Category Archives: Humbug!

…… for Dummies

I received a notice recently of the availability of Medicare for Dummies, Second Edition.

Medicare for Dummies

For only $19.99, I can find out:

  • When I should sign up for Medicare
  • What Medicare covers
  • What Medicare costs
  • How Medicare works with other health benefits.

All of this information is undoubtedly useful, especially for an aging population in need of such advice.  The “For Dummies” book franchise now has over 2500 titles.  As stated in Wikipedia, “For Dummies is an extensive series of instructional/reference books which are intended to present non-intimidating guides for readers new to the various topics covered.  The series has been a worldwide success with editions in numerous languages.”

But Medicare for Dummies just strikes a non-resonant chord.  It raises the question* of what is next for a dummy like me.  Besides the obvious – Retirement for Dummies, Medicaid for Dummies – there is the illogical step to:

  • Walking and Chewing Gum for Dummies
  • Answering the Phone for Dummies
  • Monday for Dummies (part one of a seven part series)
  • Poverty and Homelessness for Dummies
  • Borderline Hysteria for Dummies
  • Terminal Cancer for Dummies
  • Death for Dummies
  • and
  • How to be a Dummy for Dummies.

I should have realized that there is already a Blogging for Dummies, Facebook for Dummies and Twitter for Dummies.  There is also Critical Thinking for Dummies which appears to be a contradiction in terms.

It’s only a matter of time before you can enroll in For Dummies University (FDU) where you can graduate Magna cum Stultus.

——-

*Dr. Language Guy applauds the use of “raises the question” versus “begs the question” and refers readers to several diatribes articles on this subject.

http://hubpages.com/education/Begging-the-Question-vs-Raising-the-Question-Understanding-a-commonly-misused-phrase

http://philosophy.avemaria.edu/post/29691374480/begging-the-question-vs-raising-the-question

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/begs-the-question?page=all

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November

November usually brings with it my melancholia.  This year in my part of the world the weather is not cooperating and remains pleasant which, of course, makes me even grumpier.  I know that the weather will eventually turn and I will start counting the days until the winter solstice.  After that, the miniscule increases in daylight, throughout the winter, prepare me for the arrival of early spring.

For now, I offer:

————————————————————————————————-

November

by Thomas Hood (1789 – 1845)

No sun – no moon!

No morn – no noon –

No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day.

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,

No comfortable feel in any member –

No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,

No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! –

November!

———————————————————————————————–

November

Hi, I’m Rob Lowe

 

I get really tired of commercials that are repeated over and over again until your head aches.  At first, they are interesting and often humorous and then they just become tedious.  There are always several in this category at any given time – are your ears burning AFLAC, GEICO and Nationwide? – but the one that I currently dislike is the one for Direct TV with Rob Lowe and altered Rob Lowe.  (I have nothing against Rob Lowe, just the repetition.)  Here’s a suggestion for the next version in this endless progression:

“Hi, I’m Rob Lowe and I advertise everything.”

Hi1c

“And I’m Black Death Rob Lowe and I advertise, well, you know…”

Hi2c

 

“As Rob Lowe, I have a fantastic smile.”

Hi3

 

 

 

 

 

“As Black Death Rob Lowe, so do I.”

Hi4b

 

“I’m known for my fantastic body so I dress like this.                                                   I say to women ‘Do you want to see my fantastic bod?’”

Hi5

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I only have a skeleton so I dress like this.                                                                       I say to women ‘Do you want to see my scythe?’”

Hi6b

 

“I occasionally indulge but I normally eat healthy.”

Hi7

“I normally eat people.”

Hi8

 

“As Rob Lowe, crowds are attracted to me.”

Hi9b

“As Black Death Rob Lowe, crowds avoid me like the black plague.                     Get it, get it?  Avoid me like the black plague?”

Hi10

 

So don’t be like any of these Rob Lowe’s, stop these damned boring, inane, repetitive, nonsensical commercials!!

 

Dear Verizon

Dear Verizon

January 2015

Verizon
140 West Street
New York, NY 10007

Dear Verizon:

I am writing to you in the (vain) hope that you will correct my problem without harassing me.  I hate to sound so negative (actually, I don’t mind at all) but my recent interactions with you have been, shall we say, less than exemplary.

I recently moved and, despite my misgivings, decided to keep my service with you.  This alone should have given me a few attaboys in your Verizon rewards system.  What I did not recognize is that attaboy are a lot like rasbuckniks* – totally worthless.

