Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1822 Karma Insurance

1822 Karma Insurance

This Baldwin upright fell from the roof of a ten story nursing home and landed on a man about to visit an aunt and brought along a bottle of auntie- freeze.  Who pays for the piano, the filling of the new pothole and the villain squished into it?

Each day, we’re bombarded by insurance ads and news stories.  Obamacare, Trump care, home, renter motorcycle, boat, life, health… and more.  

We can all Sing Along with Pitch:

Fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on karma insurance.  Call Geico.

For a great low rate you can get on- line, go to The General and save some time.

Flo. Oy.

Like a good neighbor.

You’re in good hands.

On your side.

(L to R:) Statue of Liberty, unpaid spokeswoman for Liberty Mutual; J.K. Simmons, well regarded actor and now spokesman for Farmers Insurance which is probably an easier gig than Dr. Skoda on Law & Order and Chief Pope on The Closer.

Anyone missing  from this list?  Probably, but that’s not the point.

Thing is not what’s missing here but what those sloganeer car insurance companies are missing.

What’s the goal of an insurance company? To collect fees and low ball or avoid claims.

What’s harder to identify than a smashed in passenger side door or a dent in the truck?


You know it when you see it.  You long for it for both your friends and rivals.  And when it strikes you, especially if you’ve been naughty, what do you want most?


So… we propose the AKA, the Affordable Karma Act.  

Karma is usually slow moving.  The AKA would speed up the process so that guy who cut you off at the checkout line or on the highway would within a day be crushed by a falling piano pushed off the roof of a ten story nursing home where he was about to visit Aunt Beth to make sure he was still in her will.

The AKA would protect you from that stalker Flo. And that other stalker, the General.  And the Geico gecko.  (The gecko would be stepped on while touring an aircraft carrier by a formation of navy recruits that didn’t yet get that “left, right, left, right thing.  Nothing left but a little green deck stain to be removed at 06:00 hours by a team of Navy scrubbing swabbies.)  Shaquille might not notice The General sitting in the driver’s seat of that sports car and the poor little guy would look like the squashed gecko after Shaq mistakenly sat down on him.

And of course your good deeds would be rewarded.  Like the time when you found the wallet with all that money in it and returned it.  And that ingrate of a fussy old man gave you a 50 cent piece and it turned out to be a fake.

There are problems. The AK act is not perfect. For example, how would an adjuster adjust? By taking a picture of the fallen piano?  By rushing in with his phone cam to capture the green stain before the swabbies got to it?

And what happens when legislative geniuses like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell decide to repeal and replace?  And got rewarded for their effort by losing the next election?

Can the insurance industry do a better job with the webpage than the Obamacare crew?

No worries, we can expect Alex Trebek to return to the small screen and assure us that we can buy Karma insurance for as little as 35 cents a day and your rate will never go up.  The Peanuts characters can get in on the act when Met Life gets into this part of the business.

The AARP will have Karmacare supplement plans for seniors because there will be cases even the best insurance doesn’t fully cover.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Monday, July 17, 2017

1821 Let's Take a Meeting

Let’s take a meeting. Not a bus or train or plane.  A meeting.

Let’s take a meeting.  Okay.  How about we take it from Paris to Poquot.  Or from Honolulu to Haverstraw.

Hey, what happened to your meeting?  I don’t know. It was here a minute ago. Someone must have taken it.

Let’s take a meeting.  Should we take it, or should we bring it.

Well if it’s taken, someone has to bring it back.  Unless you miss it. If you miss a meeting, call the cops. Ask for the Missing Meetings Bureau.

I missed the meeting.  That’s okay, you still have three bullets in the clip. Shoot again, maybe this time you’ll hit it.

You know how to take your turn.  You know how to take only one strawberry at a time.   You may know how to take your time.

You know how you take your coffee.  You know how to leave and take your football with you.

But how do you take a meeting.  And where did that horrible stupid expression come from in the first place.

