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Friday, January 14, 2011

And if my Day Keeps Goin' this Way I just Might Break Somethin' Tonight...

It is 14 Friday 2011, and I hereby verify that three of my New Year’s resolutions (NYRs) lasted a personal record of two weeks. I made three, two of which are still alive and which tomorrow will set a lifelong longevity record for my NYRs: one, to try to stop using the F-word in hopes that TNYT will add me to their blogger-roles; two, to make my body look less like cottage cheese and more like Mathew McConaughey’s (whoever that is-I had to do a web search because other than Sarah Palin I could not think of a great body that you would all know. I hope you have a mental image of this dude-he’s on the web). The third, to quit being angry at everything, lasted until an hour ago. I need an Anger Anonymous so that I can share and stuff and have chosen you as my AA.

See, it all compounds like last year’s snows on my roof; I just can’t take it very long before I slip back and just want to go break something. Normally, when I anger up, I hit golf balls at the yellow cat who hangs out in the sun on the rusted trailer frame out past the fence, but lately it’s too damned cold to hit anything. Oh, no animals were hurt in the making of this life either- if I were good enough to hit a cat from 80 yards, I would be on the Super Senior Tour. All you cat lovers can rest easy about my backyard-cat. Oh, yeah I got off track on the cat-anger-diffuser; so you see, rage builds up and up until finally fuses fry, wires wilt, circuits conflagrate, the motherboard melts, and I simply froth like a Tassimo Brewbot (Gawd how many bought that coffee maker thinking it would actually serve and talk). Now that this resolution about remaining unhammered, calm, detached, aloof from the vile world is bust, here’s a list of what galls me, for today, in ascending order of miffability.

1. Gasoline is 3.07 a gallon, a quart of oil 4 bucks, in a nation that is out of work. I know and can prove that the price is controlled not by supply and demand but by hedge funds and other speculators in the oil and gas markets. And that is what we get for turning our national wealth over to Wall Street. Folks, in case you haven’t noticed, the dudes and dudettes speculating commodity prices really don’t give a damn what gasoline prices are. They are probably taking a train to work from Connecticut or driving in an Escalade so what’s another dollar a gallon to them?

2. Three years ago last September, I paid a local business to provide a service. It did a pitiful and possibly fraudulent job doing it, creating financial harm and stress to me. I took it to court. I went to JP Court three times, an arbitration with a local barrister, and finally to the Court of Common Pleas, five times, not to mention trips for help with my kind and true lawyer. NOT ONE juro-person has seen the evidence that supports my claim to damages. Finally, at the end of 2010, I received a judgment in my favor for partial damages. Today, I was on the phone for one hour between the sheriff’s office and the court trying to get someone to either give me clue about how to collect the judgment. I would have been most tickled to have someone answer the phone. How in the world can a citizen call a court and find no one is there? Finally, after doing Russian roulette with the court’s phone directory, I got to talk with a human being, alas she was not the human being who could help me but was nice enough to transfer me to a human who could help. No answer. I left a message. No wonder crooks, con artists, unsavory auctioneers get away with ripping off the public, every day; the courts are Dickensian, most lawyers, mine gratefully excepted, can make more money in no time doing a 2000 dollar DUI than they can helping a citizen dig for a slice of justice. At my second date at JP Court (the first was cut short because the judge was hot), my opponent decided arbitrarily and without the knowledge of his attorney not to show up in court despite having his motion for a continuance denied. The JP made a summary judgment in my behalf; the defendant’s attorney appealed; the JP concluded on supposition that the upper court would throw it back to him; he rescheduled another date. When we adjourned, the JP did NOT censure or scold the defendant for his refusal to show in court. In fact, when I got fed up with the JP’s logic for rehearing my case, I withdrew my claim in that court. The JP apologized to the defendant for his inconvenience, his inconvenience when he had defied a court order with immunity. I moved the civil suit up a court to Common Pleas which set a date for August 2010 for the trial; I got my day in court in October. We were there all day, were asked to submit our summations in writing in seven days, and got my decision in December without 500 pieces of evidence being seen. The judge was fair, but I suspect that I will not see one nil of the award because I will not be able to penetrate the offending corporation for much of nothing.

