Cozy evenings.

You know a) you’ve been married a long time, and b) it’s January when, coming home on a frigid Monday when your spouse took a sick day, the thing you think when you pull into the driveway is, “We can watch ‘Jeopardy!’ together, and won’t that be nice.”

And that’s what we did. I don’t feel old, though; that will come when I think the same thing about “Wheel of Fortune.”

Man, it’s cold, though, and will be for the rest of the week. Plus, snow. Oh, well. This is the latitude we have chosen.

The week started with a radio appearance, one of those get-journalists-around-the-table-and-discuss-the-news deals. One panelist said, “Barack Obama has dragged the Democratic party far to the left.” Always good to start Monday on a high note, eh?

I have little bloggage, I fear. I imagine the big troll bait of the day will be the do-as-I-say, not-as-I-whine Harvard faculty story:

For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.

Members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the heart of the 378-year-old university, voted overwhelmingly in November to oppose changes that would require them and thousands of other Harvard employees to pay more for health care. The university says the increases are in part a result of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which many Harvard professors championed.

Raise your hand if your insurance plan is worse than this:

The university is adopting standard features of most employer-sponsored health plans: Employees will now pay deductibles and a share of the costs, known as coinsurance, for hospitalization, surgery and certain advanced diagnostic tests. The plan has an annual deductible of $250 per individual and $750 for a family. For a doctor’s office visit, the charge is $20. For most other services, patients will pay 10 percent of the cost until they reach the out-of-pocket limit of $1,500 for an individual and $4,500 for a family.

That’s what I thought.

We lost our local gourmet cupcake shop a few weeks ago. I’m not sure what the lesson is here. Maybe that a franchise based on a baked-goods trend is a bad bet. How’s your cupcake shop doing?

When one crazy man in New York City shot two cops in cold blood, the police threw a fit, and their union leader said the mayor had blood on his hands. When this man shot two Pennsylvania state troopers in cold blood to “wake people up” and “get us back to the liberties we once had” — crickets.

Happy Tuesday, all.

Posted at 8:46 am in Current events, Media, Same ol' same ol' |

48 responses to “Cozy evenings.”

  1. coozledad said on January 6, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Well this health care hedge fund manager tried to do a little belt tightening. He cut his son’s $600 monthly allowance (plus $2400 a month rent) down to $400.

    The worst thing about the health care industry is, it reproduces. Our overclass is pure shit.

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  2. coozledad said on January 6, 2015 at 9:04 am

    And goddamn if Eric Frein and Rick Santorum weren’t separated at birth.

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  3. Dorothy said on January 6, 2015 at 9:42 am

    We had lunch (soup and sandwich) at a bakery near Cincinnati this past Saturday, the Bluebird Bakery in Glendale. They had cupcakes and lots of “bar”selections as well: lemon bars, Mounds Bar, brownie bars etc. I bought a lemon and a Mounds and both were good. I’m guessing they’re breaking trademark laws, though, calling their coconut and chocolate combo a Mounds bar. In Mount Vernon OH where we used to live, the Pink Cupcake Bakery did so well they expanded into a much larger place about 6 months before we moved away. The new building they moved to used to have an ice cream shop, so they kept the ice cream business. Their birthday cakes were extremely popular and delicious. Cake and ice cream under one roof? WINNING!

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  4. brian stouder said on January 6, 2015 at 9:50 am

    And don’t forget the lilly-white whackos who killed to police officers at a lunch counter (in Nevada?) when the Cliven Bundy conclave got boring.

    And regarding healthcare, I’m an old guy.

    I remember when Pam’s and my first kiddo came into the world, our out-of-pocket expense was approximately zero (and the hospital provided a beautiful gift basket for Pam to take home; a sort of post-partum parting gift).

    And with each subsequent kiddo, we noted how the hospital experience was less and less ‘foo foo’ and more and more assembly-line.

    The benefit side was in a free-fall, and the premium side was skyrocketing, and our 2-seat Mercedes-driving company insurance agent (who always wears pinstripes, and has the Brylcream hair combed straight back) never missed a chance to jack the rates some more…and this was all in the mid-to-late 90’s and early 2000’s (in other words, well before anyone had heard the name “Obama”).

    And even the Horrible, Evil, No Good, And Really Very Bad Afordable Health Care Act goes out of its way to SUPPORT private insurance companies, and keep them in the loop – rather than going all “single payer” on them, and ending the money-grabbing orgy that THEY’VE been enjoying my whole lifetime.