It’s everywhere.

We used to hold meetings.  Convene them. Fall asleep during them. We used to pretend we were having one when someone called and we didn’t want to talk to them.  “He’s in a meeting” was the Great Shield of the 1980s and 90s.  But more recently “he’s taking a meeting” has taken over.

Trump Jr. took a meeting with some Russian lawyer. We presume it was behind closed doors.  (Aren’t they all? There’s no open door policy in meetings like that.) Well, maybe this one, come to think of it.  

The meeting started out taken by Jr. and two other administration wheels. Now, each day, we find more and more people were there.  A translator.  Some others.  Maybe a stray squirrel or two. By the time we get a head count for that session, there’s going to be no room big enough to hold them all. It’ll turn out having been held in a high school gym.  And you can’t have a closed door meeting in a high school gym because that would violate the fire laws.

(Now now, I can see your wheels turning as you ask yourself “since when did violating laws bother these people?” But that’s something to take a meeting about at another time.)

If there had just been three or four attending -- oops! -- three or four taking, we might fear what went on because a four member meeting might actually accomplish something.  And with these yo yos it can’t be anything good. Any more than that and no one would be listening. They’d be preoccupied with what they were going to say next.  Happens every time.  So taking this particular meeting probably accomplished nothing. Too many people.

Ever been on a conference call?  You know people are not listening.  They’re doodling on their yellow pads or playing Candy Crush on their iPhones or playing footsy with that hot person-of-the-other-gender at the next desk. Or taking a nap.

So please. Please hold a meeting, attend a meeting, miss a meeting.  And please, please take the A Train or take a picture or take a leave of absence.

But don’t take a meeting.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Friday, July 14, 2017

1820 Mr. Trumpachov Tear Down that Wall

Gewandhaus Optisch

Has kind of a nice Reaganesque ring to it, no?  Well, guess what? Looks like Comrade Commissar Trumpachov is having second thoughts about that border wall down Mejico way.

What, no Trumpachov related industries down there so the contract will have to go to some unknown kickback free low bidder? Perish forbid!

Actually the US has been building a wall down there for a long time.  Some of what was first built is falling apart and the president wants it fixed forthwith.  But building a new wall, well, maybe -- he says -- we only need to build 700 miles, not the 2,000 originally planned.

We don’t know how much it will cost to build the Great Wall of Texas.  But maybe they could throw some of that money into fixing the Jersey Turnpike… or the Pennsylvania Turnpike or the Oklahoma Turnpike or the Ohio Turnpike.  Or Route 66 or Highway 101.  No one will complain about violating states rights.

At any rate, the Commissar took time out from his Berlitz intensive on Russian as a Second Language to backpeddle on the scope of Project Wall.  

And this is a good sign.  Not only because less wall will be built, but because it amounts to a half baked reversal of one of his central campaign promises.  Optimists hope this is the start of a trend.

We’ll believe it as soon as his check to Planned Parenthood clears, Betsy DiVorce joins the United Federation of Teachers, Steve Banana converts to Judaism, and Attorney General Sessions is busted in a dollar-a-minute Opelika Alabama hotel with a black hooker and a lit joint.

“Take a hammer and a stick
And a shovel and a pick
And tear the big wall down.”
--South African folksinger and religious leader Sebastian Templehoff.
--"Trump said that if I voted for Hillary I would get a criminal in the White House under federal investigation from the first day. He was right, I voted for Hillary and I got a criminal in the White House under federal investigation since day one." --Anon. via Charlie Richards.

--Former President Carter, building Habitat for Humanity houses in Canada was hospitalized for dehydration. Habitat says he doesn’t appear to be in any real medical danger. Earth to Habitat: Being 92 years old and in perfect health is real medical danger.

