Nov 25th, 2013 by Mike

We just got home from a Caribbean cruise with our good friends, Jerry and Lori Roames. I just picked up the accumulated mail and we are inundated with 27 (count ’em twenty-seven) catalogs.

Oh, And Here’s Some More
Jun 6th, 2012 by Mike

Reader’s Digest also published:

  • 20 percent of Americans think that the sun revolves around the earth.
  • Less than half (47 percent) of Americans don’t know how long it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun.
  • Only 59 percent of adults know that the earliest humans and dinosaurs did not live at the same time.


Jun 3rd, 2012 by Mike

What are the three branches of government?

Name at least two members of the supreme court.

Point to Louisiana on a map?

The majority of Americans—three in four—identify Larry, Curly and Moe as the Three Stooges. That’s certainly understandable. But only two out of five respondents can correctly identify the executive, legislative, and judicial as the three branches of government.

More than three quarters of Americans can name at least two of the seven dwarfs, while less than a quarter can name two members of the Supreme Court.

Less than six months after Hurricane Katrina, one third of those surveyed couldn’t point to Louisiana on a map. 1Source Readers’ Digest, June 2012, citing, business, and as their sources.

Really? And I thought Jay-Walking was a set-up.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Source Readers’ Digest, June 2012, citing, business, and as their sources.
Cost of Education
Apr 13th, 2011 by Mike

Read in the paper this morning that a school district in Maine is giving iPads to each enrolling kindergartner. Yes, that’s kindergartner. They’re getting the $700 models. I think I’ll go back to school.

No wonder the cost per student in the US is around 10 grand each.

Only In America
Mar 9th, 2010 by Mike

We just received a letter from the U.S. Department of Commerce telling us that our 2010 Census form will arrive in about a week. I’m glad the government is spending billions to tell us this. Last year we received a letter from the government telling us that our stimulus check would arrive in about a week. Anybody else think this is a waste of money?

Got Fired Today
Sep 28th, 2009 by Mike

Apparently, I really offended my dentist, Dr. Adam Still, (or his operations manager, Stacy Markle), of Laurel Manor Dental. Offended enough that they no longer want me (or Mrs. Major) as a patient. Here’s what happened:

About a year and a half ago, Dr. Still recommended that I replace the crowns on teeth 18 and 19 as they were beginning to “leak” and I would begin to get cavities underneath them soon. He gave me a treatment plan for the two crowns at $2200. 1Actually $910 per crown and $195 each for buildups…so it’s really $2210. I have this minimalist dental insurance 2It’s The Retiree Dental Program for retired military which we pay for. It doesn’t cover all the costs and for crowns there is a max per crown that is very low. They only pay 50% with a max of $350 per crown. that was already maxed out for last fiscal year, so I tried to negotiate with the doctor on the price. He pretty much laughed me off.

I waited until the beginning of this fiscal year and attempted to renegotiate a better price for the two crowns. He refused. When my perodontist also recommended that I get the crowns replaced, I began to shop around to see if a local dentist would do them for less. The good folks at Royal Dental concurred with Laurel Manor Dental’s diagnosis and agreed to replace the crowns for $699 each. I requested that Laurel Manor Dental send my x-rays to Royal Dental so that they could do the work. Which they did for the agreed upon price. They did a great job, too.

A week or so later, I got a letter from Stacy Markle stating that Laurel Manor Dental was sorry to see me leave and was wishing me the “very best in your future dental care.” I called Ms. Markle several times but was unsuccessful. The last time I left her a message on her voicemail stating that I was not changing dentists. I just wanted to save $800 on my crowns. Other than the price for the crowns, I was completely satisfied with Laurel Manor Dental.

Yesterday, I received a “Dear John” letter from Ms. Markle. I quote it here:

As referenced in my letter to you dated July 20th 2009 it is my understanding that you have chosen to seek dental care elsewhere. You indicated such to us when you requested your radiographs be forwarded to another office in order to have your treatment performed there. As a practice policy, we do not assume responsibility for treatment received outside of this office when we have diagnosed treatment and established a relationship with our patient. Therefore, as stated in my letter, we regret your decision, however, wish you the very best in your future dental care. 3I can’t help it. The punctuation in the first sentence is amiss. And one doesn’t diagnose a treatment; one prescribes a treatment.

A nice, friendly letter making it seem like I had abandoned our relationship. Figuring that a business manager would be loath to loose two valued customers in these tough economic times, I called Ms. Markle. I was astounded that, indeed, I was fired as a patient. They had cancelled my appointment for a cleaning for Wednesday.

I guess we’ll have to find another dentist.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Actually $910 per crown and $195 each for buildups…so it’s really $2210.
2. It’s The Retiree Dental Program for retired military which we pay for. It doesn’t cover all the costs and for crowns there is a max per crown that is very low. They only pay 50% with a max of $350 per crown.
3. I can’t help it. The punctuation in the first sentence is amiss. And one doesn’t diagnose a treatment; one prescribes a treatment.
Another Trillion
Mar 23rd, 2009 by Mike

A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money. 1Paraphrased from the original Everett Dirksen quote

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Paraphrased from the original Everett Dirksen quote
Cat Retirement Home
Jan 4th, 2009 by Mike


Cat Retirement Home

Cat Retirement Home

We’re home, the guests are gone so maybe I’ll get around to posting some more. In the mean time, check out this coupon I got in the mail for cat services. Free cat retirement analysis. Free meow mobile transport service. Cat retirement home. 

I guess if you were a cat person and you had an old cat you just couldn’t bear to put down this wouldn’t seem as weird to you as it does to me.

Not What They Seem To Be
Oct 24th, 2008 by Mike

Does anyone think that fake pricing is not only annoying, but also immoral?

Now, airlines regularly sell seats at a price, but tack on other fees not mentioned therein. For example, we recently bought airline tickets to fly from Orlando to Miami for $89 (including taxes, tags, license, and union dues). We were encouraged to pre-purchase baggage tickets 1to check the bags to save money and ensure our bags would be on the same flight as we will be. I did that today on the Internet. The cost? $55.00. That’s over 61% of the ticket price.

Travel agents are famous for this, quoting one price for a vacation or a cruise then in tiny print reveal that the price does not include government taxes and other fees. Is this materially different from the bait and switch tactics of retailers who advertise an item at a bargain price but have only more expensive items in stock?

What other examples of this kind of fake pricing have you encountered?

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. to check the bags
What’s Up With The Olympics Coverage
Aug 22nd, 2008 by Mike

Why is it that we get every single vault, twist, pirouette, jump, pose from gymnastics about five times each and we only get 10 seconds of the women’s shot put, discus, and pole vault? Could it be the Chinese don’t stand a chance in field events?

Are You Kidding Me?
May 10th, 2008 by Mike

Last week 90 some people were rounded up in a drug raid in San Diego. More than 60 of the culprits were students at San Diego State. One of the students, a criminal justice major, asked one of the arresting officers, “Do you think this will hurt my chances of employment with federal law enforcement?”

Ya think?

Is it today’s cultural influence that causes someone to even ask that question? Or are today’s college students just dumber than they were decades ago? Or was it just this one?

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