Things I Know

Two 19-year-old junior hockey players for the US Hockey League’s Lincoln Stars were arrested because they allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old girl in a hotel room in Morehead MN, recorded event and then shared the recording. Here’s advice you may not get anywhere else. If you do commit a felony, make sure to record it and share it with as many people as possible. Be certain to post it on the Internet too. That will make it so much easier for the police to catch and prosecute you. Since I mentioned the team’s name, I should point out that the team has quite properly suspended the two players indefinitely.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of the world that when Orlando Bloom swung on Justin Bieber in Ibiza, Spain, it was international news. Because of his age and his past public behavior, I don’t expect Justin Bieber to behave like an adult, but Orlando Bloom is in his late 30’s, almost twice Bieber’s age.

So, I was looking through a bunch of books and I came across one by a professor, a woman with a very unusual first name. How unusual? I’ve only met or heard of one person in my entire life with that name. We went to school together from third to sixth grade. So, I Googled the author. Then, I Googled the first name. The first nine results for the name were the author. One of those turned up an email address. I dropped her a line. She answered. Yup, it’s her. I doubt we’ll ever get together, but it’s nice to know that one of my old classmates has had a successful career in academia.

Based on my experience riding in cars, both as a parent and as a child, “Don’t make me come back there,” is among the very best advice I’ve ever received or given.

Saint Karen (my wife who must be a saint to put up with me) received a mailing from Barclay’s Bank, offering her a black Visa card. Said Black Visa Card is made of stainless steel (patent pending, believe it or not). Since most cards are now swiped or used on line and not imprinted, I don’t know how important that is. I do know if I were a merchant, the black one wouldn’t impress me. It has some benefits that are good if you travel a lot and have a lot of problems while traveling, a lot. But the interest rate is nothing special and it has an annual fee of $495! So, thanks, but no thanks.

The nice thing about getting robocalls on my cell phone is that I can (and do) hang up on them without even answering them.

Some wag on TV said there’s a new word, precrastination, that means getting something done too early. Procrastination never made me any money, so I’m coining another new word: amateurcrastination.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

I’m an adult male. I graduated from college more than a decade ago (a lot more) and I have never played basketball in a way serious enough for me to have a team uniform. I went shopping for shorts recently. I wanted two kinds, running or workout shorts for the gym and cargo shorts for the street. Would it be too much bother for clothing manufacturers to include the inseam length on men’s shorts? To me, shorts that hang below my knees are longs and I don’t like to have to hold every pair to my waist in a nearly fruitless quest to find shorts that are shorter than longs.

Hanes now sells underwear in resealable bags. Why?

Hanes isn’t the only company that now makes underwear without tags, but it’s the only company I’ve seen make a big deal of it in TV commercials. In the commercials, Hanes claims it’s done away with annoying tags. I am not a garment-industry insider, but tags in underwear have never annoyed me and I suspect the real reason for the trend away from tags is it makes manufacturing underwear slightly less expensive.

Have you see the latest TV commercial for Subway’s pulled pork sandwich? Extra pickles, sure, but who the heck puts lettuce on a pulled pork sandwich?

Why is it necessary for people to set off firecrackers on the 4th of July? I think aerial fireworks are beautiful, especially the biggest shows like the one Macy’s puts on each year, but what’s the deal with firecrackers? To me, all they do is keep people awake and scare dogs. Also, get off my lawn!

Why are Social Tea cookies so expensive and how come they never go on sale?

Wal Mart is running TV ads touting its “all natural” steaks. Fine. As opposed to what? Those plastic steaks that all the other big box stores and supermarkets sell?

Pope Francis excommunicated the Mafia. Makes sense, but how come it didn’t happen a long, long, long time ago?

A Prescription for Disaster

Honestly, I’m grateful to have good health insurance, incorporating a good prescription drug plan. I realize a lot of people don’t have that. My wife has an identical plan. Each of us gets family health insurance through our employer. So in one instance, my insurance is too good because I have two accounts.