3. A year ago, I got on a crusade about the costs of insurance here in the great republic of Delaware. We have an insurance commissioner who is elected and whose job is to make sure that those insurance companies who provide mandatory insurances, car and home, do not plunder the public. In the middle of the worst economic times and over 15 months, the insurance commissioner granted Nationwide, my carrier, 14.6 percent gross increases in car insurance rates to Nationwide. No my goesintos are pretty weak but 14.6 percent that were doled out from 3 to 4.6 percent in several months works out to be better than 20 percent increase. When I emailed the insurance commissioner about what criteria that she used to support their request for increases, I got a patronizing blurb about what it takes for a business to stay in business and no answer to my questions. When I asked what criteria Nationwide used, I was informed that I could not have it because it was proprietary. When it was suggested by one bureaucrat that it was my entire fault because I did not shop smartly, I asked for the rate increases granted to other insurance carriers over the same time period. She told me that all the companies were in individual files and that their office did not have time to do the research. I wrote back, cool, give me just State Farm, Allstate, Geico, and Progressive. She wrote back that she would see what she could do. Three months passed, and when I got no help, I wrote to her and cited Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act. That didn’t work either. Now comes a better part: the entire email exchange was cc’d to Biff and Bob my legislators in Dover and to the insurance commissioner herself. Evidently, Biff and bob don’t care about a constituent unless they agree with the constituent; they offered no help. Then, I sent the entire batch of correspondence to the legislative chair of the insurance commission who emailed back that he would see what he could do. He did nothing; it was a year ago right now when I started all this. I should have known better to make that NYR- my home owner’s insurance bill came in yesterday- up 218 dollars in one year while the value of my home is down more than 20 percent. Biff and Bob, do your job.

4. And last, blood-pressure-spiking-anger-moment of the day. I received my Social Security prognosis for 2011; the Consumer Price Index, according bureaucrats, did not go up in 2010, so there will be no cost of living adjustment in my check (see above under gas, cornflakes, and insurance). Heck, I know the country is hurting, and I could accept that an increase is not in order but just say it, say it- we are broke and can’t give you a raise. That I can take, but don’t give me CPI-garbage. CPI is linked to costs of cars and homes too- if you are on SS you are not buying a car, probably, and speaking for myself I ain’t in the market for a new home anytime in the near future. And while I am on this topic, you just quit calling them entitlements. I paid a share; my bosses paid a share; if the government hadn’t dipped into the funds for every war and every other misbegotten program SS would be ok. I feel the same way about calling Medicare an entitlement; I paid into that too and just like SS had no choice in the amount whacked out of my pay check every-other-week; don’t give me entitlement; SS and Medicare are a poor man’s insurance from going into the street or under the Route 13 bridge. If they didn’t pull enough out of my pay to cover me, it is NOT my fault.

I have to credit Limp Bizkit for my title; I wanted a shorter title about being angry, but I like the group’s name so much that I stuck with a line from their “Break Stuff.” There were better lines, but in the spirit of keeping New Year’s Resolution-One, I used a non-vulgar one. Oh well, I am trying to be good. No f$@#% or s*&^% or b*$%^@# in here today. Hey,if you are in Georgetown, look for me; I will be pingponging from court to court trying to find justice.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm so Damn Bored I'm Going Blind (title by Raoul)

OK, OK, OK- I fully apprehend that I am late blogging, but what with the snow and the cold sort of keeping me from outdoors’ home-improvements, a recalcitrant Ford Ranger that defies common-sense repair (new UV joints did not work to displace the violent, metallic flapping that occurs when I deaccelerate), ads from Jos. A Bank-buy-2-get-one-free-or-buy-three-and-get-a-small-Yugo-for-free-commercials, and interminable chatter about iPods, I am immeasurably bored, way past hope. I have lost 203 consecutive games of hearts to a computer that is as rigged as a Big Ten crew of officials; I have hung and relocated and re-hung a dozen minor works of art (Is there a Martha Stewart guide on how to hang art, properly? Why doesn’t my home look like hers?); I have over-valiumed because of Joe Scarborough, Glenn Beck, Chris Matthews; I have made a list of completely stoopid utterances from reporters making skads of money regardless of intelligence ( My list-topper so far- “ And no change is good change.” An idiotic observation about the poor congresswoman shot in Tucson). But late last night after watching Ducks get eaten by Tigers (Why not kick a field goal, Kelly? How much do you make at Oregon?), I think I fell upon an answer to my ennui: eBay.

You know, dear reader, that I have been addicted to eBay for some time, and as a result, my garage and basement are replete with golf clubs, drivers I cannot, not, hook, putters which, even after I rub them with the hind-leg-bone of a one-eyed, black cat, will not make a single, three foot putt. I swore after the last Srixon-iron-set (That’s a mouthful) bought as a Hanukkah-gift to myself that I would give up eBay until late August of 2030 (Gawd, can you imagine 2030 and the squid-storm which will belong to your kids and grandkids? But that is, again, another story). However, last night, still pumped from watching football and unable to engage with Morpheus, I found myself staring at the computer monitor, listening to a cyber-hummer on an over-priced Acer, just staring, in anticipation of something, anything, one more thing. Then I thought of eBay's search engine, wow.

