Saturday, June 24, 2017

RONNI --- FAIRNESS -- AGING HUMOR

RONNI

Surgery successfully completed for Ronni Bennett who I mentioned in previous post…..her recovery in progress ….. updates are being provided by her good friend, Autumn, at “Times Goes By”.



Health care in the U.S. continues to be in a state of flux which to my way of thinking is nothing short of being criminal.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people could know they would have necessary health care in this wealthy nation of ours
 – that a doctor would see them other than just in the E.R.,
 – that they wouldn’t have to worry about possibly being bankrupted from a catastrophic illness?  

Why shouldn’t American citizens be entitled to health care at least as equivalent to that which we generously pay in our taxes to provide our Congressional Representatives and Senators?

The reality is that most of those we've elected could easily pay out-of-pocket for all their medical care with little or no detrimental effect on their financial situation – not so true for most ordinary people -- not true at all for others.

Here's what fact-checker Snopes says is the current status of health insurance coverage members of Congress will receive if the Affordable Care Act (ACA aka Obama Care) is repealed:  "...members of Congress have a fallback plan. They would be able to return to the FEHBP. Twenty million other Americans won’t."

We might want to ask .....

.....what are the Trump Senate health care plan bill's provisions for members of Congress coverage?  


Why aren’t all Americans regardless of political affiliation …..


….. up in arms demanding fair health insurance coverage?

…..outraged that a foreign nation has attempted to interfere in our elections – and is expected to continue doing so in the future?

…..demanding accountability from our President and his administrators demonstrating that there is no conflict of interest between their personal business interests and actions taken as our government agents?

…..requiring actions to benefit ordinary citizens be given precedence over give--aways to the wealthy?


AGING HUMOR

Decades ago, a few years after we moved to Southern California, the Los Angles NBC-TV affiliate added a couple of new young broadcasters to their on-air talent roster.   The two separately and occasionally in tandem demonstrate some comic talents they often incorporate into their portions of the news programs which they both continue to deliver. 

One is a sportscaster, the other, a weatherman – Fritz Coleman, who has been a stand-up comedian even longer.  Here’s a short, less than 5 minutes, excerpt of Fritz’s humorous comments at a 2014 Conference on Aging in Pasadena. 



Hope you have a few laughs releasing those healing endorphins.

Monday, June 19, 2017

RONNI BENNETT ----------- GIFT CARD SAGA

RONNI BENNETT  at    "TIME GOES BY" 

 ......send positive thoughts her way as she undergoes surgery Tuesday June 20th.

We Elderbloggers have benefited from her guidance, encouragement and support as she continues to write about "what it's really like to get old" -- in addition to all the other information she provides.   

THANKS RONNI!     I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR RETURN TO BLOGGING SOON.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

GIFT CARD SAGA has also been on my mind recently..........

Once upon a time …. this mother decided to surprise her daughter who was busy with working -- making plans to transport home her daughter  following University graduation, plus her  four years of accumulated belongings -- keeping their home in pristine “show” condition for prospective buyers until sold -- just to describe her primary preoccupations.   The home’s kitchen counter had been cleared of the older microwave so that quick clean cooking convenience was gone. 

Who knew how long enduring the home selling process would be necessary.   Wouldn’t being able to use  gift cards to  some favorite eating establishments, or tickets to a movie theater be nice, if you needed to exit the abode to allow  an open house or a showing…..or after unloading the car when home from University?   If I was on the opposite coast where they live, I’d be treating both of my “girls” to ease the stress.    Mother’s Day was approaching, so the gift could be especially timely, or could be saved for the weeks ahead I reasoned.   Once the house was sold there would be more packing, moving to the new residence with no less free time for either gals than before.  
           
So, I purchased gift cards I especially wanted to insert in a morale-boosting humorous greeting card -- commiserating with the harried state of their lives.  I could picture in my mind their laughing faces when the funny card and contents arrived.    Off to the post office – wisely deciding to insure the envelope’s contents – learning the card would arrive Saturday before Mother’s Day.   Perfect!   Won’t they be pleasantly surprised!    Better alert them to be certain to retrieve their mail that day from the curbside mailbox.

The surprise was mine – the suspense, then the disappointment theirs – the card did not arrive Saturday, the following Monday or any day thereafter.  Tracking on the computer reveals the envelope was never scanned after the initial scan at my post office, so showed to be always in transit, but not where.   A couple trips to my post office elicits clerk instructions to “wait a little longer”, after they check their computer verifying what I had told them.

