I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The vicious circle of insurance fraud

I thought I'd do a quick jot before I go to work regarding Insurance Fraud.  There are 2 types: the first is perpetrated by individuals scamming Insurance companies and the 2nd is perpetrated by the companies themselves.  And, surprisingly enough, I have an example of both... in regards to the same individual.
Let me call this person Barb, and let's say she happens to be one of my associates.  Anyway, this past summer Barb came storming up to the paint desk in a tizzy.  Her husband's employer had just told him that since she works full time and can get her own insurance, well, that's what she needs to do.  They're not going to insure her anymore.  And, of course, they put the blame on Obamacare.  Of course, that's pure fraud.  His insurance company is just cheaping it out.  If Barb gets sick, her husband's insurance company doesn't want to take the hit; let that expense fall to her insurance.
And, of course, Barb does have health issues, which is why I'm referencing her.  When I transferred from the Carlisle Store to the Mechanicsburg Store she was out on Leave of Absence.  She had managed to break her foot and was supposed to be out for 2 months (?) which turned into 5 months, with multiple doctor visits.  Interestingly enough, during the time she was off the job, I'd seen Barb at my neighborhood Giant supermarket several times.  Each time I saw her, she said "I'm supposed to be wearing this boot but I hate it so I don't wear it."  She only actually came back to work when her disability insurance ran out.

This past August, Barb too 3 weeks LOA because she needed to have surgery.  She has / had trigger thumb???
And then two weeks ago she fell in her kitchen baking cookies and broke her ankle, and now she's going to be off for (she says) 6-8 weeks, but my guess it will be closer to 4 months.  When Barb has an injury she takes full advantage of her insurance, sometimes not being the most honest in order to take time off from work, and so she commits fraud.
It's a vicious circle.  People like Barb run up insurance bills that are unnecessary in order to stay home, and Insurance companies blame Obamacare in order to get these free loaders  off their expense report.  Wouldn't it be nice if insurance companies became more honest and transparent and people like Barb were actually penalized?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Trumpless on a cold, snowy night

Tomorrow it will be 1 weeks since we had our super snowstorm, my street is clean, however they still haven't come to collect the garbage.  One of my neighbors called the Township Office and was told that garbage will be picked up sometime next week, most likely around Wednesday.  It was supposed to have been picked up this past Tuesday, which means that there are garbage cans and recycle cans sitting in front of every house, an attractive sight, let me tell you.
And, there was a debate last night.  Trump wasn't there.  From what I've been reading his absence actually benefited his campaign.  My brother, a part-time Methodist Minister and full time Republican hates him, well, let me correct that, the Minister part doesn't hate him, it's the Republican part that's gnashing his teeth.  When I told him that Trump was killing the party he wailed "I know, I know!"  This is life.
You make your bed and then you sleep in it.  If you're a member of a party the festers hate for everyone who disagrees with you - well, you get Trump.  He is King of the Birthers.  He is a magnet for racism.  He has taken the Republican playbook and, after some open modification, made it his own.  Trump is the face of the true Republican.  And they had a debate last night and he didn't go, and instead of attacking him, the debaters attacked themselves.  They are eating their own.

I told my brother that the GOP will soon stand for Gone Old Party, and he lowered his head in disgust as he agreed.  "Trump is truly frightening," he said.  Well, maybe not if you're a neo-Nazi, racist, fascist, demagogue.   

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mountains of snow

For those who've been wondering where I've been, well, we've had mountains of snow here in Central Pennsylvania.

In Harrisburg, we got about 30 inches (+ or -) a couple of tenths depending where you lived.  And because I work for a major home retailer that makes mucho grande buckos from selling snow blowers and shovels and salt, I had to work.  Every day, that is, except Saturday because they didn't want me driving in 'white out conditions.'  Anyway, I did start to shovel myself out late Saturday afternoon so I could make it to work on Sunday, and that was a good thing, not because I could get to work, but because all of my neighbors used my cleared driveway as a parking spot while they dug out their driveways.  This is what the house across the street looks like on Monday morning, before I went to work.

Anyway, the dogs liked it until the 'white outs' started, then it was like "hey, I ain't going out in that shit."

