Saturday, January 16, 2010

2746 Sick?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Flip Wilson, as Geraldine: "You don't have to be a thing of beauty to be a joy forever."


I was not very sparkling at dinner last night. Anyone looking at me would have thought I was either tired or sad.

When I got home, I had a heaviness in my upper abdomen; I wondered if something I had eaten was getting nasty at me.

I got to bed about 2 am, and slept very badly, waking at about 8 am and unable to get back to sleep. Do you ever get that feeling of foreboding? I had it.

I feel icky today. I have boosted the thermostat to 78 and put on a long robe over my clothes, but I'm still freezing. The skin in the center of my body feels hot and dry, but the battery thermometer says 98.2, and the old mercury thermometer (which I trust more) says 98.55, so I don't have a fever.

I have pain across the small of my back, above my hips, more on the right than the left. I have a rock of pain under and behind my left ear, from the point of the jawbone to the center of the back of my head. There's pain across my eyebrows. My upper back feels very tired - I can't hold my shoulders back; my shoulders ache, feel like they've been beaten. They curl forward. I slump. My feet smell very salty.

No snuffly nose, though.

I was so cold and miserable that I climbed into bed, fully dressed and under the blankets, at 1 pm, and slept until after 5. There goes the dinner and movie that was scheduled for this evening. I'm not too distressed about missing that. This group is run by guys, and they planned dinner in the food court at the mall, and the movie is "The Lovely Bones". I read the book long ago, and couldn't understand why it was so popular, and then I read a review that didn't make the movie sound any better, so, eh.

I hate feeling like this with no explanation.


Another blogger has written about An Innocent looking to buy a car in New Jersey. The kid was likely to be eaten by sharks.

It reminded me of my shopping for a car for Jay. He had slid on ice and wracked up his Subaru, and we needed a small cheap car ASAP for his commute. We had just received a check from his father for Christmas, so we decided to use that. $X,000 was the absolute limit (I forget what the number was).

I did exactly what what the Innocent above did, but with one slight difference. In the end, I was the shark.

I called every dealer, new and used, in the phone book. I said "I'm calling every dealer in the book, looking for a car. I have exactly $X,000, which must cover all costs. I need a car immediately. What do you have?" I just wanted to find out what was available at that price.

Most offered huge gas-guzzling 10+year-old junkers with high mileage, until a salesman at the Chevy dealership offered a little red three-year-old Chevy Cavalier with less than 60,000 miles on it, that they had just taken in on trade. It was just in, not yet "detailed". Wow.

I reiterated the limit, which would have to include taxes and registration, and the salesman assured me that was the price. I accepted his offer ("I accept your offer of ...") contingent on examination and test drive that afternoon - and then I told him that having called so many dealers and not trusting my notes, I had recorded the conversation (NY requires that only one party be aware of recording), so is there any part of his offer he wanted to amend or rescind? He said no.

We went, we looked, we tapped, tweaked, and prodded, we test-drove, and when it came to the paper-signing part, the manager came over and said that the price of the car was --- a whole bunch more, but "we might be able to bring that down a bit. "

I said, "Is this man (the salesman) authorized to strike a deal?"
Manager, "Yes. You can talk with him."
Me, "Then there's nothing to talk about. We have already agreed on $X,000 total."
Manager, shaking head, "No, we can't possibly sell this car for that."
Me, "You already did. I'm sure you know the legal definition of offer and acceptance. Your man offered it for $X,000, and I accepted, and I have the offer and acceptance on tape. We have already agreed on the price. There is nothing more to discuss."

The look on the manager's face was priceless. The salesman slumped in his seat. We signed the papers, and drove the car off the lot right then, just to make sure we got the whole car, if you know what I mean.

It was an absolutely fantastic deal, seasoned by the knowledge that the salesman had tried to trick us in to see it, and didn't know who he was tricking.

Several years later I sold the car to The Hairless Hunk. It's probably almost 16 years old now, and still running fine.

I wish I was running as well.


Update, 9:00 pm. 99.8. Shivering. Yeah, sick.