Eventually, I phone a couple of the gift card businesses who report their cards had not been used.  Another check with the post office clerk – to be told I could file an insurance claim no sooner than 21 days after mailing.    So, after that deadline, back to the post office where this time I was told the clerk couldn’t help me when I requested an insurance claim form -- that I had to file a claim on the Internet.

When I’m told I must use the Internet, my hackles are raised as I wonder what the statistics say are the number of people without Internet usage – how do they submit a form ?   (I miss blogger Schmidley Scribblings , retired government statistician, who could shed some educated insight on the viability of this statistical  research)…. but here’s what Pew researchers said in May 2016 – 13% of adults don’t use the Internet.

I said, “What if I don’t have a computer?”  I eventually request to speak to the Supervisor who finally decides to print a copy of the form for me, then admonishes I must submit on the Internet.  I say, “Do you mean in order to submit it, I have to take it somewhere and pay to use their computer?”   She sorta shrugs, after a pause, reluctantly saying, “Bring it in” as she turns away, hurriedly closing the door to the inner sanctum behind her.   I simply wanted to find out what people without Internet connection do.  

Following that encounter, carrying my forms and receipts back and forth to the post office, I discover that my insurance receipt was now missing.   I check the car, areas where I was in the house, for the receipt, to no avail.  I thought, maybe the postal officials will accept all the other documentation I have as adequate.   Much to my surprise and relief, several days later I found the receipt hidden under the edge of my recliner.  

A week or so later, when completing the USPS insurance claim form, I note instructions on the back provide directions for mailing-- fortunate for the population I was concerned about which includes a considerable number of our older population.    I know we’ll all eventually be “connected” but there should be some provision for those who aren’t in the meantime – and having to do so, they  shouldn’t be made to feel “lesser than” for asking.  Also, computers die – power goes out – what then?  

Reminds me -- I love it when I phone my provider’s tech support number and get a recording instructing me to solve my problem on the internet -- “I can’t – I’ve lost the Internet connection!  That’s why I’m calling!!”

My final effort before mailing involves a trip to an office supply store to use their copy machine.  This results in a quite unbelievable complication – even sounds like “the dog ate my homework” excuse.  That disappearing, then reappearing insurance receipt went to extremes this time.  Placing all the paperwork on the top of the copy machine while I select purchase receipts to copy, suddenly the insurance receipt flutters away – downward -- landing on edge -- slipping into a hairline wide separation between the wall and the eight inch high baseboard – lingering briefly with one corner protruding before sliding away into some mysterious dimension before I could retrieve it.  

Two different store clerks came to explore some possible rescue, but  squinty-eye peering into the abyss through that sliver-of-an-opening evidences no sign of the white paper receipt.  Copying the rest of my documents, I am reconciled to sending what I have, in the hopes the postal service authorities will find the data sufficient to refund my gift cards value. 

The good news is I had been able to arrange for the largest card amounts to be reimbursed.   I earlier phoned each of the four businesses to verify a second time the cards had not been redeemed, then requested they be voided and the amount be reissued in some manner so I wouldn’t have to bother with the insurance.   Two businesses,  a restaurant and a coffee house), accommodated my request, but I had them send ecards as replacements.    

The movie theater had no mechanism for handling such a process for the card purchased at my supermarket – though that’s where the others had been bought and activated also.   The other card from a popular universal pizza company has a disclaimer in the small print I was told -- “cards lost, stolen, damaged, destroyed or used without your permission will not be replaced nor their funds".  


So, the latter two smaller amounts, plus my postage are what I will be expecting the USPS to reimburse.   What I have learned will influence the type card purchases I might make in the future – also, whether or not I would want to send any of these cards through the mail which, as I knew  is just like putting cash in the envelope. 

I wonder about others experiences with gift cards, if they ever mail them, and if any delivery, redemption or replacement issues?    

Sunday, June 18, 2017

FATHERS ARE SPECIAL

Father's Day honors just how special fathers can be -- giving their support, their counsel -- not only when all is well, but during challenging times -- most of all for their unconditional love.  

We honor fathers present in our lives and/or those who live on only in our memories.  Fortunate are those who are able to enjoy family get-togethers -- often with several generations enlivening the gathering.   Hope each of you enjoy the day in whatever manner has been meaningful to you.  






Friday, June 09, 2017

THOUGHT.......QUESTIONS.......JUSTICE

THOUGHT – CAUTIONARY TALE

I have this habit of writing “thot” for thought and other abbreviations based on how words sound.   I use such casual shortened words in my instant messaging and email conversation.   I know there’s a whole set of such words and acronyms being used, accessible on the Internet, but I’ve never bothered to study them.  I simply make up my own, though that can be dangerous.   