    By way of saying- pffft!

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  5. Charlotte said on January 6, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Weather is weird here — warm! In the high 30s/low 40s and a mess — a foot of new snow is melting, the street and sidewalk in front of my house are flooding and the interstate is intermittent black ice. Ugh.

    My geezer moment last night was when I found myself of an evening when I was trying to fight off the creeping crud we’ve both had, knitting, drinking tea and watching old Miss Marples. Geezer time.

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  6. Deborah said on January 6, 2015 at 10:02 am

    There are two cupcake shops in Chicago near us, one on Walton near Rush, called Sprinkles, used to have lines a block long in front of it. The other on Delaware near State, called More, was always deserted whenever I walked by. I don’t think both are long for this World. Fine with me I never set foot in either.

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  7. Jeff Borden said on January 6, 2015 at 10:05 am

    It’s in the DNA of cops to hate their political leaders, but the NYPD loved them some Ghouliani because he was a former prosecutor and he had no problem targeting men of color with harassments such as stop and frisk, a practice Michael Bloomberg also embraced. Part of de Blasio’s campaign was to stop that practice, which the cops decided to view as being anti-police.

    They can bitch and moan about de Blasio all they want, but I thought it was juvenile, classless and stupid for them to turn their backs on the mayor at these funeral services.

    I remain an advocate of getting cops out of cruisers and back on the sidewalks, but I guess that’s just too expensive. Beat cops who get to know the people they are serving? What a concept, huh? The only time Chicago cops interact –briefly– with the public is when they eat a meal. And then, they’re usually at a table with other cops.

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  8. adrianne said on January 6, 2015 at 10:51 am

    The poster boy for Ivy League bad behavior this week has got to be Thomas Gilbert Jr., a 30-year-old Princeton graduate and son of hedge fund manager Thomas Gilbert Sr. Junior stands accused of killing his old man when he threatened to cut his weekly allowance from $400 to $300 and stop paying the rent on his Chelsea apartment. Oh, and he staged it to look like a suicide. He got Mom out of the apartment by asking her to go buy him a sandwich. I ask you.

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  9. Connie said on January 6, 2015 at 11:36 am

    As of the new year my insurance plan is far worse than that. And my local branch of the same cupcake shop is also closing. Not that I care.

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  10. brian stouder said on January 6, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Speaking of Laura Lippman (in the last thread), she has a saying that I am trying to incorporate –

    as I re-write and revise a comment for the FWCS school board meeting next week. I make maybe two comments a year, and this one is triggered by the election of Pam’s friend to the school Board of Trustees, and by the morning paper’s naming of our marvelous superintendent, and the friend-of-nn.c Board of Trustees President, as ‘Citizens of the Year’.

    My goal was to stay at or below 350 words, but I’m at 625* …and I’ve already ‘killed my darlings’ (which was hard!)

    *it actually doesn’t matter, because although I’ll have the sheet of paper in my hand, I bet I don’t say more than about 60% of what’s there, at crunch time…which, come to think of it, reduces me to 375 words….

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  11. Dave said on January 6, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Dorothy, did any trains go by and disrupt your peaceful lunch? Glendale was always so different than most places the railroad went through, track through most larger cities exposed you to a glimpse of the seamier side of town but not Glendale. Made the trip through there many, many times.

    There are cupcake shops, which our daughter-in-law loves and tries to avoid, all over the suburban Virginia DC area. We don’t share her fascination.

    Since it’s so foreign to anything I know, I wonder how many other 30-something ne’er do well children are living in the lap of luxury at mom and dad’s expense, feeling that entitlement is simply the way it ought to be.

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  12. brian stouder said on January 6, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Dave – indeed; and that they really WOULD “kill” to keep that lifestyle

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  13. beb said on January 6, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Beyond the fact that Havard is rolling in cash and can afford to pay the full load of all its employee’s health insurance is that health care is not a market. When you need health care you need it now, and you want the best care available. There’s no time to go shopping for an affordable doctor, not that any doctor is really affordable anymore. The more co-pays you tack onto a health plans the more you force people to wait until their really ill before going to the ER. But it’s well know that in many cases if you can get to a people early on when they’re ill you can treat them for a lot less. Fee based health systems don’t reduce costs because it shifts it to higher prices emergency services.