--Samsung appears ready to introduce its “Note 8” smartphone. This, after having some minor technical issues with the Note 7 which was pulled off the market. Don’t believe the rumors that each “8” will come with its own fire extinguisher. bought Whole Foods and already the acquisition is affecting the mother ship. In addition to Amazon Prime, it will offer Amazon Choice and Amazon Select. The USDA has not decided whether to charge copyright infringement.

Amazon Prime delivery vehicle

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

1819 What Russia Wants

Russian spy software field tested ca 2015

Russian operatives have been courting the Trump administration since before there was one.  And it’s not hard to see why.

The Russian economy is in trouble.  And that’s not hard to see why either.  Their only real products are oil, vodka and threatening smaller countries.  

Geographically, every other country is smaller and has fewer time zones.  Their once mighty military is a shadow of its former self.  It’s nuclear stockpile was divided among hoarders from the pool of Generals With Nothing Left to Do, from KGB types masquerading as business tycoons and by rogue collective farmers who want to make decorative gardens surrounded by low fences made of radioactive rocks.

The price of oil ain’t what it used-ta was.  Any worthy Russian can make bathtub vodka.  And those smaller threatened countries are starting to laugh at the threats.  Except Ukraine which really doesn’t know which way to dither.

So where does an ambitious and relatively young Neo-Soviet dictator in training like Putin turn for new ideas?  Why to the United States, of course.  We are the font of innovation. Just ask us!

Now while Moscow faces lean times depending on its core industry, oil, the US has for years faced lean times depending on its core industry, vehicle production.

And how have we begun to struggle away from that headache?  By becoming a “service economy” and a world leader in technology.

Until recently, Russian consumer technology was an oxymoron. They’d make things like four pound cell phones, 60 inch iPads, and lithium ion batteries that couldn’t hold a charge but caught fire and exploded anyway.

Then, they learned how to use computers, starting by dismantling Osborns and Amstrads and MSDOS machines and putting them back together without having parts left over.

But these people are not dummies.  Along the way they learned to hack and to spy.  And to show the world how far they’ve come, to demonstrate how they are now as advanced as, say, Bulgaria or India, they hacked the American election and won it for Donald Trump.

Yes, the Russian meddling in our internal affairs was just part of a well planned sales pitch.  And Presto! A new industry is born.  The service economy comes to a newly empowered Russia.

They don’t really want to influence anything in America.  At least not until they locate and reclaim that nuclear stockpile from the rogue generals and collective farmers with glow in the dark stone fences.

That meeting of the Russian lawyer with Trump, Jr.? It wasn’t about providing dirt on Hillary.  It wasn’t about adoptions.  It was to demonstrate their new found skills in computer stalking.

When Vladimir tours the world’s other leading dictatorships he’s making sales calls.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Monday, July 10, 2017

1818 Quora Answers I'd Like to Give but Don't

Quora is a website where people ask questions and other people reply.  It can be informative and helpful.  It can also be a choral version of Dear Abby. But some of the questions are just plain dopey.

Here are some recent questions (some paraphrased):

Why doesn’t China adopt an alphabet like everyone else?

Answer I’d Like to Give but haven’t: Because what they have has worked for five thousand years and why fix what ain’t broke.

Question: How can I make my brake pads last longer?
Answer: Stop less often.

Q: Is Breitbart a reliable source?
A: Of what?

Q: What is it like to live in New York City?:
A: Same as anywhere else except faster and louder except at chain drug stores and the post office where it’s as bad as everywhere else.

Q: Is it okay for an adult daughter to share a bed with her father?
A: Only if they sleep alternate shifts in it.

Q: How can I reject a guy who says “Can we be just friends?”  
A: Just say no.

Q: Can someone with bad grammar be a good writer?
A: Sure if he or she has a good editor.

Q: What stops me from keeping a diary?
A: Nothing noteworthy ever happens to you.

Q: Which labs at (redacted) University are coolest to work in during the summer?
A: Why work in a lab when you can work in a movie theater and be cool all the time?

