Character under construction.

I don’t want to continually moan about the weather, but it’s fairly moan-worthy. Last night we were all watching “Silver Linings Playbook” when Wendy slipped out of the room for about two minutes, then slipped back in. I went upstairs after the big dance number and found a puddle on the bathmat, next to the toilet. Hey, it was 4 degrees! And everybody else goes in this room!

Dogs. Right now, she’s snoozing on Kate’s lap. Scorin’ some cute points.

So, a while back I saw a piece on how badly stories about the Affordable Care Act are being reported in the nation’s hinterlands. I thought of that when I read this story, here in Michigan, this week. It informs us that the family, the Daverts, every one of whom is disabled, “fall within a niche that makes the Affordable Care Act more of a burden than a blessing. Now, they say, they’ll be paying nearly $8,000 more per year for medical care after being denied coverage through Obamacare.”

The father has cerebral palsy; the mother and their children all have osteogensis imperfecta, which leaves them with very fragile bones. The adults get disability, and I can’t believe they earn much. Michigan did Medicaid expansion, but (the mother) “went on to say that her family is not eligible for Medicaid because they come from a working background.” What?

Read the details, and what it appears happened is, they tried to insure their children separately, probably unnecessarily — because I can’t believe they aren’t Medicaid-eligible, and/or the kids aren’t covered under an S-CHIP plan — and fell into a morass that many people are trying to extricate them from. I’m very confused, as the mother says the kids are CHIP insured, but it “only assists in matters directly linked to their bone disease.” This makes no sense.

But hey, let the quotes roll:

Despite their quandary, the Daverts say they are not seeking handouts or anything of the sort from the public. Rather, they’re seeking to let others know what can befall them.

“We’re coming forward to educate the community, that if these kinds of costs can be imposed on our family, it can be imposed on any family,” Missy Davert said. “A word of caution is to take notice and if they do think the system is unfair, to speak out.

“It’s frustrating to me. It seems more and more our government has become a controlling power when the power is supposed to be with the people. I’m not saying this law isn’t good for some people. I’m really happy for those people (being helped), and I’m not trying to take away what they’ve gained, but it’s also hurting many people.”

Toooo perfect, those quotes.

This is the week that will never end. I had a dental cleaning today that felt like a jackhammer, I got 427 emails and 398 of them seemed to be cross-talk. But a few good interviews, and those are always good. A little bloggage:

The 25 most common passwords. One is, yes, “password.”

A little more about the Florida movie-theater shooting.

The cold seems to be in retreat. Fingers crossed.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |
 

66 responses to “Character under construction.”

  1. Dexter said on January 23, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Hey, good news…I was looking at the page the password list was on and I see that Spotify is offering free service to Android mobile users. Very cool…because I think Pandora sucks with its genre-based tunes. When I want to hear Nirvana I just might not want to hear Teenage Fanclub right then at that moment. If I get a hankerin’ to hear Hank Williams, I might not want to hear George Jones right then. With Pandora, you have to wait and wade through all kinds of tunes before your requested artist surfaces.

  2. Sherri said on January 23, 2014 at 2:08 am

    Students at Eastside Catholic still aren’t happy over the firing of their gay vice principal who got married last summer. The Archbishop of Seattle is pretty conservative, so I doubt they’ll get anywhere in the short term, but it will be interesting to see what happens to enrollment and donations next year. The Eastside suburbs are more conservative than Seattle proper, but not as conservative as when I first moved here 10 years ago, and never to be mistaken for truly conservative even then.

  3. alex said on January 23, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Hotheads packing heat is exactly why I would never presume to tell some obnoxious, loud motherfucker in a movie theater to shut up and quit ruining the experience for everyone else. Who ever thought someone would use lethal force with the same objective?

    Funny, the other day during a conversation about smoking, a twenty-something chimed in with amazement when it was mentioned that people used to actually smoke at their desks at work. She had no idea that airplane and movie theater seats used to have ashtrays built into the armrests; that people walked through shopping malls and grocery stores with lit cigarettes and pretty much smoked wherever they damn well pleased, and that ashtrays were ubiquitous fixtures in all public buildings. I explained that once upon a time the tobacco lobby was as powerful as the gun lobby is at present and smokers’ rights trumped everyone else’s. What remains to be seen is how much carnage is too much for the public to bear anymore.