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  14. Dorothy said on January 6, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    We did hear at least one train go through while we were there, Dave. I was inside the quilt store, Stitches, when we first arrived in Glendale. It was raining something fierce, and a huge clap of thunder boomed overhead right after I walked in. As we drove around the Square we saw a business that my husband thought was a toy train shop, but it turned out it was a restaurant. I think the train went through town as we were getting into our car to go home.

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  15. Heather said on January 6, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    I would like to see more macaron shops open. I’m talking the French concoction, a la Laduree or Pierre Herme, not the coconut thing. I was hoping they would supplant the cupcake trend, but they are just too difficult to make, I suspect. I had a salted caramel and chocolate macaron in Paris once that was just–oohh.

    That health insurance plan sounds very similar to mine and I feel pretty lucky to have it.

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  16. jcburns said on January 6, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Every time I go ‘behind the scenes’ and shorten a really, really, really long URL in one of the nn.c comments, I will think of this and the fine community service that I perform.

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  17. nancy said on January 6, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    In the early days of the internet, yes, sometimes our newspaper published URLs that were nearly that long. I recall helping an editor proof one: “H, #, 8, 7, %, slash…”

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  18. Sherri said on January 6, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    I look at URLs like that and think ‘such sloppy coding.’ There’s just no need to expose that kind of crap to the user level.

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  19. Joe K said on January 6, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Just wanted to let you know that although I could never live in Chicago, on Christmas night I departed Ohara @ 2:00am, it was a crystal clear night and when they turned me back to the east, the city just sparkled. The street lights looked golden with the downtown area lite up and then the sudden blackness over the lake. I flew directly over Big John and could follow the magnificent mile north and lake shore drive all the way south. Just amazingly beautiful.
    Pilot Joe

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  20. Dave said on January 6, 2015 at 3:05 pm is a site I have used many times.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on January 6, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    You know, Pilot Joe, I could never live anywhere but Chicago. I worked my ass off for many years to get to a major American city and while it took longer than expected, the payoff has been greater than expected, too. It’s funny because I grew up in smaller, suburban towns, but never, ever wanted to live in them as an adult. And I say that despite the wind chill factor beyond my window.

    Whatever its many issues, it’s pretty great that our nation can offer so many amazingly diverse climates, allowing citizens to choose the place that fits them best.

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  22. LAMary said on January 6, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    My family deductible last year was 6000 dollars. My co-pay at the urgent care was 175. I switched to an HMO this year.

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  23. brian stouder said on January 6, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    First time I flew into Chicago at night, the contrast between the flat country (and the lake) and then the sparkling city made it look exactly like the Emerald City, to me.

    Beautiful, indeed.

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  24. Dorothy said on January 6, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Jeff and Joe – you both wrote so beautifully about Chicago! It’s been at least 10 years since I was there. Now you make me want to come back for a visit. One of my brothers lives outside Chicago and maybe this summer my husband and I should make a weekend visit there a priority. Wouldn’t that be a fun time for a meet up of some nn.c-ers? Maybe take in a Sox or Cubs game? What are the chances?? Deborah could maybe make it – maybe Nancy could drive down from Michigan. Brian and Julie might come from Indiana …. I’m planting the seeds and you guys should chime in if you think this might be a fun thing to do.

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  25. Dorothy said on January 6, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Jeff and Joe – you both wrote so beautifully about Chicago! It’s been at least 10 years since I was there. Now you make me want to come back for a visit. One of my brothers lives outside Chicago and maybe this summer my husband and I should make a weekend visit there a priority. Wouldn’t that be a fun time for a meet up of some nn.c-ers? Maybe take in a Sox or Cubs game? What are the chances?? Deborah could maybe make it – maybe Nancy could drive down from Michigan. Brian and Julie might come from Indiana …. I’m planting the seeds and you guys should chime in if you think this might be a fun thing to do.

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  26. Dexter said on January 6, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    As a kid I just knew I’d live in Chicago, too, because I loved my visits and when I left I was missing it as the car or train began its departure, but the closest I got were a few two weeks stays in cheap hotels as I went exploring the city. A few years went by and I found myself vowing to return to San Francisco to live. I was in the army in Monterey and I first took the bus then I drove my car to The City every damn chance I got. I seriously tried to stay and live in San Francisco after I was done with the army but it was a recession, I was just back from overseas, I looked for a job that paid enough to live …ran out of cash and went back and started scrambling around in Indiana again. Ah, it was OK, working for 30 years in Auburn, Indiana, what the hell. Now the only big towns I get to are Toledo and Columbus, but we never do any “big city” activities in Columbus, just hang out in the west suburbs.
    Me too…a vote for tiny url dot com.