Friday, January 15, 2010

2745 Encouraged, Discouraged

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stories are simple sequences of events, plots are about causes, motivation ..., what stories mean. is all stories, and fiction is all plots.....
-- Peter Ho Davies --


On yesterday's post - the gentleman called this morning and asked if he had gotten out of line at all. I said no. He remembers nothing, I hope. Good. It sounds like the small town network works, because several of his friends dropped by his house during the course of yesterday afternoon and evening, and they had a pizza party. I stopped in his office this afternoon and had quite a chat with his daughter while he was conducting business on the phone. He gave me a few glances that seemed to me to be full of concern, but I think we're ok.


On the great under/over toilet paper dispute - I have the definitive answer. If you have young playful animals or children in the house, then it must go under so that when the young'uns bat at it, it won't unroll all over the floor. Otherwise, over. Personally, I don't put it on a wall holder at all. It's much more convenient just sitting on the back of the john.


There are stupid men, and stupid women. I am unhappily coming to the conclusion that the stupid women outnumber the stupid men, and are stupider. I don't want to believe it, but the evidence is overwhelming.

Ethnic dinner in Albany this evening. Eleven people at the table. Total bill was over $300 before tax and tip. Everybody figured up what they owed and put it in the pile. The pile was at least $70 short, before tax and tip. Four or five people had underpaid, but one of them was unbelievable. She said her bill came to $18, so she had put $20 in. Uh, $2 does not cover tax (close to 9%) and tip on $18. The recommendation is 25% of the tab to cover tax and tip, so she was asked to put in another $2.50 on her $18, and she flipped out.

Now, what the others seemed to miss is that she kept saying, "I had only three appetizers!" Hey, folks. The appetizers were $9 each. Then someone asked about drinks, trying to account for all the wine on the tab. The woman said, "Oh, yeah, I had a glass of Chablis." That's another $9. Then someone asked who had the yogurt dip, and she admitted she had asked for it because her whatsis was dry, but she didn't know they were going to charge her for it. That was $4. That's $40 right there, $50 with tax and tip.

Now, get this. She STILL figured she was fine with her $20. "After all," she said, "I only had three appetizers!" She was absolutely pissed that she was asked to put more in, and she all but accused people of trying to get her to cover the shortage of others.

How do you reason with someone like that? Someone who refuses to listen to reason?

I've seen it at almost every dinner where we didn't run separate checks.

I'll remember that the next time I run a dinner with one of my groups.

It's funny, but not surprising, that it's usually the person who comes up short on the tab who blusters that the only fair thing is to split the tab evenly --- without seeming to realize that then they'd have to pay significantly more.


I am so discouraged. I have worked and associated most of my life with people selected for intelligence by employers. But I also noticed that many of the clerks in stores, delivery and service people, mechanics, the "ordinary" people I run into, are mostly indistinguishable from the "intellectually elite". Their experiences and references are different, their education may be lacking, but their thinking and conclusions are usually, frequently, sound. I am often impressed. (We already know I find self-exalted Mensans to often be obstinately stupid.)

The only previous time I'd seen such stupefying lack of logic in females was when I briefly played "suburban housewife and new mother", and did the morning tea and afternoon baby shower circuit with the other women in the Ballwin, Mo., neighborhood. I was ready to chew the walls.

Meetup may kill me.

(I don't know if this means anything, it's a small sample, but all the women I'm meeting who are divorced from all logic and incapable of simple math, all of them so far, seem to be originally from The Bronx, and/or "Lon-Guylan". Does the culture there encourage mental helplessness in females? And make them defensive and combative when you attempt to explain something to them? Oh - and are they all so loud?)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2744 Now what?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
but I am not sure you realize that what you heard
is not what I meant."
-- Alan Greenspan, to Congress --


I've got a problem.

Yesterday and today I had nothing on the calendar, but I had a whole list of things that absolutely must be done soon. Like bills. Estimated taxes. Laundry. Bank. Grocery shopping (I'm almost out of anything Jasper will deign to eat). More. Yesterday I just fooled around all day. I knew that would make today a full day, but a little rest and relaxation would do me good.

Today quickly went to hell.