We switched prescription drug providers in January and the new one has a slightly smaller benefit in that if you get a prescription for a maintenance drug (one you’re supposed to take every day) you’ve never taken before, they send you a 30 day supply instead of a 90 day supply. I suppose this makes sense because if you have unbearable side effects, you won’t have to thrown away a lot of medicine. It does cost me a little more for a new drug though because they charge me a co-payment for each prescription filled, not for the number of pills I receive.

But my problem is that with two accounts all my prescriptions seem to wind up being new whether they are new or for drugs I’ve taken for anywhere from three to 20 years. Let’s say I take Victoza for diabetes and I’ve been taking it for three years. I’d prefer to take no drugs at all, but I am a diabetic and I don’t want to die so Victoza isn’t the only prescription drug I take every day. I got a 90 day supply of it in April and my doctor wrote a replacement prescription in July. They decided to fill the replacement prescription from my other account and charge a co-pay for 30 days worth instead of 90 days worth. In the case of Victoza, the co-pay is substantial so doing this raises their costs and my costs too.

They’ve also started giving me incorrect information about the problem. They told me my doctor wrote a prescription for a 30-day supply. In fact, they told me he wrote two prescriptions for a 30 day supply. No he didn’t. I asked them for a copy of what he sent them. They sent me one prescription for a 90 day supply, but they now insist it’s a new prescription, so they’ll only give me 30-days worth. I’ve spoken to at least seven customer service representatives Some of them have promised to clear it up. Some of them have actually helped me for one prescription. Some of them have told me things that just aren’t true. Are they lying? Maybe, or maybe they’re just repeating misinformation someone else put in the computer. In my career, I’ve had more than one job where being correct is not an acceptable excuse. It’s frustrating, believe me, but it doesn’t compare with being insured, being right and having that not be an acceptable excuse either.

I’m currently experiencing this problem with two of my medicines. I’ve experienced it with other medicines too, just not right now. I can only think of three possible explanations, but I hope there are others. My three are jaw-dropping incompetence on the part of everyone I’ve dealt with at the mail-order pharmacy, deliberate fraud, or a combination of the two. If they were jaw-droppingly incompetent across the board, I figure they would have hired someone who could solve the problem, just by mistake. I was told on July 8th that one of my problems would be straightened out and my doctor was told on July 17th that the other one would also be fixed. Sunday night, according to their website, the first problem is more messed up than ever. I’m scheduled for two renewals on Wednesday. The second problem isn’t even in the pipeline.

While they have yet to solve the problem, they finally did cause me to lose my temper on Thursday. I’m not proud of myself, but I certainly feel I had plenty of justification. Sisyphus would understand. He wouldn’t approve, but he would understand. Looks like I’m going to have to call them again. I dread that. Exactly what I’m going to call them this time, I haven’t decided yet. I wish SSG Mebane was still around. My old drill sergeant could certainly think of something creative to call them. He thought of enough creative things to call me when I was in Basic Training.

I’m not going to give up. I have written to the chairman of the NY State Senate’s Health Committee. If that doesn’t work, I guess I’ll check in with the consumer reporter for one or more of New York’s TV stations and also shame them by name right here in this blog. If you’ve read this blog for more than say four days, you may already be able go guess. Right now, if the readership of this blog is in the single digits, the digit I have reserved for my mail-order prescription provider is a middle one. Maybe two middle ones.

Things I Know

I just dare CVS Caremark to send me a customer satisfaction survey.

It’s not that I want to talk to telemarketers, live or robocalls. I don’t. But, if you’re not ready to talk to me when you call me, don’t call me. I’ll say hello once and hang up if nobody says anything back. I’ll also hang up as soon as I determine that it’s a telemarketer on the other end of the line, but first, I’ll tell them not to call me again.

With Bastille Day just passed, I was disappointed to learn that people in France don’t call it that. They call it La FĂȘte Nationale (National Celebration) and commonly le quatorze juillet.

I had a dream that if I ever won a big lottery prize, I’d buy all the seats at Citi Field for one game and attend a major league ball game by myself. However, with as bad as attendance has been at Citi in this baseball season, I would no longer have to do that to do that.