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Al Sharpton / Sarah Palin & the big laugh

For Al Sharpton, the boycott of the Oscars is evidently a black issue only.  Of course he doesn't know what he's talking about, that much is evident when he says blacks are responsible for 40% of the ticket sales in the United States.  Does he really think 14% of the population buys that many tickets?  And he also thought "Concussion" was a good movie - does he know it played in most theaters for what?  All of two weeks?  And he only names 2 black films.  In reality there were one hundred and eighty some films released in 2015, which is about .0108695% of all the films released in the U.S.  Al, get over it.

Of course, then there was the hilarity of the GOP clown parade, a phrase I haven't heard for some time.  Sarah Palin announced her support for Donald Trump.  Holy Shit!  Like that endorsement is going to give his campaign any type of validity.  And then I saw this picture:

And you thought clowns were only frightening when they had their makeup on.  Oh, wait, someone just told me she's not endorsing him, she's announcing his being cast in title role of Stephen King's "It."  Maybe that's why she failed to show at his rally in Iowa.  Or maybe she was too busy returning that outfit to K-Mart, hope she didn't snip off the price tag.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Oscars, losing to political correctness

I saw that the Academy Awards are going to be more politically correct, no doubt because Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith decided to boycott the ceremony because there weren't enough black nominees.  This is funny, I think, especially after seeing Janet Hubert smacking Jada back, saying among other things, that if Will Smith wants to whine about not getting a nomination, he should do it himself.  Of course, if Will did complain he'd need to totally avoid using that silly accent he failed at in "Concussion."
And, if they're going to be politically correct, they need to be so across the board, which means not only Black nominees, but Latino / Hispanic as well.  In fact, there need to be more Latino / Hispanic nominees then Black nominees because there are more Latino / Hispanic people living in this country then there are Black people.  They are not only our number 2 minority, they are the fastest growing minority, in fact, they outnumber the 3rd largest minority group by 1.34%.

Race / EthnicityNumberPercentage of
U.S. population
Americans308,745,538100.0 %
Non-Hispanic White196,817,55263.7 %
Non-Hispanic Black37,685,84812.2 %
Non-Hispanic Asian14,465,1244.7 %
Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native2,247,0980.7 %
Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander481,5760.2 %
Non-Hispanic some other race604,2650.2 %
Non-Hispanic two or more races5,966,4811.9 %
Hispanic or Latino50,477,59416.4 %
So, if the Academy wants to embrace diversity, they need to embrace it fully, and not just with one particular ethnic group.  Or, maybe people just need to take a deep breath and a big step back and stop whining.  The Academy doesn't give nominations to good films, they give nominations to films that are outstanding.  There are hundreds of films that are good, and make money, and still don't get nominations.  And there are outstanding films that never get a nomination.  This is how life is, deal with it.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Revenant has no money shot

I went to see The Revenant last night, as did quite a few other people; since it received 12 Oscar nominations the theater was packed.  Described as brutal, I have to say that the beginning was, as was the end... however, the 2 and a half hours in between was a lot of pretentious, artsy fartsy bullshit with lots of problems.
Problem one is time:  The bear attack - it's lush, it's green, there are leafy plants all over the place and ten minutes later it's snowing, and for the rest of the movie there is snow (deep snow) on the ground.
Problem two is location:  At one point a character says that something is about 13 miles away.  Now, I'm going to drop you down in a very snowy landscape without a map and see how close you get.
Problem three is what I call the serendipity of meetings:  In this vast, snowy wilderness, characters seem to be very lucky when it comes to meeting other characters in what are supposed to be random meetings.  They're not.  They're essential for moving this long, long story forward.
Problem four is predictability:  You know what's going to happen, and I'm not just talking about the revenge aspect.  At one point DiCaprio intervenes in another character's story line and you know exactly what's going to happen at the end of the movie.  People get shot and, sadly, you know they're going to get shot before they actually die, other wise the story falls apart.

