Category Archives: Opinion

Kroger is at it again

Some years ago, I wrote a post on how Kroger’s have a nasty habit of putting yellow tags on items that are not being discounted. They’re still doing it, but now they have kicked things up a notch.

First of all, They have installed new card-readers on their POS terminals that do not give you a choice of credit or debit. When you swipe a card, they check if your card is a debit card. If so, they force you to process the transaction as a debit. This is almost understandable; debit has much lower transaction fees than credit, as well as having different legal ramifications. Personally, I would have liked to have been given a choice.

But Wait! There’s More!

That alone is not a major issue, more of a minor annoyance that I can live with. What really ticks me off is that they are now trying to con us out of a few pennies more by charging us transaction fees on Cash Back.

Stupid Tax

At first, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Then I realized that they were actually trying to make a little money off of something that we have been getting for free. This flies in the face of Wizard Prangs Law of Freebies:

Once someone becomes used to getting something for free, they will fight tooth-and-nail to keep it.

Thanks but no thanks. None of the other stores are doing this; so in future I will remember to hit an ATM, or shop somewhere else that does not charge for this service.

When Health Insurers Practice Medicine

2019 was not the best year for me

In the middle of the year, I had to change employers, which meant new health insurance. I have a family member who has some health issues which require expensive medications, so we normally meet our deductible a few months in, finish up our copay a few months after that, and pay nothing at all during the last few  months of the year.

However, in 2019, getting new insurance meant that my deductible reset to zero in the middle of the year, and I had to start paying full price all over again, which cost me thousands of dollars in unanticipated costs. As if that was not bad enough, the new health insurance was not only about twice as costly as the old one.

This new insurer was truly horrible. To save money, they kept refusing to cover the brand-name medications that has been prescribed , and replaced them with cheap generics that were often ineffective. One such medication is Singulair, a Brand-name asthma medication that is seriously expensive. The generic did not work, so I had to pay full price for the brand-name medication. This had never been a problem with the old insurance company, but the new one kept refusing to cover medications that we had been using for years, and generally giving us the run-around. To add insult to injury, they insisted switching to three-month prescriptions in the middle of December, knowing that we would be on a new plan on January 1st. And they wanted $600 for a three -month supply of Singulair. It was cheaper for me to pay out about $250 for a one-month supply of Singulair that was not covered by Insurance at all. As they say in England, “Merry Bleedin’ Christmas”.

On one of the many occasions that I was forced to call them, I was told that several different generic versions were available and that we should try them and find one that works. I am reluctant to do this; my family is not a beta-testing lab for an insurance company looking for ways to save money. If they want us to do their quality assurance testing for them, they should be paying us for the privilege, or at the least, providing us with free samples. For those who believe that generics are just as good as brand-name medications, I recommend that you do some research; at the very least, check out a book called: “Bottle of Lies”

I keep getting phone calls and junk mail informing me about various telemedicine and telehealth services, in which I can get in touch with Doctors and nurses via the telephone or Internet 24/7. While this is a wonderful idea that will become more and more prevalent over time, I am not comforted by the fact that this service is provided, not by healthcare providers, but by my Health Insurance company. In my opinion, this is a conflict of interest, as their primary goal is not to provide better healthcare service (which is not their job; they are an an insurance company, remember?), but to reduce, minimize and eliminate claims.

Bottom line: Health Insurance Companies should not be practicing medicine; they should stick to paying claims.

Nancy, are you listening?

Let’s start with a joke:

  • Knock knock!
  • Who’s there?
  • Jeremy Corbyn
  • Jeremy Corbyn who?
  • A week’s a long time in Politics…

It has been a week since the United Kingdom Parliamentary Election returned the Conservative Party to Westminster with a stunning victory, and handed the Labor party the most crushing defeat in nearly a century. While I am delighted, I cannot say that I am surprised; the commentary that I have heard from British voters has been less about “keeping BoJo in” than it has been about “Keeping Corbyn out“.

Following the awful news, Mr. Corbyn said “I will not lead the Labor party into another general election”. That’s a typically English understatement; barring unforeseen circumstances, the next election is five years away. After the pasting he has taken, I would be surprised if he is still leading the party in five weeks. After all, Margaret Thatcher was ousted by her own party for far less.

Large swathes of lifelong labor voters have held their noses and voted Conservative; many for the first time in their lives. But why did they do it?