The Mets played very well in the last week or two before the All-Star break, so I hope they don’t live up to their long history of fading in the second half.

I’d seriously like it if you could sort music libraries in iTunes by more than one category. For instance, it would be good to sort the song list first by artist and then by song. You could do that in MusicMatch a hundred years ago, so iTunes should be able to catch up.

Public Ridicule

Did you ever hear of Andrew R. Rector before the last week or so? Probably not, unless you watched the April 13 baseball game between the Yankees and the Red Sox. Rector is a guy who fell asleep in the stands. His image was broadcast that day, but unless you already knew him, you didn’t learn his name.

That name came up because this is the month in which Rector filed suit in New York State Supreme Court, seeking $10 million in damages from ESPN, Major League Baseball and the Yankees. I heard he sued the ESPN announcers, John Kruk and Dan Schulman too, but the article in the NY Times didn’t mention that, so maybe what I heard was wrong. Rector was mocked on Twitter, on Youtube and in other Internet venues, but unlike the bar in the old TV show “Cheers,” everybody didn’t know his name.

But they do now. The Streisand Effect is what journalists, public relations professionals and Internet wags call it. The Streisand Effect is when someone tries to censor, or block, or remove something from the public record (especially the Internet) and instead, the effort to remove it attracts attention to it. It’s named after famed entertainer Barbara Streisand who tried in 2003 to have certain aerial photos of her Malibu beachfront home removed from the internet by suing for $50 million. I know Wikipedia isn’t always an authoritative source, but according to Wikipedia, before the lawsuit, fewer than 4,000 people had seen the pictures on the Internet. Afterwards, more than 400,000.

If you’re interested and haven’t looked at the NY Times website too often, you can read about the Rector lawsuit here. The article says Rector claims people made fun of him everywhere he went because he was shown asleep at the game. In my opinion, the lawsuit will cause Mr. Rector to be ridiculed much more than his falling asleep did. If he was teased about that, no doubt the teasing had died down since the incident happened in April. Filing the lawsuit dragged the whole thing back into the public consciousness and Identified him by name to the public at large. His name hadn’t been widely known before. While I am not a lawyer, I firmly believe the lawsuit should and will be dismissed as frivolous. For just one thing, why is he suing the Yankees? They made stadium seats comfortable enough to sleep in, that’s true, but they won the game, 3-2, so they at least tried to keep Rector awake.

Things I Know

The phrase “The Fourth of July,” and the phrase “Independence Day” have the same number of syllables. If we could get everyone to call it Independence Day, we could change it to always have a three day weekend out of it.

At the end of June, General Motors announced another 7.6 million cars. The General has now recalled 28 million vehicles since January 1 of this year. That’s more cars than it sold in the past seven years combined. If this trend continues much longer, the General will run out of cars to recall that it manufactured. I predict when that happens, General Motors will start recalling Fords and Chryslers too.

Gold dust plants are susceptible to fungus. I didn’t know that until all the ones in my back yard started turning black while I was in Europe.

I’ve been listening to downloads of an old-time radio called “Broadway Is My Beat.” I don’t know why I like it. I’ll give it a slight break because the show, from the early 1950s predated the Miranda decision, but there’s almost no correct police procedure in it, beginning with the fact that before NYPD headquarters was at 1 Police Plaza, it was on Centre Street which is way downtown, not on Broadway between Times Square and Columbus Circle. Plus, very few people in New York used florid language like that in New York City in the early 1950s and I’m pretty sure not a single one who did was a police detective lieutenant like the lead character in the show, Danny Clover.

Twitter, with its 140 character limit, gave me the idea for a website where everything had to be a haiku. But someone else had an idea for before I did. It’s not exactly restricted to haikus, but it’s similar to that.

Now that July is here, I suppose it’s time for end of summer and back to school sales.

The Mets are now 10 or 11 games under .500. And while we’re contemplating that, let’s remember that they usually fade in the second-half of the season.