My young adult granddaughter has cautioned me “thot” has a different meaning in culture today.   So, I consulted my trusty Urban Dictionary link.   Guess we all better be careful what we write:


QUESTIONS

Questions….questions….I’ve never had so many questions.....here are a few:

Should Americans be seriously concerned, as I am, that Russia (or any foreign government) interfered in our election?

Should Americans be alarmed that Russia is expected to continue to do so?

Do we need serious investigations to identify all American individuals who have engaged in actions with the Russians to affect our elections -- even if they just encouraged or invited the Russians to do so?

Why does our President not seem dedicated to protecting our nation from a potential threat to elections in our government since this is a non-partisan issue?  

Should we believe this self-described brilliant businessman is so naive as to not understand how to behave ethically as President, but if he doesn't, is that an excuse for not doing so?

Are we ever going to see the President’s taxes to rule out any business conflicts of interest with Russia, or other countries, corporations, and why won't he reveal them?

Is this administration threatening our democratic republic constitutional government? 

Is an intent for “deconstruction of the administrative state” stated as this adminstration’s agenda by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon a betrayal of allegiance to the United States of America?  

Instead of “draining the swamp” has our President created a cesspool?

Does passing Presidential Executive Orders eliminating regulations that safeguard Americans from financial exploitation and collapse really benefit ordinary citizens?

Does passing Presidential Executive Orders that eliminate consumer protections benefit ordinary citizens?   

When White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says:  “I can definitively say the President is not a liar”, is that true?  


JUSTICE

I would enjoy returning to D.C. to sight see at a more leisurely pace than the last time I went.   Years earlier trips I had there with other family were just driving Pennsylvania Avenue and passing the White House. 

My last trip several years ago I was visiting family in Virginia.   A friend who had relocated to VA had an appointment in D.C. with the FBI for some research she was doing.  Though she had a parking pass in the Bureau’s parking garage, after our long drive to D.C. I urgently needed a rest stop.   So, we had to stop hurriedly at a parking meter practically in front of the Justice Dept. and I rushed up the steps and inside. 

Unfortunately, the Justice Dept. would not allow me to utilize their facilities, since I didn't have a pass beyond the entryway.   I could see the ladies room door tantalizingly close, but beyond my access.  That resulted in my having quite a different problem -- no justice there.   (Later I learned I had an infection.) 

The parking meter on the street required coins every two hours, so my excursions the rest of the day were limited by the need to acquire the proper coins, then to feed the meter periodically and locate a rest room.  I would like to have explored much more, including the Viet Nam Memorial Wall, but especially now, since installation of the WWII Memorial.   




Saturday, June 03, 2017

FISHY -- TWO DIFFERENT MEANINGS -- SHARKS

FISHY BEAUTY

Fishy can be beautiful.  I was surprised and delighted to happen on to this amazing video of a male puffer fish’s courting efforts to attract a female.  I had no idea a fish could design such a spectacular creation in moving waters on the ocean floor --  as you will see with the overhead view at the conclusion of this 3:12 min. video.
   



FISHY

There are lots of fishy goings-on at our U. S. Governmental level of which most of us are aware.   Nobody has been walking on water across the Potomac as some might lead us to believe they are capable of doing – especially this administration’s leader.  How do we believe a documented habitual liar though he repeatedly espouses exclamations like “Believe me!”  “Trust me!” to quote a few?  

Yet our President environmentally betrays the health and safety of United States citizens as evidenced by withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Accords.  Much of his justification speech for doing so has been countered with contradictory facts and figures in this USA Today article.   There are more ways to protect the American people than just guns, bombs, military interventions and trade bullying which seem to be his limitations.

Meanwhile our U.S. President appears to be leading our great nation to declining status domestically and internationally.
   
Periodically, this master of mendacity, divisive actions, and isolationism bemoans division in our country as he simultaneously describes himself as being a truthful unifier.     Delusions of grandeur must prevail in his mind,since his actions can be interpreted as being designed to degrade trust in our democratic system.  We might wonder what is his true agenda?  Reminds me of a popular song heard a few decades ago:  Everybody Wants To Rule The World”.   



BIG FISH 

Climate warming of oceans continues to see our Southern California coastal waters influencing sea creatures lives.  Sharks surprisingly have been lingering along our shores weeks longer than usual and much closer to the beach. 

This Euro News video shows paddleboarders next to 15 great white sharks as authorities warn beachgoers.  


Dana Point is an area friends and I enjoy visiting but usually we view the Pacific Ocean and it's inhabitants from the shore -- whales breaching, dolphins leaping. 

"About 15 great white sharks showed up off Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, California, some coming very close to shore into less than 5 feet of water at times."  Shared by Mark, Orange County Outdoors