  4. Snarkworth said on January 23, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Might there be a problem if Wendy concludes that indoor plumbing has its appeal?

  5. beb said on January 23, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I was surprised by the amount of animosity shown towards Michael Moore in yesterday’s comments. The man is flawed but he has good intentions. And for all his showboating his movies have brought to light issues that are just not covered by the mainstream. But speaking of stupid Michiganders with big mouths, here’s Ted Nugent opening his mouth again —
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ted-nugent-obama-hillary-clint-chimpanzee

    Some people should just quit while they’re ahead.

    The debunking of anti-ACA stories has become something of a cottage industry as well. It’s fascinating the number of times the people featured in these anti-Obamacare stories never actually went on the exchanges looking for affordable health care. You would think the reporters in the stories would have asked them that.

  6. coozledad said on January 23, 2014 at 8:44 am

    It’s getting to the point you can do anything you want with a gun as long as you’re a white male.

  7. Peter said on January 23, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Note to myself: no matter how desperate for money I get, do not become a delivery man in Tampa – I wouldn’t be surprised if one gets shot for delivering a pizza with the wrong toppings.

    People are scared of a gangbanger, but I think we should be more scared of senile seniors with silencers – they’ll mug for the booking photos and people will think that poor old coot wouldn’t hurt a fly. Then at the trial they’ll show Full Metal Jacket and blame it all on basic training.

  8. brian stouder said on January 23, 2014 at 9:30 am

    ACA is the all-purpose viscerally appealing faux-issue of the enraged-right, and presumably will be for the next decade or two; somewhat supplanting those nasty ‘trial lawyers’ of the 70’s and ’80s, as the premier go-to root of all evil in ‘Murica today.

    And indeed, the willful ignorance (or plain old default ignorance!) necessary in both cases strikes me as the same. For example, if your neighbor accidently burns your house down, or if your city utilities water suddenly smells like licorice and poisons your family(!), wouldn’t you – at some point – retain the services of a trial lawyer, and sue the sons of bitches?

    And, how unusual is it to go to the doctor and submit the bill to your insurance, and then get some smaller amount of remuneration (if any at all) than you expected?

    In short, who among us has actually read their health insurance policies, and/or really understands how it works? Fuhgetaboutit! Now – even though the insurance providers are all still private, for-profit companies, everytime anyone doesn’t get everything they want (with a cherry on top), it’s the fault of our Kenyan anti-colonialist socialist president’s “regime”….just as everytime we have to stop doing something fun, like chopping down trees onto our neighbor’s fence, or dumping used motor oil into our backyard, it’s the fault of those damned trial lawyers!

  9. Heather said on January 23, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Alex, this morning a neighbor caught me moving some chairs out of the street–there is maybe 4 inches of snow on the ground and in my opinion, the Chicago snow parking dibs tradition is especially bullshit in this instance. Anyway, he yelled at me to put them back and also called me a bitch, which instantly erased any inclination I might have had to do so. But I’m hanging up my dibs vigilante cape–people have guns (especially in my neighborhood, with lots of gang members) and will use them.

  10. brian stouder said on January 23, 2014 at 9:51 am

    And speaking of gun-toting idiots, the question now arises –

    is George Zimmerman more hateful toward young men who are not white, or toward women?

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/23/us/george-zimmerman-new-painting/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

    I think we’ve not seen the last of GZ in the dock

  11. Bitter Scribe said on January 23, 2014 at 10:14 am

    That “dibs” crap is so obnoxious. I don’t care if you shoveled out the snow and built a full-size replica of Michelangelo’s David with it. It’s a public street.

    The Republicans are going all-in on Obamacare opposition. Still. What a thing to hang your hat on–the hope that your fellow citizens will fail to get health insurance.