And then there is DiCaprio, bearded and expressionless.  In a lot of his scenes he doesn't talk and, unfortunately, as they used to say back in the 60's, he doesn't emote very well. He has no money shot where he takes you heart and twists it into a knot.  His problem is you don't really care about him as a character, let alone a human being.
I did like Tom Hardy, who's nominated for a supporting Oscar, but is a lead actor in this film.  His running dialogue scenes are the only thing which really made this watchable.
An indicator of what the audience around me thought:  they were leaving their seats before the end credits started.  In fact, as soon as it faded to black, people started getting up. This was a mass exit from the theater, and in the long walk to the lobby I didn't hear one word of praise.  I did hear people saying "it was too long," or variations of those 4 words.  No one talked about the violence, the brutality, or the panoramic vistas because not one of those things gave the audience what they paid for: the money shot that makes it all worthwhile.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Oscar and the Money Shot

A lot of people are upset with Oscar voters again this year because there no black films nor any black actors nominated.  And, like last year, that maybe these complainers should stop expecting what is probably one of the most liberal voting blocks in the country to be politically correct. That is what some want, isn't it?  For Academy voters to pause, and then do what some people feel they need to do; well, as I said, most of these people are the definition of 'liberal' so it's probably not going to happen.
My theory on why no black actors were nominated?  None of them hit the money shot.  Now I know that's a term most associated with the porn industry, but most non-porn films would not succeed without their version.  The money shot for an actor takes a good performance and seers it into your heart.  Let me give you some examples:  Denzel Washington won his first Oscar for a film called "Glory."  His performance was outstanding, but his money shot came when, while being whipped, a single tear ran down his cheek.  I saw that movie with a theater filled with white people and that one moment broke everyone's heart.  Cloris Leachman's money shot came with a coffee pot in "The Last Picture Show."  Forrest Gump sat down with his 4 year old son in front of a TV.  Matt Damon might win the Oscar this year because his money shot came towards the end of The Martian when he's strapped into a seat and the camera zoomed in for a closeup.  The money shot comes when you change places with the actor and you feel his joy, or fear, or pain.

And, as in porn, the money shots don't last long, but they are essential if you want to snag an Oscar nomination and possibly an Oscar.  These people are actors, good performances are a dime a dozen, they have to be if a film is going to succeed.  The Oscar voters will never be politically correct, they will never nominate someone simply because of the color of their skin.  If you want to get their vote you need to do more then just perform, you need to give them, and the audience, that money shot.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

White trash at the State of the Union

I didn't watch President Obama's last State of the Union address, I worked.  However, I did see that Kentucky's Queen of White Trash did manage to get a ticket.  And, of course, people were curious.  And, of course, her pimp Mat Staver said an admirer had given her the ticket, which was true, however the admirer isn't exactly bragging about it.  That admirer was none other then Jim Jordan, Representative from Ohio, a man who's been given several awards by the anti-gay establishment, and now his office is saying they didn't know who was getting the ticket.  Ahh, I smell bullshit, since he and her pimp seem to be on a first name basis.
Anyway, I thought it interesting that Kim decided to dress up in true White Trash Fashion.

She wore some sort of frock with an American Flag jacket.  Of course, it isn't really an American Flag, just the red, white and blue and stars.  You know, if that had been a Democrat, or an Independent, the crazy conservatives would have been throwing up a shit storm.  But for White Trash Kim, that kind of get up is fine and dandy.  She's proving that she's a true American wack job, the same kind they hold near and dear in their crazy, conservative hearts.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cancer in Kentucky

Evidently more people are diagnosed with and die of Cancer in Kim Davis' home state of Kentucky.
Not only that, the newly elected Governor feels there should be no minimum wage; he thinks Mississippi's got it right.  Oh, and the state which has the 2nd highest death rate from Cancer is (drum roll please) Mississippi.  In fact, if you look at this graphic you'll see that death rates from Cancer are higher in Republican controlled states... hhmm, makes you wonder if there isn't some connection, and while there are a lot of Krazy Kristians in this country, their kraziness tends to be higher in these states.  Take Judge Roy Moore, for example:  here's a 68 year old Krazy Kristian who happens to also be a Krazy Republican as well as a Krazy Judge, and he's from Alabama, and their death rate from Cancer is also high.
Or, the reason could be that these states just have shitty health care.  Many of these states damned the Affordable Health Care Act from here to hell and back.  Thank you Republicans for making it your priority to gut it as much as possible.  Evidently you don't care enough about your Cancer mortality rate to be concerned.