Reason #1: Corbyn: Jeremy Corbyn has a documented history as a Marxist. Under him, Labor has embraced such socialist stalwarts as re-nationalizing everything, free education, tax increases (but only for those evil wealthy people, honest!), etc. Many labor supporters, and almost all Conservatives, are aghast at this.

Reason #2; Brexit: Boris Johnson has campaigned on a “Let’s Get Brexit Done” platform. In the past, Corbyn has tried to push for a second referendum, a stance which is highly anti-democratic — if you need a second referendum, then the first was not enough. If one referendum was enough to get us into Europe in the first place, why is it not enough to get us out? And that is the crux of the matter; too many folks are trying to re-write history and overturn the expressed will of the people, with repeated calls for vote after vote until they get the result they wanted in the first place. This isn’t Democracy, it is fascism.

What is interesting is that Scotland moved away from Labour to vote overwhelmingly for the Scottish Nationalist Party, which is pro-remain. So north of the border, at least, it wasn’t about Brexit, it was about Corbyn.

The moral of this cautionary tale? If you allow your party to become hijacked by the hard left, you run the risk of being destroyed at the polls as moderates turn their backs on their party en masse. You have been warned.

Watch This!

All together now: “Smartwatch! HOOH!. What is it good for? Absolutely…” quite a lot, really.

Ever since I was a boy, I have always had a watch. My first was a Timex that I received as a Christmas present at the age of seven. For most of my life I have always sported one on my wrist. One of my most prized possessions is a gold watch that belonged to my father, who passed away some years ago. I wear it on special occasions.

A few years ago, When my last watch — an Accurist — died of old age, I stopped wearing a watch on a daily basis… coincidentally, just around the time when the first Apple Watch came out. I did not care much for the Apple Watch. It was big, it was bulky, it was expensive, and they seemed to be bringing out a new version every year, which was not very encouraging to those who had splashed out hundreds of dollars on something that became obsolescent before its first birthday. Besides, I have always had Android phones, and had no wish to mix devices that were designed to operate in different ecosystems.

One day I found someone selling a Gear S2 online. Turned out that this person was switching from Android to Apple and was thinking the same thing. Long story short, I picked up a gently-used Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch for a very reasonable price ($60, in case you were wondering). Since they were selling for more than 100, I figured that I could sell it if I didn’t like it and make a little profit. As it turned out, i needn’t have worried, as the device has found a place in my heart and my life.

Pass the Remote: The best way I can describe a smartwatch is as a write-mounted remote control for your phone. This particular one talks to an app that runs on the phone that allows you to load add-on apps and faces to the phone, as well as transferring screenshots and pictures to and from the phone. But it is so much more than that…

It’s a watch! It has taken me a while to get used to looking at my wrist when I want to know the time; to this day, I still occasionally pull out my phone. However, the watch has a huge variety of faces. Many can be installed to the watch, and a few of my favorites are shown below:

Some of the watch faces are even customizable, as you can see from the following examples:


It’s a Fitness Band!
I’ve never been much of a fan of FitBits. Not because of anything inherently wrong with them, but because of the kind of people who tend to wear them. Like Starbucks Coffee, I have always associated them with the Trendy Hipster lifestyle. However, this watch allows me to track workouts (such as the occasional bike ride and even-more-occasional run). Which helps me explore the abyss between how much walking I think I did and how much I actually did.

It’s a sleep monitor! If worn all night, the phone can monitor your heart-rate and movement, and hence determine whether or not you are asleep, and whether your sleep is deep, light, or restless.

It’s an Egg Timer!

Yes, really. One of the built-in apps is a countdown timer that I have found useful on all sorts of occasions, from brewing tea to… timing eggs. This is perhaps my most-used feature as I am notoriously forgetful. It comes in especially useful when I am brewing tea.

It’s a Heart Rate Monitor! Of course, as part of its fitness tracking capabilities, it can also continuously monitor your heart rate.

It’s a text tickler! Another neat feature is that you can receive and reply to texts using the watch. This is particularly useful when in meetings, driving, or out and about in inclement weather where you cannot or do not want to take out your phone. The interface is too limited for complicated replies, but most of the time a simple reply is all you need.

Bottom line: perhaps the best sixty dollars I have ever spent.

The Hate is swelling

“Hate” is one of the most overused, misused and abused words in our language. Triggered folks use the term “Hate Speech” to dismiss anything that they disagree with, or makes them feel bad.

  • Disagreement is not hate.
  • Speaking the truth is not hate.
  • Telling someon an unpleasant or inconvenient truth is not hate.
  • Telling someone that they are mistaken, in error, or just plain wrong is not hate

Don’t be lazy. Stop using the word “Hate”, when you actually mean something else.