  12. Bob (not Greene) said on January 23, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I have never done the dibs thing, but in 2011 after the big Feb. 1-2 snowstorm I had to shovel out my car to get out and report on the damn storm. Took me and one of my sons an hour. I get back later that night and the SOB from across the street had parked there. Of course, the plows wouldn’t be around for another day or two and there was plenty of open space directly in front of his house, but the lazy ass would’ve had to shovel it out. So I went to his front door and told him to move his damn car. He did.

  13. Charlotte said on January 23, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Ugh, the ACA stories. We have one nearly every morning in the Billings Gazette (which is, by and large, a pretty good paper). Always AP, always about how terrrrrrrrrible it is. Although yesterday’s story was about how dumb people are who have never had insurance and how they don’t know how to use it. Nice. I do have a couple of friends who should know better who are bitching about “having to carry maternity coverage” but by and large, the biggest scariest thing is that once people find out it actually works, they’re going to want single payer (or at least a girl can hope). My 8 years of helping my mom out demonstrated to me at least that I *want* Medicare, and will pay the Part B co-insurance, and it works great.

    Not so cold here. Nice actually. Walked back from Chuck’s house this morning — in the 20s, looks like it’s going to be sunny. My new sunporch room gets up into the 70s on afternoons like this when it’s in the 40s outside. Makes me unbearably happy.

  14. alex said on January 23, 2014 at 10:33 am

    When I lived in Chicago, I never messed with anyone who had dibs, not for fear of getting shot, but getting keyed. Or slashed. However, there were occasions when I was tempted to snag on some cool retro kitchen chairs.

  15. Maggie Jochild said on January 23, 2014 at 10:42 am

    After my mother died at age 56 and my father’s next hasty remarriage failed, he lost his house and his job. He moved into a crappy apartment near my youngest brother and got a security officer job. He began giving full vent to all the racism he had been forced to keep in check living with Mama, and started buying guns.

    He finally married again, an alcoholic Baptist widow older than him who owned her home, and spent his days on his recliner in front of the TV watching Walker Texas Ranger and Bonanza reruns. He had caddies over each arm rest. In the right hand one was the remote, a large sportsdrink cup filled with iced tea and bourbon, and a loaded 9 mm with the safety off. In the left hand one was a men’s urinal bedpan jug so he didn’t have to keep running to the toilet.

    He warned me often that if I came to visit, I was to give him advance notice and a firm arrival time, and NEVER to let myself in without loud knocking and much calling out of my name. He’d say sorrowfully “I’d had to have to shoot you, honey.”

    I liken his unveiling of what must have been there all along, unchanged by my mother’s influence, as analogous to what has happened in this country since the Right made it publicly acceptable (again) to articulate open violence against niggers and bitches. People of colour and open-eyed women could have told you that the ugly reality of hate was there all along, and indeed is the foundation of American mythic superiority. Churches and the military tend to support this resurgence. It’s where the money and the troops are to be found.

    At his funeral, everybody talked about what a kind, generous old man he had been. Law-abiding and a pillar of the church. White men get every pass in the world, and we all ignore how scared we are of them.

  16. Bitter Scribe said on January 23, 2014 at 10:44 am

    One guy I know had a placard printed that he attached to his car as needed:

    “WARNING: THIS CAR IS UNDER VIDEO SURVEILLANCE.
    ANYTHING YOU DO TO THIS CAR WILL BE DONE TO YOUR FACE.”

    It worked great, even though there was no camera. A bluff can be a beautiful thing.

  17. Maggie Jochild said on January 23, 2014 at 10:51 am

    “hate to have to shoot you”

  18. Heather said on January 23, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Getting keyed/slash is a totally reasonable fear. Unfortunately the guy did see me in my car, so I’ll park a few extra blocks away for the next few days. Ugh, this stuff is so dumb–wish you could assume more people would act like adults.