Ebay has thirty-five categories which one can search, from Antiques to Everything Else (I realize that these category-titles should, probably?, be in quotation marks, but you know, my typing sucks, easier to go back and highlight to italicize them) with Collectibles having approximately thirty-five sub-categories, though I do not know why Whole Sale Lots is collectibles (damned, number-problem here I am sure). So, I selected Health and Beauty, since I am in desperate need of some. Clicked and in the search window typed in elephant. I do not know why, but the word just bolted right there to the front of my typing-brain. Last night, there were 150 elephant entries under Health and Beauty, 150. NEW VERA BRADLEY HANGING ORGANIZER PINK ELEPHANT was the first and BINB 3 X LARGE SWEET HAIR CLIPS ELEPHANTS RABBITS CATS was the last. Cool, huh? There was a listing for 1 lbs Indonesian PRICKLY LEAVED ELEPHANT’S FOOT Herbs Buy It Now- 34.99 Free Shipping. This latter item caught my eye because, at first glance, it surely looked like 1 lbs of elephant-dung, not that I wouldn’t want elephant-dung to rub on my putters. This exotic herb comes from Indonesia, and its being on eBay is a testament to global economies.

Then I scrolled to the bottom of the page to check out Weird Stuff a category under which lay Adult Only (see if it is ADULT it’s got to be weird, right? Not adult but weird. Where in the world does eBay put Teenager Only?) In the pull down menu on the Weird Stuff page are the listing : Slightly Unusual, Really Weird, and Totally Bizarre. At this point, I am fully alert, not sleepy a tad, fired up from searching. Naturally, I clicked on Totally Bizarre and typed in knee. One hit: REAL HUMAN BONE SKELETON LEG KNEE FOOT SCIENCE; it had one bid for 49.99 with a shipping and handling fee of 16.99/ economy. The seller, patina-picker, claims that the skeletal limb is more or less from the Science or Anatomy Department froma (sic) Closed-Down College. I had to resist tremendously not to bid; rubbed up and down the shafts and faces of my putters, this combination of joints and bones would have to have a special magic. Next, in the same category, I cheated a bit then searched for fart thus revealing 176 hits: FANNY BANK FARTING COIN DROP BANK, $13.90 was one. When I was in Key West many years ago, I saw several really attractive women do wonderful things with coins, but farting with them was not one. Remote Controlled Fart Machine, $ 4.99, probably won’t sell though because the seller did not do the write up in all caps. Also, the seller was selling an eight track of carols and bible songs. No kidding. I do not want to wear farts out, but I have to share this last find: 120 DOZEN FART BOMB S BAG joke trick farting joke items, $129.00, s/h $24.99, 5 available. Simply break small liquid pack inside bag, toss near victim, and head in other direction. Bag will instantly expand until it can hold no more gas and BOOM!!!! You’ve got enough bombs here to keep the stink rolling for days. Who says American ingenuity is dead, that we do not produce anything in Merica anymore? Folks, that’s 1440 fart bag bombs. You can only imagine the fun.

After reading the fart-instructions and daydreaming some about where I could use these, I decided to try one more search before retiring. I clicked on Business & Industrial and typed in extractor. Nine hundred and eighty-eight extractors later, I was ready for bed. Williams S-60D stud extractor NEW, and Clarke- EXT Carpet 441 Extractor Used, 200.00, 136.03, (talk about precision, the freight is down to the penny) were two of the first extractors I saw. Now you know where to go it you want to suck some studs out of the wall or your carpet off the floor. But I had to look for something over which to dream. Health Care, Lab & Life Science was the spot: 5 I.U.D. EXTRACTOR HOOK OB/ GYNECOLOGY Instruments 10”, I guess these are for the do-it-yourselfer? And better yet, Femoral Head Extractor Orthopedic Instruments new brand, 49.99 BUY IT NOW, Free Shipping. What a bargain for you the next time you want to remove your femoral head. But WAIT! There’s one more: Laparoscopic internal 10 MM Staple Extractor, 135.00, BUY IT NOW, $7.20 s/h. Aren't these searches informative? For sure, we are moving to reduce health care costs; our docs are getting instruments from eBay. Damn.

See, I told you that I found a way to be unbored, and I did not even go into all the new words I learned while reading the descriptions in the auctions. Go ahead. Beat the winter blues and search eBay for fun and relaxation.

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