I have a friend whom I see a few times a month. He has a live-in girlfriend. He and I and a mutual friend were supposed to get together earlier this week, but the two of them didn't show up. I worried a little that his mother was sick, but waited to hear from him. He called this morning to apologize, and said that everything's ok. I told him that's too bad, because I figured that if I didn't see a cast on a leg next time I saw him, I'd have to put one on him. He laughed, then said that actually, something bad did happen.

He and the girlfriend had the biggest fight ever, a really loud and nasty one, over his going out to meet me, apparently, and she has moved out. She says she's not coming back, and he said that as usual, she'll soon realize she can't support herself, and she'll be back, but he's not going to let her in.

I don't think it was really over his going out to meet me (she was invited, but wouldn't have come - she and the third friend despise each other). I think the argument would have happened soon anyway, any trigger would have done. Anyway, I could tell he was in a bad way, so I asked if he wanted to talk about it, and we decided to meet in his office, he'd call me and let me know when he'd be free.

A while later, having not heard from him, I decided to go look for him. I was afraid he'd found a bottle. There are no bars in the village, but there is a liquor store. He's not a regular drinker, but he does drink when he's upset, and then he drinks until he passes out.

I found him in his office, with the door locked, with his younger business associate, and a buddy. And a bottle. Both men were worried about him and didn't seem to know what to do with him. They had locked the door to hide him from clients. They were drinking, too, mostly in an effort to keep him from finishing the bottle himself, I think.

I volunteered to drive him home and get some food into him if they could pour him into my car. He sang to me the whole way home. Except when he was talking. And that's where the problem came in.

He confessed a many-year love for me, says that he falls asleep dreaming of my breasts, loves me, wants me, wants to see me naked, etc. etc. When we got to his house I tried to get him to eat something, or lie down and take a nap, but he didn't want anything but me, hugging a lot.

Oh, Good Grief! I have been aware that he finds me attractive (I don't know why, I'm usually unwashed and unmadeup when I see him, and I've never flirted with or teased him in that way). I'm sure that when he sobers up, he's going to remember what he said and will be embarrassed.

Before I left I looked him in the eye and told him that I am his good friend, that he could say absolutely anything to me and it's ok. I tried to make sure he heard and understood. But I'm afraid everything has changed anyway.

I went back to his office and talked with his associate about maybe getting his daughter to move in with him for a while. He shouldn't be alone. He's one of those people who can't be alone - always needs someone around. That's why the girlfriend lasted so long, even though she's been "just a housemate" for many years. She was company.

He doesn't know any other women. I've been like a buddy, I thought. I think he needs to meet some more women.

I don't know what to do now, how to "be" next time I see him. I don't know whether this has to be talked out or ignored.

I don't know what to do now.

... except laundry, taxes, bills ... it's going to be a long evening ...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2743 Photos from Haiti

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Don't join dangerous cults; practice safe sects.


The Big Picture photos from

Donations -
Red Cross:
Salvation Army:
Habitat for Humanity:
Doctors without Borders:


2742 I lived through dinner, then a grue ate me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2010

"What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson --


Last night was the first meetup of my singles' group. Reservations did gradually fall away, so by 6:30 pm I was expecting six women. Four showed up. Two who had said yes did not. I hear that's pretty typical. We also had one man arrive who insisted that he had RSVP'd yes, but neither I nor Meetup had any record of that. No big deal.

The guy was a physicist, and one of the women was a theoretical mathematician, so the conversation somehow started with imaginary numbers, and veered into multiple dimensions and intersections of multidimensional objects , and the nature of time. One of the other women was ... I'm not sure what to call her, but she sees orbs and hears spirits, that sort of thing ... so that conversation occasionally took an odd turn (I'd like to make a joke about "dementional objects", but foo, I've had experiences with ESP and "ghosts", and I believe in a kind of reincarnation, so I can't).

The service was terrible! I had called the restaurant last week to ask if I'd need reservations, and had been told that Tuesday nights were quiet. It wasn't. There was some kind of conference going on in the back room, and when that was over, the participants stayed for dinner. Every table and the bar was full. Then about 8:30, a guy started setting up speakers right next to our table. Uh oh. Turned out it was team trivia, so we played. That was fun.