  19. LAMary said on January 23, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    It doesn’t snow here, and for the last two years it has barely even rained, but my next door neighbor goes ballistic if anyone parks on the street in front of her house. If there’s a car there when she comes home she will go door to door while her car is parked in the middle of the street asking if anyone knows who owns the car parked on the public street in front of her house. At this point I would lie if I did know. My neighbor across the street had his brother visiting on Christmas and the poor guy made the error of parking in front of this woman’s house. She was shreiking at him in the street. He kept telling her that he’s never been here before and didn’t know that he wasn’t allowed to park there. She also screamed at the guy doing my house appraisal, the rep from the councilman’s office who was checking on a broken sewer line, and the FedEx truck. It’s her street, dammit. I told my sons that her behavior makes WANT to park there or otherwise fuck up her stuff.

  20. Dorothy said on January 23, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Only someone who hasn’t worked their ass off to clear out a parking space in really deep snow would say “dibs” is bullshit. I know it’s a public street. But if I did the work, I should be able to claim the spot. Lazy ass people take advantage of this situation.

    Can you tell I’m having a lousy day?! Sorry, Bitter Scribe, but truly, I suspect you’ve never had to clear out a parking space. I’m not the murdering type but if someone took the space I worked so hard on, I’d be might tempted to extend some kind of retribution. You have to realize in special circumstances, some leeway needs to be given. When it all melts you can go back to making nice with the neighbors.

  21. Dexter said on January 23, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    NO RADIO Uh, this IS 1984, right? :)

  22. brian stouder said on January 23, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    See, and there’s the problem.

    Poke her one, and she loses it and then someone puts an eye out (or whatever); or appease her, and you (rightly) feel an injustice is being done.

    Is she a home-body, or does she go to work every day?

  23. brian stouder said on January 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    (post 22 reefer’s to Mary’s post 19)

  24. brian stouder said on January 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    ‘reefers’??!!

    oops!

  25. nancy said on January 23, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    The thing about dibs is, I can absolutely see both sides — the hour-long shoveler who gets his spot stolen by the lazy neighbor, and the bully who thinks he’s owed a parking place more or less permanently until spring thaw. And anyone who’s tried to street-park in Chicago knows what a nightmare it can be. You all have my sympathies. In the meantime, enjoy the Chicago Dibs Tumblr.

  26. alex said on January 23, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Speaking of shoddy reporting on Obamacare, our lazy local media don’t even bother to try. They just yield the podium to the biggest yutz in in the House GOP:

    http://newssentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140122/EDITORIAL/140129919/0/FRONTPAGE

    That way they never have to find real people whose lives have been devastated by the law, even though by Mr. Stutzman’s calculations it should be exceedingly easy.

  27. Bitter Scribe said on January 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Dorothy: I’ve lived in the Chicago area almost all my life, and I’ve dug plenty of cars, my own and others’, out of deep snow. I repeat: It’s a public street. If you need or want a dedicated parking spot, buy or rent one.

  28. Scout said on January 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    The Obamacare fail “stories” are amazing in their sheer audacity. The writers of these “reports” are telling one sided tales that don’t pass the common sense smell test. And the rubes, who so desperately want anything with Obama’s name on it to fail, lap it up like ice cream. Are the news outlets who publish garbage like this so enamored of the Fox brand of opinioNews that they are willing to put their own integrity and credibility on the line? Does slanted reporting really pay off in the long run?

  29. alex said on January 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Best missed dibs photo op ever:

    On Newport Avenue and Clark Street in East Lakeview I saw a Pontiac parked on top of an eight-foot-tall stuffed purple Barney the Dinosaur. It was just lying there with that silly smile on its face while the rear wheels of a car were compressing its chest.

  30. Bitter Scribe said on January 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    LAMary: That reminds me of a story about a crazy old lady who was similarly territorial. One guy who ignored her found his car covered in dog excrement. When he knocked on her door to confront her about it, she shot him to death.

    This was a long time ago. Now I suppose she would be a Second Amendment hero who stood her ground.

  31. Jeff Borden said on January 23, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    The “dibs” issue really should center on the amount of snow on the ground. When we received 22 inches of snow a few years ago, it did take hours to shovel out parked cars and it seemed only fair that the shovelers receive the benefit of their labor. Some folks call “dibs” when there’s relatively small amounts of snow, say, six inches or so, which is a whole ‘nother story.