Anyway, I think there much irony in the fact that more people die of Cancer in Kim Davis' state then any other state in the union.  Maybe that's why she found Jesus at her mother-in-law's funeral.  She did say that she "wants to live forever with Jesus," however there is no certainty in that statement.  The sad truth is that she's still going to die.  Nothing's going to stop that.  She's still going to be boxed up in a coffin and dropped into a hole in the ground.  And because she lives in Kentucky, the odds are higher that her death is going to be caused by Cancer.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The fading relevancy of the Oscars

Well, the Oscar nominations are out next week.  I used to get excited, taking off the morning of the nominations and the day after the broadcast, that was when I saw a lot of movies.  I still go see a lot of movies, but there's not so much excitement over the Oscar festivities and it wasn't until I read an article in the NYT a week or so back that I full understood why that is; it's all about relevancy.  Have the Oscars become irrelevant?  Sure, it's a big night for Hollywood, but when it's all said and done, does anybody really care who wins?  I don't understand why anybody would want to give an award to a film nobody sees.  Case in point:  Neil Patrick Harris ran around in 2 pairs of tighty whities last year in what was supposed to be a good humored jab at "Birdman."  Nobody got the joke because nobody saw the movie, well, that's not totally correct.  Some people paid money to go see it, there just weren't that many.  In fact, "Star Wars:  The Force Awakens" made $15 million more in it's advanced Thursday showings then "Birdman's" total domestic gross through out it's entire run.  Now, there's some irrelevancy for you.
The sad truth of the matter is that the Oscar voters are desperately attempting to prove they have artistic integrity... and nobody cares.  Artsie fartsie is fine for film festivals, in fact, that's why people go to them unfortunately the majority of the movie going public doesn't really care about artsie fartsie.  Anyway, I've been thinking that perhaps the Academy should come up with another award and give it to the best artsie fartsie film.  That way they could give an award to the Best Documentary, Best Foreign Language, Best Artsie Fartsie, and save the Best Picture Award for the Best Picture.  Who cares if you get an award for a move nobody has any desire to go see?

Now, I know there are people out there who are going to complain "hey, I saw 'Birdman' and it was great."  Yeah, you and 4 million other people, 35 million people went to see "American Sniper."  So, if "Birdman" was so good, why didn't 38 million plunk down their $10 bucks for that film?  But then "American Sniper" isn't artsie fartsie, is it?  And that's what counts.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Crazy seems to be the hardest word

Since everybody in the free world seems to believe that Texas has gone totally loco (except Texans), I thought I'd write a little about 'crazy.'  Whether people want to understand this or not, our daily lives are almost completely controlled by neurotransmitters.  Our likes and our dislikes are all controlled by the sequence in which they fire.  My friend Steve will flat out tell you he's a dopamine junkie, he gets his kicks by running over 100 miles a week, every week.  He's a really nice guy, however when he says "I need to go run," nothing's going to stop him.
Complicating things is the fact that so many outside influences can effect these transmitters, chemicals (drugs and and cigarette smoke and alcohol) being one.  People become drunks or druggies because the things they ingest or inhale excite certain transmitters.  This is why many smokers have such a difficult time quitting, nicotine triggers a sequence of neurotransmitters their neurons like too much and they become addicted, at least this is how I see it.
Unfortunately, for us humans, there are so many outside influences which can effect the way these transmitters are working.  If Adele's "Hello" comes on the radio and you begin to feel a little melancholy, well, that's your neurotransmitters at work.  If you wander into one of those Evangelical Mega Churches and experience the lights, the sound (sing it baby, sing it!) and find yourself going crazy for Jesus, that's your neurotransmitters getting all holy on you.  Sanity is when those around you share the same transmission patterns.  Insanity is when, as in Texas, that group of patterns is out of sync with the rest of the world.

It also happens when Donald Trump opens his mouth and shit falls out.  In certain individuals those word turds tickle certain neurotransmitters into firing, and they like what they hear.  Are they crazy?  Hell yes.  Do they know they're crazy?  Hell no.  Now, I don't know which neurotransmitter it is that is sending his Trumplodites into such a frenzy, but I'm fairly certain it isn't dopamine, other wise they wouldn't be shouting out their "rah! rah! rahs!."  Hell no, they'd be too busy burning up treadmills at Planet Fitness with Steve.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Crazy guns in Texas