Before I moved, I paid my old bill in full.  After I moved, but before the billing period expired, I got a new bill which I also paid in full.  My (foolish) expectation was that I would receive some credit back because I had in fact paid for overlapping service from the old location to the new one.  Instead, I was told that I owed money due to a cancellation fee even though I kept the same service!  So the price to be paid for keeping the same service is to be slapped with a cancellation charge.  Even members of the U.S. Congress have not yet come up with a cancellation fee for keeping them in office. (I said “yet;” they are working on it as I write this letter.)

After numerous telephone calls and exchanges with various Verizon departments, you add insult to injury by attempting to “improve” my service with a few (many) questions about the items I currently have.  Saying that I am perfectly happy with my current service doesn’t stop you.  Asking you to fix my billing problem first doesn’t stop you.  Threatening to change service providers doesn’t stop you.  Telling you that there is a vicious black bear behind you doesn’t stop you.

By the way, what’s up with the name Verizon?  If it’s a combinatory name, then what two names did you combine?  Very and Horizon?  Veracity and Zone?  My personal choices would be So-so service and Badger – SoBad – or how about Contradictory Answers and Fusillade of Extraneous Questions – ConFusE?  As you can tell, I am not very good or appreciative of made up names from combinations.  One day, some overly clever marketer will decide to name a progressive book company that publishes recorded logs of religious material by combining Diarist and Heavenly to get — Diarrhea.

Let me sign off by saying that I am, (for now),
Begrudgingly yours,

Curmudgeon-at-Large

 

*The rasbucknik was the currency unit of Lower Slobovia in Al Capp’s comic strip “Li’l Abner.” One rasbucknik was worth nothing at all; a million rasbuckniks were worth even less because of all the trouble of lugging them around.

Horrorscope

horoscope

Well, it’s that time of year again.  No, not best wishes, holiday cheer or new year’s resolutions.  While a curmudgeon has resolutions, few have cheer or well wishes attached.   No, it’s time for your new year’s horoscope.

Have you bothered to read your horoscope lately?  In ancient times (pre-internet), we had to rely upon newsprint.  Today, there are numerous on-line sources just as irrelevant.  On whatever day you were born, there is a paragraph of platitudes interspersed with just a dash of concern.  In some way, every one born on that day finds something with which to agree.

Here are a few random samples:

“You might expect to receive the support you need today, but it could be withdrawn at the very last minute. Change is in the air and soon you won’t be able to go back to where you were.”

“Today’s Sun/Pluto square is like a searchlight that finds you at the right moment and a million little circumstances open the way to success. Tonight, ensure that feelings aren’t attached to old illusions that aren’t relevant to who you are and the person you are with now.”

“We may grow tired of the emotional intensity today as our thoughts push into new territory. The Moon’s shift into clever Gemini at 7:47 am EDT makes it difficult for us to turn off the constant flow of words. However, an awkward Venus-Uranus alignment has us longing for some quiet.”

Say what?!  Get to the point!!

Will I be rich/poor; famous/infamous; handsome/ugly; loved/unloved?  It’s all nonsense.  I have carried it to an extreme by creating a new abbreviated daily horoscope based on the birthday of one notable individual.  I call it the Curmudgeon’s Horrorscope.

Here’s a one day random horrorscope for each month:

January 8 – Elvis Presley – You are well known for your social and charming personality but mostly for your hips and the way you move them. People are naturally drawn to you and actively seek your company even after death.

February 12 – Abraham Lincoln – Against all odds, you’ll grow up to achieve great success but everyone will think that you’re not qualified for the job.  Stay away from theaters.

March 31 – Johann Sebastian Bach – You are a musical genius but no one will notice until after you’re dead.  To make up for this, you will have many children.

April 20 – Adolph Hitler – Uh Oh!  Things don’t look good for you (or anyone around you for that matter).

May 16 – Tori Spelling – You will (after numerous alterations) have a fabulous figure and inherit big bucks but still look like a handsome horse with lipstick.

June 8 – Kanye West – You are destined to make a zillion bucks as a musician, artist and producer; marry a voluptuous woman; have a beautiful baby.  You still won’t smile.

July 21 – Ernest Hemingway – You will write.  It will be good.  You will drink.  You will die alone, in the dark.

August 21 – Usain Bolt – You are celestially influenced by the power of our Sun and ruled over by the planet Jupiter’s authority.  Translation – you’re fast; real fast; leave others in the dust fast!

September 25 – Barbara Walters – Determination gets you fame, fortune and your own TV show along with a lisp.

October 1 – Randy Quaid – You will always wish that you were as good looking as your sibling.  If you have no siblings, then you will just wish you were good looking.

November 5 – Roy Rodgers –  Two thoughts; horses and fast food.  Just don’t combine them!

December 18 – Joseph Stalin – Hate to end the year on a sour note but things don’t look good for you either (see April 20th).