    Regarding the theater shooting. . .and all the other damned shootings. . .it seems to me you can either go through this life in mortal fear of every bad thing that might happen to you or you recognize that random acts of violence, natural or man-made, may occur at some point, but overall, you’re likely to be all right. It just wouldn’t occur to me to carry a pistol –if I owned one– into a suburban movie theater any more than I’d sit in a Barcalounger with a loaded automatic at my side. Gun rights people would depict me as a victim in waiting, a patsy who is forfeiting my own personal safety. I don’t feel that way and, quite frankly, given my klutziness, I think my carrying a weapon of any kind would not only be extremely dangerous to me, but to innocent bystanders.

    What’s that old line? To a hammer everything looks like a nail? I think some of the gun folks just automatically assume that their large-caliber portable penis is always the solution, whether the problem is a midnight intruder or some poor schmuck texting in a theater.

  32. Dexter said on January 23, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    The Dibs tool I used to see around Wrigley Field (Chicago) back in the 1970s was always the folding chair, as chronicled in the modern day Tumblr. I had a 1968 VW Microbus in the mid-70s and I always found a tight parking hole on Wilton Avenue, near the El. There were no penalties for taking a resident’s space, but now I would never do that , even without the harsh penalties for parking on the Wrigleyville streets , especially on game day. I always have found it a fun challenge to parallel park in incredibly tight spots, so I never had to pay to park then. Man, those were fun trips. One time I noticed a circus poster in the ditch somewhere around Kendallville, a huge portrait of a clown. I stopped, took some wire from the tool kit and wired the poster to the front of the bus. We must have been quite a site, driving along US 6 , a fully-packed VW bus full of happy beer-guzzling guys and gals, heading for the ball game , the clown leading the parade.

  33. nancy said on January 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Told this before here, but:

    One of my colleagues in FW had a brother who started “open carrying” — I think that term is just stupid, so I put it in quotes — following the Luby’s cafeteria massacre in the ’80s. Some people see an event like that and think “how awful,” and others think, “That’s going to happen to me someday, and I’m going to be the hero.” Over time, I started noticing my colleague was very brushed up on witless shit like Castle Doctrine, and I knew he’d gone around the bend when he defended a crazy coot in Columbus who shot and maimed a teenage girl who’d ding-dong-ditched his house. He did so “reluctantly,” but after all, that girl had stepped onto his property, so she had it coming. Lately he’s approved of arming classroom teachers, and I’m certain that if he isn’t already using a Barcalounger holster, it’s only a matter of time.

    We had an argument over a case in the news, when a guy who saw a burglar carrying a TV out of his neighbor’s house ran over and shot the thief, rather than wait for the police. If there are two kinds of people in the world, one kind is the one that says no one deserves to die over a television, and the other who thinks there should be more such executions. (I heard a police dispatcher suggest it would be a fitting punishment for an iPod thief. “Even a Mini?” I asked, but he didn’t get the joke.)

    It’s weird to watch someone slide down this slope. It’s like one of those 3-D special-effects shots of a bullet flying through space. Only I think I know who’s going to get hit.

  34. Maggie Jochild said on January 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    “Barcalounger holster” now becomes part of the common vernacular. I love it. Let’s make sure Nancy gets the credit.

  35. Julie Robinson said on January 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    This morning as I backed out of my heated garage I told myself I was the luckiest woman alive. Of course there’s a long driveway that has to get dug out, but still.

    In my office there’s a lady like Mary’s neighbor. When a new person started and left a purse-size lotion bottle on the desk, she was irate. But not as irate as when I changed the page on the calendar, it being 11 days into the month. Now it has a sticky note attached that says “pls do NOT chg calendar!”. It’s really quite humorous; she is such a petty little tyrant, but she has a miserable life so I cut her slack. Besides, we share the computer, so I’m never there at the same time as her!

    Dorothy, I hope your day gets better soon. It’s freezing here but at least the sun is shining.