Of course I had to write something about those idiots and Texas relaxing even farther their already relaxed gun laws.  Dummies.  I don't know who the idiot was who first said you'd be safer if you carry a gun and probably will never know since he's probably already dead, shot in the back, no doubt.  When I brought up the subject at work and said that openly carrying a weapon is going to make you a walking target I found myself drummed with the disbelief that quite the opposite, carrying a gun is going to make you safer.  Bullshit.  When I pointed out that I suspect most shooters who enter rooms are going to first aim for the guy with the gun, one person actually said, "well, what if they're all carrying guns."  I'm quite serious.  Somebody actually said that to me.  Hhhmm.
Anyway, I pointed out that there was some serious gun control going on in the old, wild west and, of course, no one believed me, so I emailed a couple of them a copy of this.  Did it change their minds?  Even a smidgen?  Nope  They think it's liberal propaganda.  In fact, one went to far as to send me a graphic of dubious origin which proved that gun deaths have gone down since more people are now carrying weapons.
Now, this isn't everybody, not by a long shot, only those who like to consider themselves conservatives.  Oops, wait a minute, conservatives are totally for liberal gun control?
Anyway, I suspect things will slowly begin to change.

When gun violence doesn't drop and more and more people get shot to death, some not-so-brilliant politician is going to jump up on his little soap box and say, "we need to put a stop to this," and, most likely, it will be some moronic Republican, totally unaware that it was his / her party that got us into this mess in the first place.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

George Lucas squeezing sour grapes

Glancing through the NYT yesterday morning, I saw an article on George Lucas where he said that Disney had sold Star Wars to white slavers, or something to that effect, and then retracted the statement.  Hhhmm.  Sounds like sour grapes to me.  He sold Lucasfilms, and the rights to Star Wars, for $4 billion dollars and then compared it to going through a divorce.  What an idiot.  They evidently said "thanks a lot, George, see you later," so he had no involvement with "The Force Awakens," which is no doubt part of the problem.  I think Disney did the right thing.  Looking back at the last 3 Star Wars films I have to say that, while they made a lot of money, they were totally forgettable.  The actors involved have put as much distance as possible between those films and their careers.  That's right, they were bad movies.  Everything was CGI, including half of the characters, which seems to be one of the problems Lucas has with the new film, they're not original enough.  This doesn't mean The Force Awakens doesn't have CGI, it does, but there are also some really neat set pieces, like a light saber duel in a forest... in the snow.  When I saw that scene I wanted to tap George on the shoulder and ask, "hey, why didn't you do anything that original in any of those 3 silly prequels you foisted on the fans?"

And let's be honest, this was a $4 billion dollar deal.  Nobody twisted his arm.  And it's not as though the film fell flat on its face at the box office.  No, what happened is that Disney took a moldy franchise and turned it into a mega-hit.  JJ Abrams' monster hit makes the last 3 films in the series totally irrelevant.  People will watch Episodes, 4, 5 and 6 again, but very few will watch 1, 2 and 3; there's no reason to watch them.  What George needs to do is quit his whining and sit back and count his money. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

And so, 2016 begins

And, of course, I was fast asleep when that magic hour struck.  For those who don't know, I work in retail management which means, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas I don't get holidays, though I do have off today for the first time in years.  I had asked my brother if he and one of his sons could move some furniture out of our Mom's house and he said, "it's going to be tough, it's the holiday weekend."  So, I explained to him for the umpteenth time that I do not get holiday weekends.  While he, and just about everybody he knows, gets a 3 day weekend, I'm back at work tomorrow, oh, and I worked New Years Eve, which is why there's nothing really special about today for me.
While most people will kick back, maybe watch the Rose Parade, eat a New Years Dinner and watch football (something I never do), I've got a list of chores that need to be taken care of.  Like go to the supermarket, the dogs need food.  And stop by my Mom's house and pack up 5 boxes of dishes for Community Aid, and, of course, visit Mom.  I did spend some time talking to friends on the phone this AM, wishing them a Happy New Year.  I'm getting together with my friend Betsy, who lives down in York, on the 16th to see Star Wars (second time for me).
And then later this evening I will plop myself down and play some Fallout 4, which takes place 200 years after the 2077 nuclear war which devastated the planet.  This episode of the Fallout series takes place in and around Boston.

I've just managed to reach the safe haven of Diamond City, a town of survivors which has grown up inside Fenway Park.

Anyway, that's what I'm planning on doing this evening.  Tomorrow it's back to work bright and early.  We have some corporate people coming to town next week to walk the store so everything has got to be super duper neat and clean.  I am not excited.