    Deborah, if you get north, up in Lincoln Park is Molly’s Cupcakes. A few friends as well as my brother say the chocolate-peanut butter cupcake known as “Ron Bennington Has His Own Cupcake” is the best ever. Also, one of the investors, Mike, might let you try on his famous $3,000 sunglasses.

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  27. brian stouder said on January 6, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    This could, theoretically, work out!

    Plus, there’s always Lucy (etc) for the young folks…

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  28. Kirk said on January 6, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    You talking Hilliard, Dexter?

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  29. Jolene said on January 6, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Man, that URL is amazing. I saw that you fixed a long one that I posted a few days ago, jc, so thanks for that. I’ve been lazier about making them into links since I started using my iPad pretty much exclusively. To make a link, you have to flip to three different versions of the keyboard, which is a pain, but I’ll be more conscientious in the future.

    By the way, I finished watching the five episodes in Season 1 of Line of Duty, the British cop show I mentioned yesterday. Highly recommended. Lots of tension, very absorbing.

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  30. LAMary said on January 6, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Speaking of cupcakes, someone just brought me a dozen mini cupcakes for my birthday. i’m on a conference call trying to not make chewing noises in people’s ears.

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  31. brian stouder said on January 6, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Mary, here’s wishing you a very happy birthday, and hopefully a pleasant evening (whether out or in) with people (or dogs!) you enjoy being around

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  32. LAMary said on January 6, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    People AND dogs and cats.

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  33. Deborah said on January 6, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Pilot Joe, if you flew over the Hancock and then the lake, you flew right over my building, but I was in Santa Fe that night. I love Chicago too, but in my dotage I hate the winter there, especially February. The combo of cold, damp, wind and grey is just too, too depressing. The middle of summer can be awful too. I like having the option of being in NM during those times.

    If there is a NN.C meet-up in Chicago, I will make a point of being there for that.

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  34. Jenine said on January 6, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    @Deborah: not your dotage, your majority!

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  35. David C. said on January 6, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    My insurance is much shittier than the proposal at Harvard, but I really don’t like the “well mine is worse, yours should be too” notion. It just feeds into the race to the bottom. I understand the they pushed for the ACA angle, but someone has to fight. Someone has to draw a line. We all need to draw a line, but we can’t because divide and conquer works and we’re pretty damned divided.

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  36. Deborah said on January 6, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    We took down our holiday decorations today. I have 2 wreaths on either side of a trellis we put up last summer, the vines growing on them, of course died during the first frosts awhile ago. I’m trying to turn the the wreaths into winter wreaths rather than just holiday wreaths so I’m trying to be creative. It was in the low 50s today and sunny, felt great.

    After bringing the potted plants in, in the fall we have managed to kill only two which is a miracle. I’ve repotted a few lately in some fancier pots. Our geraniums are doing much better inside, we think they were getting too much sun outside, or something. We brought our succulents in even though they can stand the cold but the skunks were eating them out there. They are doing fantastic inside too. I’m thinking about keeping all of these inside year-round and getting some different stuff for outside in the spring and summer.

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  37. alex said on January 6, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    I’m all for a Chicago meet-up one of these days.

    I dearly loved living there but love the rural life too. Long ago I dreamt of having both a city place and a country place, but as the cost of living kept escalating and long-term career prospects in the publishing field kept diminishing, I came to realize that the choice would have to be either/or, so I opted for the one that gave me the most bang for the buck. Can’t say I regret it, but Indiana is an intellectual wasteland and I’m starving for good company. Even though my soul is well fed otherwise with a bazillion avocations I couldn’t afford previously.

    A friend from the city wants to come spend a few weeks here later this month or early next month. She needs some space and peaceful environs in which to concentrate on a book project. I’m looking forward to it. And to a reciprocal visit this summer when I’ll be ready for some recreation.