  36. Heather said on January 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Yes, my point with the dibs today is that there is really barely any snow on the ground–you didn’t need to shovel to get out of your space. I will grudgingly let dibs go for 48-72 hours after a major snowfall, but if you’re just claiming a space that didn’t require any work, that is bullshit. I have also had people claim a space that I shoveled out but didn’t mark. The whole “system” is so annoying. Luckily the overwhelming majority of people in my neighborhood don’t do it.

  37. Dorothy said on January 23, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Jeff at 31 – yes, those are the extremes I’m talking about. I only recall one winter (and I can’t remember which one. 1977? ’78?) when I lived in Pittsburgh and the snow was up to my knees or more. And it took hours to dig out my car, my dad’s, my brother’s (we all helped each other). That’s the only time I remember feeling like I ‘owned’ the space. I guess I should have clarified that from the get-go.

  38. Sherri said on January 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    So, in the NYTimes story, someone laments “if everyone would just treat each other with respect.” So we’ve finally found something in common between young black male gang members and retired white male former cops: their answer to being disrespected is to shoot someone.

  39. Dexter said on January 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    The only desk I ever shared at work was a steel stand-up desk where I wrote steel receiving and usage tickets and signed truck drivers’ paperpwork. What I had to share were the forklifts. I worked the shift following a filthy man who never bathed or changed clothes and was addicted to “chaw”, which in this case was Mail Pouch Tobacco. Nobody observed the no-tobacco factory rules, so this man spit tobacco juice all over the damn lift truck. Before I could start my shift, I had to go to maintenance, get shop towels and paper towels and soap and spend as much at 10 minutes scrubbing that crap off the steering wheel and all over the truck. The maintenance guys would see me and joke, ” you getting a little bit of [name redacted] off your truck?”. Yes, yes I was.

  40. LAMary said on January 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Same lady calls me to ask me to bring my dogs inside because when they’re outside it makes her dogs bark and she can’t stand the noise. I have a big fenced yard. It’s a six foot tall redwood fence. Her dogs would have to peer through the little slots between the slats to see my dogs. She also could consider finding a way to get her dogs to be quiet. The barking doesn’t bother me and I’ve never complained about it. She’s nuts.
    She once told me it was really unfair that my lot was bigger than hers. This was after I had her tear down the deck she had built that went six feet into my yard.

  41. Deborah said on January 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    This morning Little Bird’s grandfather died. Sigh. This is on her father’s side. Her Aunt said they will pay for her to fly out to Texas for the funeral but they expected me to buy the ticket and then they’d pay me back somehow. I know this isn’t the time to be petty, but why don’t they expect her father to pay for the ticket and get paid back? It’s his Dad and he’s not going to the funeral because he says it’s “too much effort”. When Little Bird told him she was sorry that she wasn’t going to see him there, he told her that he was sorry he wasn’t going to get to see her cousin and his new wife. In other words he didn’t respond that he would be sorry not to see his own daughter. I have paid for every single trip that Little Bird has made to see her Dad’s family because I think it’s important that she has a connection with them. Am I wrong to feel put out by this?

  42. brian stouder said on January 23, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Deborah, not your feelings are not one scintilla wrong.

    Dad sounds like a turnip

  43. beb said on January 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Nancy @33 and Danny from earlier. After i was robbed both my brother and a cousin wondered if I was going to get a gun and a concealed carry permit. I did not in part because doing so gives into the paranoia that being a crime victim engenders. You start carrying a gun and soon you start listening to Rush Limbaugh. Then you start seeing perps behind every rose bush. And you end up the crazy old man in a theater who just shot someone for throwing popcorn at them. Carrying a gun for personal protection doesn’t make you feel safer, it makes you feel less safe.

  44. beb said on January 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Deborah and Little Bird, my sympathies on the death of LB’s grandfather. I hope the travel arrangements can be made. This past weekend a science fiction convention held a memorial for a local fan who died a couple months back and whose family refuses to claim the body from the morgue even for a comparatively cheap cremation. That such a family feud could be so intensive I can’t imagine.

