’s about ten times as much of either of those things as I would need.

Apple offers classes in the use of the iPhone, so my plan is to go over there tomorrow, study the phones and the prices there, ask if you HAVE to have bought the phone from Apple directly to get into their classes, and then make a decision.

Cox is gouging me $117 a month for land-line service that is questionably reliable and guaranteed to go down when the power’s out. And with their damned modem, I can’t attach my fancy call blocker that was working so amazingly well. And of course, Cox is resisting NoMoRobo with all its corporate strength: they simply refuse to provide it. As for the iPhone? There’s a NoMoRobo app!

Said app is not well liked by Fanboys. However, Apple also has an app called “RoboKiller,” which IS very well reviewed. Actually, it’s more than just well reviewed…it sounds delicious. Check out this one:

This is an awesome service.
Nov 9, 2017

I forwarded my calls a while back to the service when I first signed up because I was having a real issue with getting a lot of spam phone calls. I said it and basically forgot about it. Recently I had reason to go to the application to look it up because I had a question about something and I came across all of the phone calls that were blocked and many of them with a voicemail messages. When I listened to the voicemail messages, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Some of the recorded voicemail messages that were saved or absolutely hilarious. Since these spam callers call me and waste my time every time they get me on the phone, I have to admit I took a little bit of pleasure and wasting their time right back. They were actually trying to have conversations with the bots and they weren’t giving up. Meaning the spam callers. And I could hear the uncertainty in their voices and some of the conversations and it was friggin hilarious. When I listened to all the voicemails, I swear I just wanted to throw my arms around these guys at RoboKiller and give them a big hug. Best freaking service I’ve come across in a long time and well worth the money and the results are literally hilarious. If you were having problems getting a lot of unwanted phone calls, I absolutely and wholeheartedly recommend this service. You seriously need to check this out. These guys are geniuses. Some of those voicemails just had me rolling in tears.

THE must have app!
May 19, 2018

Without a doubt, Robokiller is the most invaluable, user-friendly and entertaining app available today. I was inundated with daily calls me from companies I ordered something from a decade ago. I couldn’t block them because they always called from a different number. Now, thanks to Robokiller, not only am I not bothered by these calls, I get a taste of sweet revenge. Unsolicited calls are automatically answered by any one of the 43 (and growing) “people” you select to take the call; from someone hard of hearing to someone in the midst of a crisis. All the pre-recorded performances are spot on and truly funny. Every time a solicitor tries, hopelessly, to communicate with one of the recordings, you can play it back, save it, even share it with friends. You can also record your self answering the phone, and, after years of hearing the same sales pitch, I’ve made recordings of myself so in synch with their pitch, I can have them going in circles for five minutes and thinking they’re talking to someone. Really, I cannot say enough about this brilliantly conceived and well designed app.

Hee HEEE! If that’s any indication, the app alone may be worth the phone’s price!

I’m now spending $1400/year on the land line that is no longer a land line and that goes out when the power’s down (i.e., when you’re most likely to need to make an emergency call!). Once the phone is paid for (and the business can afford it, no problem), TracFone costs between $7 and $30 a month, depending on the number of minutes you choose to buy over time. Seven bucks will get you 60 minutes’ worth for 90 days. And $25 buys 500 minutes for 60 days. I would be very surprised if I spend an hour on the phone over the course of a month. My son hates talking on the phone, and most people stay in touch through email.

That’s a far cry from $117 a month!

My plan is to get the proposed iPhone. Keep the clamshell phone I use for car emergencies, which is absurdly cheap, but have “minutes” only for the iPhone. Then buy several more of the cheapo clamshell phones, keep them charged, and set the cheapies in strategic places around the house for emergency use only. By law all phones have to be able to call 911, whether they’re connected to a “plan” or not. So…given the concern that I might fall and bust my hip, my idea is to set a cheapie phone on or near the floor in every room in the house. Most of the rooms have cabinets that have shelves or drawers near the floor. Those that don’t…I can just set one of these things unobtrusively under piece of furniture, or in pot of fake flowers. There are a ton of places to set these things where no one would notice them but I would know where they are.

And then… Good-bye land line!