No Good Deed…

Here’s a story from the Land Down Under.

Kenan Basic, a 36-year-old carpenter, stopped to help a nineteen-year-old woman by the name of Caitlyn Gray, whose car had broken down. He repaired her car, they hugged each other, and she went on her way.

She then went to the police and swore out a complaint accusing him of stalking her, asking her for sex, and groping her.

Mr Basic was then arrested and and charged with indecent assault, and jailed. He was denied bail. He was in jail for a week. He lost his job, and his wife filed for divorce.

Who is this paragon of pulchritude that Mr Basic risked his very liberty to proposition and grope? What does she look like?

When the police could not find any surveillance video or any other corroborating evidence to support her story, they became skeptical. Finally, she admitted that she had made the whole story up.

He was vindicated and released. She was found guilty of “knowingly making a false statement.

She has been jailed for nine months, five of which are mandatory before parole… but unlike him, she was immediately granted bail.

Apparently the presumption of innocence only applies if you are female.

He plans to sue. And he should.

Just Believe

Just believe that Christine Ford was raped! sexually assaulted by Brett Cavanaugh. Even though:

  • She can’t remember where it was…
  • …or when it was…
  • …or how she got there…
  • …or how she got home afterwards…
  • …and she can’t produce one single witness to corroborate her account of what happened…
  • …or answer any of the above questions.

Just believe her.


Just believe Jussie Smollet when he says that he was set upon by white supremacists wearing MAGA hats who beat him, put a “noose” around his neck and poured bleach on him. Even though:

  • No surveillance video in the area showed the crime…
  • …or the perpetrators approaching or leaving…
  • …but they found a pair of Nigerian bodybuilders…
  • …who were associates of Mr Smollet…
  • …who were paid by him (by check) for “personal training”…
  • …and were caught on video buying bleach and rope.

Just believe him.


Just believe the authorities who say that that Jeffery Epstein committed suicide. Even though:

  • He was supposedly in a “suicide-proof” cell…
  • …while on suicide watch…
  • …which had been rescinded less than a week after he last attempted suicide…
  • …with no working cameras in the cell…
  • …and a pair of sleeping guards…
  • …who subsequently falsified the records…
  • …shortly after he agreed to a plea deal where he would agree to name prominent pedophiles.

Just believe them.


Pull the other one, it’s got bells on it.

Barking up the Wrong Tree

This one’s been a long time coming…

The title of the video says it all. “Why Ms Independent can’t find Mr. Right“. There’s the rub; Mr Right isn’t looking for Ms. Independent. He isn’t looking for “Mizz” anything. He is looking for Miss Young, kind, feminine, selfless, and slender. Let’s cut to the tape…

0:05 “Founder of I’m-sick-of-single dot com…”. But… you’re… still… single! Right out of the gate she shows how unqualified she is to give this advice. Why are single women taking advice on marriage from other single women? Come back when you’ve been married for a decade. Maybe then you will have an opinion worth listening to.

0:17 She then shows her true colors with a shout-out to “all my Independent women“. Ladies, quality men do *not* want an “independent woman”. They want a kind, caring, feminine woman who adds value to their life.

0:30 She follows it up with a rambling rant about how women wait on men, with the inference that they shouldn’t have to. Fair point. In a perfect world, women would approach men and ask for the date. I have no problem with that. But they don’t. Why not? Because they don’t want to. Why not? Because women are risk-averse, and rarely, if ever open themselves up to rejection. At risk of sounding sexist, that’s our job.

1:13 “The reason you can’t find Mister Right is not because you’re not beautiful…”. Um, yes it probably is. The sad truth is that most women are attractive enough to marry for about twelve years. Deep down, I think most women understand this, which might explain their stampede for the altar as 30 looms. After that they are attractive enough for commitment-free sex for about another twelve. After that, we’re simply not interested in you anymore, and you have to take what you can get.

1:41 The Scripture reference that she quoted (Proverbs 18:22, in case you were wondering) is disingenuous. She is cherry-picking one verse of scripture and taking it out of context. The flaw in her logic is that she is assuming that every woman is wife material; but there are many verses of scripture that debunk this: for instance  Proverbs 31: “An excellent wife who can find?” confirms that good wives are valuable and RARE. Another is Proverbs 30:20, which speaks to the deceit that so many women practice. This is laugh-out-loud funny; tell women that most men are not husband material and they will enthusiastically agree. But tell them that most of them are not wife material, and one of them will probably get angry enough to run a key down the side of your car.