  45. Deborah said on January 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I should add that the Aunt is not paying for the plane tickets but it will come out of the grandfather’s account and it will cover travel for all of the grandchildren (and their spouses for the ones that are married). And Little Bird was not close to her grandfather but feels a familial duty to go even though they are all rabid right-wingers and will give her grief for all kinds of things while she’s there. She knows this in advance. That isn’t why her Dad isn’t going though because he has become a right-winger too, he doesn’t like to be around his family because they give him a hard time about his smoking and drinking.

  46. Julie Robinson said on January 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Deborah & Little Bird, my sincere sympathies on both the death and all the family crap you have to deal with. Despite it all, you’ll not regret the effort. That is one cold guy you were married to, Deborah.

  47. DanB said on January 23, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Fortunately dibs doesn’t seem to be a thing in my Chicago neighborhood. Because it simply couldn’t work where I live. There’s too much regular turnover of cars over the course of the day to tie up a space for hours while its “owner” is away. People come to the church on the corner for a few hours, they need a place to park. Take the spots “belonging” to people at work away from them and you’ve got chaos. Yeah, maybe someone took the spot you cleared while you were gone, but there should be another clear spot for you (maybe even the one cleared by the guy who took yours).

  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 23, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Speaking both online and in my day job, who declared 2014 the year of dying? Could everyone just stop it?

    Thank you.

    Deborah & Little Bird, he’s a yutz, but go. The karma will make its way into your life along with the peace of mind knowing she went because that’s where she thought she should be (said the guy not paying the plane ticket).

    Julie, on tyrants, I can walk into a church and tell you fairly quickly the level of health in that worshiping community by the number of signs taped up . . . in kitchenettes, in bathrooms, on doors, telling people to “Please remember to…” etc. There is an inverse relationship between hand-made taped up signage and congregational vitality. I’d call it Gill’s Law but wouldn’t want my name associated with the phenomenon. When you mention it as a supply preacher or visiting consultant, you learn very quickly who put them up, because they just can’t help themselves from explaining to you why their signs are NECESSARY.

  49. Basset said on January 23, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    At my age I can understand the recliner and the pee jar… although I would never leave a weapon sitting around with the safety off or have it in reach if I had had even one drink…but… iced tea and bourbon? That ain’t right.

  50. Sherri said on January 23, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Jeff(tmmo), when I was in grad school, one of the things that was communicated to every new person coming in was that the department operated according to the Reasonable Person Principle, which was:

    -Everyone will be reasonable.
    -Everyone expects everyone else to be reasonable.
    -No one is special.
    -Do not be offended if someone suggests you are not being reasonable.

    This worked pretty well for a long time, but was starting to strain while I was there simply because the department was growing too large for everyone to know everyone else. I don’t know how well it’s working now that the department is now a whole school within the university with multiple departments, but they still promote it as an ideal.

    I’ve attended quite a few churches over my lifetime, some bigger and some smaller than my grad school department, and very few that adhered to anything like the Reasonable Person Principle nearly as well as my grad school CS department did.

  51. LAMary said on January 23, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    What is it with exes who are fathers? I feel your pain, Deborah. If there is a way for LB to go, I’d say do it. If you know it’s going to be ugly in some way, maybe not. The family will gossip about LB not attending but do you really care about their opinions?

  52. Dave said on January 23, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I think I’ve written it before but my father took the Ohio class required and got a concealed carry permit when he was 83. I have no idea why he felt the need to do this but maybe it was because he owned 17 guns, that I know of. He did tell me during his last months that he would never carry one because he would never want to be tempted to use it. He liked the idea of having it, bad influence from his brother, speculation on my part.

    Deborah, you’ve said more than once how grateful you are that your life took some of the turns it did. Today, you give us a very clear example why. Wow.

    Dexter’s comments about his work station reminds me of some of the conditions found when we would change crews on the railroad. You could find a cab with everything from clean to a trashed-out, filthy mess. It made for some interesting confrontations, at times.

    I’m wondering what Pros would have had to say about dibs on parking spots.

  53. Dave said on January 23, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Oh, I just remembered and off-topic but Basset, that episode of Bonanza that aired on February 9, 1964, #153, is on YouTube.