At leaving, one woman urged me in the parking lot to expand the group to lower ages. Her argument was that men in their fifties and sixties always want women in their thirties and forties. Um, yeah, so what? When an older man wants a younger woman, it's often because he's looking for a nurse, someone to take care of him. Besides, there are plenty of other groups for the younger singles. He can go there. (And if a guy isn't rich or strikingly handsome, he's unlikely to find the trophy caretaker, anyway, and he should know that, and if he doesn't, he's stupid, so why would we want him anyway? But I didn't say that.)

I don't have the faintest idea what to do next. We never got around to talking about that.


Does anyone besides me remember Zork? It was a text-based computer game. Jay and I used to play it for hours. He had a huge piece of paper on which he had mapped the underground, with locations of items and dangers.

Gathering weapons and tools and finding your way around is one level of difficulty - figuring out how to talk to the system is the other. It sometimes seems to be very obstinate.

A description, and how to play, are at

You can play it at


This is beautiful(warning - the music may be too loud for work, turn speakers down):


Monday, January 11, 2010

2740 Wishes

Monday, January 11, 2010

We can never predict the outcome of our actions,
which is why every action must be acceptable in itself,
and not as part of a stratagem.


I often wish I could sort search results, especially news articles, by "latest updated". I also wish every web page had a date on it, so you'd know how old the information is.


Some people seem to consider Harry Reid's comment to be stereotyping and racist. I understand why some people are pushing it - because they hope people who don't think for themselves will think Reid is racist, and they want to hurt his campaign for reelection.

The statement that Obama stood a chance of being elected because he's light and articulate was simple truth. It doesn't show racism on Reid's part, but simply that Reid understands the inherent racism and/or colorism of many voters, and if anyone should be offended, it should be those who would NOT consider voting for a darker candidate. If there was a disrespected target, it was those voters.

I wish people would think before they react.


Asbestos is being blamed for all kinds of illnesses, from lung and bladder cancer to kidney failure. Class action lawyers have been trolling for plaintiffs for the past fifteen years, and they've expanded the job classifications that would have been exposed to asbestos.

The whole thing ticks me off. It's not like the manufacturers or suppliers of asbestos, or the companies or people who used it, were aware at the time that it was a problem. At the time, it was seen as a Very Good material, because it was safe and fireproof. People my age spent our entire childhood in schools with asbestos ceilings and floors, because it was considered a good thing in schools, because it was fireproof, and our parents demanded it.

Ok, it wasn't such a good idea. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. Nobody knew it could cause health issues. That was discovered later (and it's not as widespread or as bad as it's being painted), and I don't agree that people/companies who thought they were doing the right thing should be sued when it turned out to be a bad idea.

If that were so, we should all be allowed to sue our parents for bad decisions.

I wish 'lack of harmful intent' would work as a defense to lawsuits.


I accidentally landed on a PBS cartoon show this morning. It was supposed to be educational, I suppose, but their teaching method left a lot to be desired. I haven't the faintest idea what age group or educational level it was aimed toward. Anyway, they had a series of dashes that they were filling in with letters to make a phrase. The secret phrase was "growing up". There were secret letters the kids were expected to find. The secret letters were huge, like
in red, smack in the middle of the screen, in groups of three. Wow. "Did you find them? What letter is this? D! What sound does 'D' make?" At the end, kids who apparently weren't sure what sound "R" makes were eventually expected to sound out "GROWING UP". I began to suspect that there was some other purpose to the whole exercise, other than teaching phonics.

The poor presentation wasn't what bothered me most. They were using "The Ugly Duckling" to illustrate the phrase. You know the story, "There once was an ugly duckling, with feathers all stubby and brown...." That one. The guy that turned into a beautiful swan.

The first thing I noticed was that the ugly duckling had yellow feathers, and the other ducklings were brown. That had to be a conscious choice, because swan cygnets are gray, and domestic duck chicks are more likely to be yellow or white.

I wondered what reaction the PC police would have when the blond yellow duckling turned into the swan.

Then the first three secret letters were shown: "R N P", which I at first read as related to "RNC", and I started laughing.

It was along about then that I noticed that the dotted lines they were plugging the letters into reminded me of "Hangman".

Oh, PBS. I wish folks would review before distribution. And I wish the PC police would stop messing with my brain.