Q: What motivates someone to write?
A: Masochism.

Q: Is it OK for a mom to shower with her teenage kids?
A: See answer to the question about daughters and fathers sharing a bed.

Q: What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Black people?”
A: Black people.

Q: Why do most people believe vaccines don’t cause autism?
A: Because they don’t.

Q: Why don’t people understand Donald Trump?
A: Many of us failed Gibberish as a Second Language in sixth grade.

Q: How can I know if a homeless person is legit?
A: Follow him home and if he goes nowhere, he’s legit.

Q: How can I change an atheist?
A: What do you want to change him into?

Q: Why call people “differently abled” instead of “disabled?”
A: Oversensitivity.

Q: I want to speak better on text as I believe that I’m boring as I often am ignored by someone who I want to be a friend of mine.  What should I try?
(The above is a direct quote.)
A: Write shorter.  Much shorter. Your target isn’t bored. You just put him to sleep.

Q: Is it good to have one baby or two?
A: Yes.

Q: Will my professor be impressed if I write an assigned 20 page essay in 87 pages?
A: Yes, she will be impressed… with your lack of ability to meet specifications, your bloated wordiness and your blatant disregard for her time, energy and the works of other students.

Q: Have you ever lied about your age?
A: Yes, twice: once because I was 17 and the drinking age was 18 and once because at the age of 75, I told her I was 74 because I knew she was interested in younger men.

Q: What were Barack and Michelle Obama like before they were famous?
A: Unknown versions of the Barack and Michelle Obama that they became when they got famous.

Q: What is the difference between Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews?
A: One thousand years, give or take.

Q: What is a harmless lie you regularly tell?
A: I read The Economist cover to cover each week.

Q: What is the strangest experience you’ve had on a flight?
A: The plane took off and landed on time.

Q: My boyfriend refuses to put in the effort to save our relationship and I’m tired of nagging him to do so. Is it time to move on?
A: No. It’s time to stop nagging.

Q: What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
A: Make sure the shower curtain hangs inside the tub.

These are answers I’d have posted if I didn’t care about my reasonably good reputation as a Quora answerer. Future sections of this type will be infrequent and shorter. -WR

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Friday, July 07, 2017

1817 Freudenphone

SOMETIMES a phone is just a phone. (Vienna Tourist Board)

This is a problem for modern psychiatry.  Unfortunately we don’t know any modern psychiatrists with free time, (or even cheap time,) so we had to go back in time and visit our favorite oldie but goodie, Dr. Sigmund Fraud.

And we had to go to Vienna to do it because they didn’t have phones there when Dr. Fraud practiced.
So, doc, here’s the problem: My phone doesn’t understand me.

“Vas is ‘fone,’ please. Is that some kind of parent or guardian in your century?” he asked.

No, Ziggy, a phone is short for telephone which is a device people here in the future use for talking to one another when they are not in the same room.

That stopped the old coot.  But being the scholarly grandfather of shrinkery, he asked for more information.  Now, here’s the real problem.  You’re supposed to be able to be able to use smartphones to connect to the internet and to send text messages.

And like any other computer- based machines, there are many ways to do that.  One of them is talking.  

Dr. Fraud understood that once he learned what a telephone is and does.  And here’s where psychiatry comes in.  Sometimes, your phone doesn’t understand you.

So when you dictate rather than write, the phone puts words in your mouth.  Well, not in your mouth. On your screen and the screen of the recipient.

Example: you tell the phone “Trump is worse than either of the Bushes.”  And on your screen you see “trample the bushes.”

You ask “What is a Formula One car?” And on your screen: “Here is one example of a formula: E = mc2.”

You send a text: “Sorry, I can’t go to your party.” Your recipient gets “Sorry, I can’t go to the potty.”

It’s frustrating.  You can’t get your message out. And for some reason, many of these listening mistakes turn into profanity or obscenity.  No examples of that because this is a family vacation.  NO. This is a family PUBLICATION.