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  38. Dexter said on January 6, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Making small talk while waiting for pharmacy business at the veterans center in Toledo, I told my new friend how it came to be that I waited until age 65 to finally take advantage of vets health care, and the reason is my wonderful retiree healthcare that had taken care of my wife and I since I retired at age 53 had increased 1800 percent three years ago, then that doubled, then for 2015 it doubled again, taking up too much of my pension check…so what the fuck? This guy bristled up and said “hey, it isn’t just you, it’s everybody.” And I suppose that’s why he was there too for his first visit. No, not a typo…I was paying $10 per month and it went to $180, then began multiplying in cost. So we went into the marketplace and got individual policies, and the VA takes care of my prescriptions. Believe me, I am grateful for that.

    Kirk, yes, Hilliard…that 12 year old housing addition across from the soccer fields, near the Hilliard dog park. Nothing but cornfields straight to Indiana from there. My daughter lives there and ironically my wife’s sister’s late husband lived there years ago, in the 50s and early 60s. The old man was a pharmacist and they had a big old house and yard and made a killing when I-270 was being planned and they sold out in an eminent domain kind of thing. My brother-in-law died young, at age 47. Reason? He constantly smoked straight Latakia pipe tobacco in giant pipes he carved himself , really large bowls so he could pack those bowls with super-sized loads of Syrian/Cypress tobacco. He got stomach cancer from it and went agonizingly slowly. Before he left us, he had me hooked on that stuff as well. When he got cancer I quit smoking. Warning enough.

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  39. Suzanne said on January 6, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    I always enjoy flying from NYC to Chicago because of the weirdness of seeing the contrast between the two. I love Chicago, but in comparison, coming direct from the Big Apple, it always looks so small! And I always forget that you generally do fly over the lake and wonder what the heck that is below. And then I see the shoreline. Duh!

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  40. m said on January 6, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Happy Birthday, Mary!!

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  41. MichaelG said on January 6, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Make that MichaelG.

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  42. Crazycatlady said on January 7, 2015 at 1:04 am

    Since the new insurance changes from the city for city employees was cut, we are paying much more in out of pocket expenses. I’m frankly afraid to get a mammogram. Secret costs. And steep lab fees out-of-pocket for my tests I should have gotten months ago. Last lab bill I got was over $200. For my Diabetes and heart/cholesterol tests. And I’m a nurse! I know the system is broken. I’ve seen it from the inside.

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  43. Jolene said on January 7, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Depending on when your current health insurance took effect, Crazycatlady, your mammogram may be available at no charge. Under Obamacare, insurance companies are required to cover mammograms with no co-pay if the policy took effect on or after 8/1/2012. This applies to all such policies, not just those purchased through a state or federal exchange. In any case, this should be something you could, at least, find out about in advance.

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  44. Dexter said on January 7, 2015 at 2:51 am

    I remember seeing those long URLs in newspapers and feeling that whatever that was, I would never understand what to do with something like that, and I never bought a home computer until my daughter took a job close to our home and moved in with us for a few months after she graduated from OSU, and showed me how to use her computer. The day she moved out again I took advantage of a bulletin board special at work…the company had a super deal with Dell Computers. All new, it said, great deal, $1,800 for a desktop. Hooked it up…first thing, porn pop-ups. Constant, screen-covering, nasty awful porn pop-ups. I forget how we got rid of them, but I really hated that time when pop-ups of all sorts ruined sessions on the computer. I later assumed that the computer was actually a refurbished one, and was used by a porn-freak, but helifino…maybe all computers were like that new out of the crate.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 7, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Gotta love Chicago.

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  46. beb said on January 7, 2015 at 8:22 am

    All this talk about cupcakes is killing me. As a diabetic they’re forbidden fruit but oh so delicious.

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  47. Dexter said on January 7, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    For me a slice of cake on a plate in front of me on a doily, a fresh hot cup of coffee in a dainty fancy little cup, linen napkin in lap, and grandkids singing “Happy Birthday Granmpaw”. Best.

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  48. 4dbirds said on January 8, 2015 at 9:45 am

    I’m a fed and chose the HMO (Kaiser) for our family. I pay 200 each pay period (26). Our primary co-pay is $10.00 and specialist is 20.00. Emergency room is 75, hospitialization is $100.00. For our purposes, having a young adult child who needs lots of medical care, it was the best bargain on the Federal schedule. I’m very used to the ‘everything under one roof’ type of HMO. I was an army brat, then served in the army and also used the VA.

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