  54. Deborah said on January 23, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Little Bird is going to her grandfather’s funeral there was never any question about that. I just needed to rant a bit. I’m over it now, sort of.

  55. Charlotte said on January 23, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Rant away Deborah. My dad is like LB’s — left the country 20 years ago, and I’ve seen him twice. Once because my stepmother (his ex) paid for him to come visit me. He wanted to come back this summer, in part because he needs a US address, and I finally said no. He left, it hurt like hell, and I did get over it, but not to the point where I can pretend to play happy families. Funny, it was “my” kids that did it for me this time. I couldn’t imagine explaining to the 9 year old twins that this was my dad, and that he’d left and moved to a foreign country. I don’t even want them to know that parents can do that.

  56. Basset said on January 23, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Dave@53, thanks for that … now I just need to learn how to get it into the tv. Old, cranky, and technically challenged…

  57. Dave said on January 23, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    If it’s a newer digital TV, Basset, all you need is an HDMI cable from a laptop to the TV. If it’s older, I don’t have a clue.

  58. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 23, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Sherri, I’ve only known 2 CS departments, but they’ve both been full of reasonable, friendly, if skewing somewhat introverted people. I guess the assumption is “if you can write a compiler, you can figure out how to jiggle the toilet handle without a sign reminding you.”

  59. Ann said on January 23, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Situation in our building that at one time I wouldn’t have thought twice about but now I think “if he’d been one of those shoot first guys.” I smelled gas in the hallway of our condo building. Finally narrowed it down to one apartment. Knocked on the door, no answer. Could also see from our patio that no lights on. I called the management company. They sent over the super, who also knocked on the door. He also got no answer. He then let himself in with the pass key at which point my neighbors finally woke up. He pointed out that they’d left an unlit burner on the stove and they turned it off. End of story. But if the neighbors had been the shooting kind……

  60. alex said on January 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    I generally don’t ask for prayers as I’ve never believed in them, but I’ll make an exception tonight. My partner’s in the hospital again. They’ve identified an infection in one of the metatarsal bones of his right foot and he has been told that part of the foot could end up being amputated. This all started several weeks ago when he stepped on a board with a nail in it buried in the snow. Tetanus shot and antibiotics didn’t resolve it. He then spent almost a week in the hospital in Berwick, PA, where he happened to be on business when it flared up again, and was on IV antibiotics the whole time. He was still popping Clindamycins right up until today and it only seemed to be getting worse. He wasn’t able to get in to see our primary physician until yesterday, who referred him to a podiatrist who referred him to a wound specialist who referred him to an orthopedist who admitted him to the hospital. I don’t think there’s a single specialty that isn’t making out like a bandit on this one.

  61. Deborah said on January 23, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Oh Alex, thinking about you and your partner. Hoping for the best. So sorry.

  62. Jolene said on January 23, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Very sorry to hear this, Alex. Will be thinking about you and hoping the news is better in the AM. Keep us posted.

  63. Jill said on January 23, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Good thoughts for you and your partner, Alex. I hope they can knock out the infection.

  64. Dexter said on January 23, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Best wishes, Alex.

    My wife’s ex is another prize winner. He married her and took her to LA where they both landed great jobs in office towers, and he began cheating on her incessantly. They left LA after a year and came back to Michigan but after child number two, it was over. He was ordered to pay a ridiculously low dollar amount for child support which he rarely paid. Michigan had an advocacy program then called “Friend of the Court” which tried to get the deadbeat to pay, but still, he’d only pay when jail loomed. Well, that’s all over now, and I don’t have to hear about the bastard not paying child support anymore…I cannot even recall how it ended. I was sick of the whole deal. All my adult life I have heard men complaining about their “goddam bitch ex-wives” who are gouging them for all their money. That’s your life, men.

  65. Minnie said on January 23, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Alex, if a skeptic’s prayers will help you and your partner have them.

  66. MarkH said on January 24, 2014 at 1:28 am

    Alex, unhesitating prayers to your partner and you for the best outcome possible.

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