Dr. Fraud, being the brilliant man he was, says “maybe you’re not speaking clearly.”  But it comes out “Maybelle could not love you dearly.”

Ziggy asks why did do you hate your parents? And you wonder why you even made the call.  You ask him what is the meaning of all this and he answers:

“Sometimes a telephone is just a telephone.”

Um… Didn’t you say that about cigars? I need a nap. “Get off my couch.”


--Your telephone is supposed to “learn” your speech patterns thus reducing the number of errors.  But sometimes smartphones are pretty stupid.  Anyone have a really really small dunce cap?

--There is an upside to all this. You have thousands of years of wisdom and knowledge in the palm of your hand. When you realize that, you’re generally looking for a recipe for cauliflower soup.  And the phone has no problems understanding something like that.

--Almost no phone plan still charges by the minute. But for those who still have that, please remember Cellphone Math. One minute plus one minute equals two minutes, but one minute plus three seconds also equals two minutes.

-“I’m going to put on my gravestone ‘he never owned a cell phone.’” -- Jesse Ventura

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

1816 How Are Things in Glocca Morra?

GLOCCA MORRA, IRELAND (Wessays™) -- It’s a fictional place; it doesn’t exist. Kind of like the country whose 240th birthday we celebrated last night.  What a wonderful place that would be, if only it were real.

July fourth marked the 240th anniversary of the adoption of our declaration of war against Britain.  We call it the Declaration of Independence.  But that’s not historically accurate.  It’s government doublespeak for announcing our intention to throw the English out and start running our place ourselves.

But celebrate we do.  And there’s none bigger or more flamboyant than the fireworks display on New York’s East River.

All those barges with all those fireworks!
Three hundred shells a second. Night becomes day lit by gargantuan sparklers.  Thank you Macy’s. It was thrilling especially when accompanied by the West Point Band and Glee Club and surrounded by NBC’s variety show of such blinding glam you begin to believe you’re in a real place.

Here in Glocca Morra, at least we know we’re fictional.

To some, this celebration was something like the May Day parade at the Kremlin.  Lot’s of flash as the empty missiles are rolled by to the cheers of the downtrodden.

A doddering TV Network gets together with a once great department store now edging toward insolvency to celebrate the birth of a once great nation that’s eating itself alive.

Not to demean the celebration. It could make the most cynical among us believe.  Gets that feeling in your heart.  That pride in your chest.

We celebrated our diversity.  People from all walks of life went on camera every few minutes for two hours and told us how glad they are to be here.  Sure they’re glad. It’s still a place where you can make your own way, make something of yourself.  Make a pile of dough or whatever else it is you came here for.

But from the inside looking out, things could be better.  We’re more racially divided than ever.  We’re more oversensitive than ever. We’re more at odds with one another than ever.

That can do spirit for which we are rightfully famous is turning inward. We can’t agree on health care. We can’t agree on budget. We can’t agree on who we support or who we oppose.

We live in fear that the Russians will take us over.  We live in fear that the tin wok dictator in North Korea will soon be able to nuke Kansas City by pushing a button in Pyongyang. Which will destroy us first, a rocket ship with a North Korean missile or a melting iceberg fueled by the exhaust fumes from your 1982 Plymouth K-car?

Neither will happen tomorrow.  But what will happen tomorrow is a continuation of the stupid petty differences among us that raged on yesterday all the while as we talked about how 330-million of us present a united front and a will to compromise… a complete myth.

So it was nice to see J-Lo and Sheryl Crow and Brad Paisley and Lady Antebellum sing.  And we enjoyed the chatter of those three people you never heard of and can’t pronounce from “America’s Ninja Warriors.”

But things ain’t great in Glocca Morra. And the only one who can do anything about that is… us. So we’d best make sure there still is an “us” to do it.  And we’re now heading in the opposite direction.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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