Thursday, January 24, 2013

3692 How to quickly reduce a group's membership

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Maturity is knowing you were an idiot in the past. 
Wisdom is knowing that you'll be an idiot in the future.
Common sense is knowing that you should try not to be an idiot now. 
-- Jeph Jacques, "Questionable Content, #976" --


Speaking of idiots, I guess it's common knowledge that in my opinion, many Mensans have no common sense.

The latest action contemplated by the national governing board has me rolling my eyes.  (Note, I'm getting this second hand, so I may have some details wrong, but it's probably close enough for example and discussion.)

The American national organization has to send 4% of all US dues collected to the international committee, leaving 96% for American Mensa.  The international committee has decided to increase their cut from national groups from 4% to 6%.

American Mensa has freaked about that additional 2%, that income shortfall (reducing expenditures is, of course, out of the question), so they are discussing increasing individual US dues from $60 to $70 dollars.

Let's see now.  International increased their take by 2%, therefore we have to increase individual dues by 16.7%.  Did I get that right?

I don't understand. 

I don't know what they're thinking. 

I strongly suspect that annual dues of $70 is going to lose a lot of members.  I know that if I were not a paid-up life member, I'd drop out if dues went to $70.  That's ridiculous.  Many people already find membership not worth the current $60.  You don't get anything worth that much money.

I know some people are going to say, "Oh, the regional and national gatherings!  They're so much fun!"  Um, they aren't free.  There's nothing free, no unique or valuable benefits of membership, except the opportunity to meet other people who also score well on standardized tests.  And to many, that's not worth $70 a year.  Especially not these days.  If you have a job, you can find interesting conversation among coworkers.  If you don't have a job (a large proportion of Mensans do not have jobs for one reason or another, and I'm not counting entrepreneurs) then you can't afford the $70.

(Some local groups do have fundraising efforts and then host a free dinner, picnic, or party.  Note that the funds are raised from members.)  

I think soon the only people who will pay the dues are those sad people who find Mensa membership the only thing they have to validate their worth.

Nothing like shooting yourself in the foot, eh?


I am surprised that people are not sharing memberships.  If you are a member because you enjoy the diversity of conversational topics as opposed to wanting to wave your membership card around, then you don't really need that membership card, because members are almost always allowed to bring guests to events. 

So, uh, why don't two people share the annual dues, one of them get the membership, and then both can go to events, one as a member, the other as a guest?  Even more fun, get 40 people together, pool the money to get 15 memberships, and then you can "guest up" for events as desired, with whatever card-carrying members are attending the event. 

Most of the publications are online, so the group can just share userids and passwords.

That's what Jay and I did.  I had the life membership, so we could see no reason for Jay to actually join.  He could attend everything as my guest.  There were other couples where both were members and both paid dues.  Duh?  We  couldn't understand why.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

3691 Jasper is a good boy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

There is a direct correlation between the size of the hoop earring
and the sluttiness of the wearer.


Jasper hadn't seen a vet since we moved him here, partly because he freaks out so badly in the car that he has seizures, so he's way behind on checkups and shots.  Two of Daughter's three cats are similarly afflicted with car anxiety, and lucky for us, there's a vet who has outfitted a large RV as an office complete with x-ray and out-patient surgery.  He parks in the driveway and you bring your beasty out.

One of Daughter's cats had injured a paw last Thursday night, so Daughter made a Friday appointment for her cat, and for Jasper.

HOW DO CATS KNOW!?  The minute I got off the phone with Daughter, Jasper's ears went up, his eyes got big, and he ran and hid.  It ended up two hours later, appointment time, with me chasing him in circles around the house.  He started to run into the laundry room, realized that was a dead end, and just as I got to the doorway he changed direction and dodged out between my legs.  I reached for him, tripped over him, and jabbed the door frame with an over-long fingernail, bending it back mid-bed.  It HURT!  And it bled.  And the most amazing thing happened.

Jasper stopped, came back, sniffed my finger and my face as I sat there on the floor whimpering, and pretty clearly asked if I was ok.  He was apologetic.  He let me pick him up and bundle him into the carrier with a minimum of fuss.

He's such a good little boy.  (Also 12 lb. and very healthy.  And fascinated by the rabies tag on his collar.)


Last January the eye doctor mentioned that I had a spot of dry macular degeneration in each eye.  The first time a doctor had mentioned them was in the late '90s.  Oddly, not every exam has produced mention.  The spots must small enough to miss on older equipment.  I'm older now, so I guess I should pay closer attention.  I made an appointment for today to check if there had been any progression.

There's been no change.  The doctor recommended a special vitamin/mineral plus lutein supplement. 


I mentioned a problem at the hospital.  Someone else's intake form was in my folder in the ER.

In my post of 1/02, I find in retrospect I had made excuses for some of the doctor's and the hospital's actions.  It was not true that I had any kidney failure going on.  That whole thing was because I had mentioned that my last hospital stay was because of the kidney thing, and my kidney doctor was on staff, and he sort of moved in on me and took over and tried to force me into some tests I had previously refused .  Note - he pissed me off so much in the hospital that I have fired him.  It was not tachycardia that got me the heart monitor.  I had no chemical imbalances.  My sodium was fine.  I think it was the other woman's intake form that made things look worse than they were.

It IS true that the lung guy said that it was the worst case of pneumonia he'd ever seen.  It's also true that the nurses used a phrase in front of me (they thought I was asleep) that's code for "may not last the night, check often".  However, again, that prognosis may have been in error.

For the first three days, they had me listed as diabetic.  They were poking me several times a day to check my blood sugar, and the kitchen had me on a diabetic diet - wouldn't give me Jello or ice cream when I asked for it.  I'm not diabetic!  My blood sugar stayed rock solid, until once when I had two glasses of fruit juice just to see what would happen, and it went up one point.  Then right back down again.  I DO NOT HAVE DIABETES!  Yes, I do mostly follow a diabetic diet, because my father's family is riddled with it so I'm at risk, but hey, you don't wait until you have a heart attack to follow a heart-healthy diet!  I finally convinced them it was not necessary to keep testing, and to take me off the diet restrictions.

Also for the first three days, they had me on the cardiac floor, wearing a 24-hour heart monitor, and I had many visits from a cardiologist, and several ECGs, some kind of heart sonogram, and a heart CT scan.  Duh?  When I first arrived, my pulse rate was 100, but a) I tend to historically have a rapid heart beat anyway, usually in the low 80s, b) I had just arrived at the hospital and was upset, and c) it went down to normal (for me) rapidly and stayed low.

Finally, about the third day, I asked the cardiologist (who kept urging me to make an appointment with him as soon as I got out of the hospital) why people seemed so concerned about my heart, and he said, "We have to address your chest pain."  I said, "What chest pain?  I have no chest pain.  I haven't had any chest pain."   He said, "The chest pain you reported when you arrived at the ER."  I reiterated that I'd had no chest pain, and had NOT reported chest pain.

Within hours, the monitors were removed, and I was moved from the cardiac floor to a medical floor.  The cardiologist stopped visiting, too.

So, I'm wondering if some poor woman had arrived about the same time I did, with diabetes and reporting chest pain, and because the intake forms were screwed up I was treated for her problems (you know the intake info went directly from the form into the computer), and God only knows what treatment she was getting, possibly based on my intake info.

Also, I wonder what UNNECESSARY tests, monitoring, and doctor visits MY insurance is going to be billed for (and I will be co-paying on).  I can get copies of the reports and stuff, and an itemized bill, but I wonder if there's any way to determine what was necessary, and what was the hospital's error.  You KNOW they're not going to simply admit an error.