2:00 “The courage to Flirt First” – Good point. But she fails to point out that the number-one reason why men no longer approach is… other women. Most of us have watched other men’s lives ruined by a vengeful female. Did you really think that #MeToo would not come with unintended consequences?

Also, if you are trying to find a man, get off your phone. I have heard men referring to a woman’s phone as her “digital boyfriend”, and we tend to assume that a “busy” woman with her head buried in her phone is probably checking for hot guys on social media. Husband-material men are not looking for that.

Oh, and “resting bitch face”, as she puts it; is a huge turn-off: if we want a woman who brings joy onto our lives, we’re not crossing the room for a woman who doesn’t know how to smile. Most women want a man who makes her laugh; most men want a woman who brings happiness and joy with her. Show us that you can.

3:00 “Larry the Lame” – aaaand here comes the name-calling. Too often we hear complaints that “Men aren’t masculine anymore”, and now she’s saying that a man who approaches without permission is “Larry the lame”? Make up your mind!

3:20 Then she goes on to say: “I don’t want you to stereotype Larry…” But… you… just… did!

3:30 “Every Larry is lame as it pertains to character” So you can tell a man’s character based solely upon him walking up to you without waiting for an invitation?

4:20: “Gary the Good Guy.. that’s the guy you should be talking to“. I call shenanigans. I used to be that guy. You left us in the friendzone in your early twenties when you went off to have fun. You ignored while you partied their way through your teens and twenties… and only started looking around for him when your looks started to fade. If you want one of these guys, you have to get him early, while you’re young. But you didn’t, did you?

4:50 “You are over online dating” So why were you there? Oh yes, fun and adventures (aka hookups) with hot guys. I rest my case.

5:05: “Half the guys online report to be more interested in more interested in being a hookup than a husband“. Only half? I’m shocked! So half the guys online dating are looking for a wife? I find that hard to believe. Color me surprised. I always assumed that online dating was a meat market. But any road up, if he wants to be a hookup rather than a husband, he does not consider you wife material, and never did, and is using you for pleasure. There is one simple way to weed them out: Don’t sleep with them! Problem solved.

5:18 “…and many of the other guys online misrepresent themselves…” And women don’t? Social media is rife with pictures of women that were taken ten years, thirty pounds and three babies ago. Or so I’m told. And don’t get me started on make-up, artful poses and filters.

Yeah, men are so deceitful.

6:10: “When I interview bachelors, I axe them What is the worst thing you have ever done to a woman you love?” This is intellectually dishonest and one-sided. It is true that running up her credit cards, impregnating another woman and physical abuse are signs of a low-quality man, but sticking with a man who did that is a sign of a low-quality woman, and she never addresses that. Oh, and while you’re at it, why not “axe” the ladies the same question? Probably because you don’t want to hear the answer. Oh, and stop saying “axe” when you mean “ask”!

7:20: “So although he knows you deserve better…” This is bunk. He knows no such thing.  “You deserve better” is something women routinely say to each other, but men universally understand that you deserve what you can get, and nothing more. Ladies, stop talking about what you (think you) deserve.

She then paints a picture of a shy, awkward woman who would rather put up with a bad, abusive manipulative man than have to start again, then ends with “you won’t be home stressed, you’ll be out with the next”.

It all goes downhill from there.

  • She talks at length about how to approach men, but fails to address how to handle the inevitable rejection that too many of these women will face when the approach men who are not interested in them, or men they “choose” who refuse to “chase”.
  • She talks about men appreciating a woman who is strong, confident and charming (“That’s a man, baby!”) and other “equality” twaddle.
  • She then teaches women to use the same “pick-up” game that women seem to universally demonize when men do it.
  • She talks about her “Bae” (who is obviously *not* her husband).

Ladies, if you are serious about finding a quality husband, here is the Wizard’s advice:

  1. Don’t wait. No, you don’t have time, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. The average woman has about twelve years of “hot” (attractive enough to marry), followed by about fifty years of “not”, so the decisions she makes during those twelve years are critical. Yes, there are exceptions; no, you’re probably not one of them. The most cursory of observation shows that too many women misuse that almost-magical power to party through their their teens and twenties with Billy Badboy and his friends, then go looking for Gordon Goodguy when she is “ready for marriage” (by an amazing coincidence, this is usually when Billy and his friends lose interest in her). This plan doesn’t work for diligent, disciplined, dutiful, quality men with options; we want your twenties, so don’t come to us at 35 and offer us bad-boy leftovers. When it comes to long-term commitment, we want to be your first choice, not your last resort.
  2. Stay Slim. Women are generally not attracted to men who are short, puny, lazy or broke. This is natural and reasonable. But women are not the ones who have deal-breakers, and top-quality men, like attractive women, can afford to be picky. Such men are generally not attracted to women who are fat, sassy, bold, brassy, bossy, busy, and selfish. For some reason, those same women with a long list of bullet-points of what constitutes “the perfect guy” find this to be unfair.
  3. Be Real. Nothing says “good men stay away” like tattoos, piercings and unnatural hair coloring. The fewer tattoos and piercings you have, the more likely you will be considered to be potential wife material. Yes, we know you don’t like it. No, we don’t care.
  4. Understand your value. These days it seems that women almost universally overestimate their attractiveness; the cute ones think that they are pretty, the pretty ones think they are gorgeous. Maybe it’s social media, broadcast media, or well-meaning friends and family. But whatever the cause, it has become so bad that “six-nine syndrome” – where a girl is above-average but thinks that she is a drop-dead-gorgeous – is a thing. The reason that this is a problem is because it fools women into pursuing men who are not really interested in them, but may choose to use them for pleasure for a while before discarding them and moving on. You have been warned.
  5. Don’t confuse casual sexual interest with marriage interest. To misquote Forrest Gump: “Marriage is like a box of chocolates; all the good ones are gone first“. And if you wait too long, all that’s left will be some half-eaten toffees and the Nougat that nobody wants. In America, the average female loses her virginity at 15. Men will get physical with promiscuous women, but will not marry them. Understand that if he sees you as promiscuous he will not marry you. Nor should he.
  6. Don’t take advice from people who are just as lost as you are. Too many single women take their advice from other single women. Seek out happily married women. Or better yet, listen to your Granny. She knows what she’s talking about.

Remember Them

Seventy-five years ago this morning, thousands of soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy.

The story of the liberation of Europe began there. Too many other stories ended there.

It is easy to trivialize the event.

It is equally easy to consign it to the ash-heap of history.

This is probably the last major D-Day anniversary in which Veterans of that day will be present.

Most of them are in their nineties, few will survive another decade.

Remember them

 

Anatomy of a Train Wreck

*Warning* Along with a fountain of tears, this video contains copious foul language.

Let’s break this cryfest down, shall we?

  • 0:25 “I am nothing without my following“. Math tip: Nothing plus one hundred thousand followers on Social Media equals… nothing.
  • 0:43 “You are ruining my life because I make all of my money online” Plain English translation: “I found a nice little earner flashing my bits on Social Media for cash and prizes. But now the party is over, I had no plan and no backup. And it’s your fault
  • 0:55 “The 90%ers, the people that work 9 to 5, that is not me. I am in LA to not be like that” = I’m better than you.
  • 1:00 “I have worked soooo hard…” …shaking my bits on social media for cash and prizes.
  • 1:15 “People come after me for no reason and it hurts“. They all had a reason, you just don’t know what that reason is. Perhaps the Internet is not the place for you.
  • 1:20 “This is my life” = I have no life.
  • 2:15 “Nobody loves me. I only have three friends in the world who have not backstabbed me…yet.
  • 2:35 “I have no skills, and $20,000 in debt from college…” So what did you learn at college? Why was it not useful?
  • 3:05: “I used to work at McDonald’s before I did YouTube, Instagram, before I had 100,000 followers, before I had everything in my life, I was a loser…” So people who work at McDonald’s are losers, and people who place their value in the number of followers on Social Media have everything. Riiiight…
  • 3:09 “I have no job qualifications. I could never work a normal job. I am worthless. I bring nothing to the table. I am not work material. I will never be work material. So stop reporting me…” BOOM. There it is.

 


Dear Jessy,

I have no beef with you. I don’t even have an Instagram account. I am not laughing at you, but I am not about to give you sympathy either.

By your own admission, you have no value outside of flashing your bits on Social Media for fun and profit, and good luck to you if you can make a living doing that. But deep down, you must know that the youth and beauty that brings in clicks, eyeballs, and dollars only lasts for so long. The party will not last forever. It never does. And when it does, you will have about fifty years to think about it. So start making yourself useful.

The fact that you have no skills outside of Instagram is telling. But you don’t have a hater problem, and you don’t have an Instagram problem. You have a *you* problem.


Epilogue: she finally got her channel back

What about all the other folks who got banned?