In the world ruled by moi, everyone would be issued five exclamation points on January 1. You can use them all in one day, or use them judiciously throughout the year, but when you’re done you’re done until the following New Year’s Day.

You want to live in my world? Learn to use the exclamation point!

Oh, the things that occur to me when I’m making my way through a 58-slide PowerPoint.

And if you know I’m reading PowerPoints, you know it’s a real Monday kind of Monday.

Just one thing today: “Game of Thrones” is concluded for another year. Which one of the dozens of recaps do you need to read? Just Grantland’s.

Let’s try again tomorrow.

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

60 responses to “Punctuated.”

  1. Crazycatlady said on June 16, 2015 at 12:49 am

    How about ‘JEB?’ instead of ‘JEB!’

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  2. Brandon said on June 16, 2015 at 1:06 am

    Neither Jeb nor Hillary!

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  3. Dexter said on June 16, 2015 at 2:17 am

    I used to take the over-usage of !s in stride, forgiving the writers, for they know not what they do. However, since nance has pointed out this transgression before, now it bugs the hell out of me.
    My cousin , an educated retired teacher, when she emails me infrequently, uses an ! every other sentence, and the third sentence will have two !!s.
    I use more semi-colons than any of my friends, and more hyphenated combos also. I suppose I make all sorts of mistakes in grammar and structure, but it’s been so long since I studied English Composition in high school, I just fly by the seat of my pants, having forgotten proper writing constructions, and I used to catch hell about my mistakes from my older , educated brother, who earned a masters in journalism from Ball State in 1971, taught school a few years, and remembered all that stuff. Once I used the phrase “revert back…” in a phone call and I received a five minute lecture. One never says “revert back” unless one is a dumb-ass. (hyphen only for emphasis!) Oh damn! I did it AGAIN !! shitfuckfart

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  4. Deborah said on June 16, 2015 at 4:22 am

    Guilty, guilty, guilty. And I say “revert back” all the time. I’m a lousy writer, I can’t believe I have the audacity to write comments here among all of you professional writers.

    Well damn, I smell a skunk outside and I was hoping we weren’t going to get anymore of those. LB and I recently discussed that we hadn’t noticed any skunks lately. We attributed that to all the rain we’ve been getting, thinking that the skunks have plenty to eat down by the river which is usually dry and don’t need to come up to the neighborhood to scavenge for food. We were wrong.

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  5. Basset said on June 16, 2015 at 7:09 am

    58-slide PowerPoint? For some of the folks I’ve worked with, particularly at our local school district, that’s just a warmup; thinking in particular of one remarkably intelligent Ed.D who was convinced that if he could just give you one more fact, one more graphic, one more proof of his point you would understand and agree with him… he would routinely stick three or four or five graphs and several clots of text onto one slide then go through them in painful detail, and if you didn’t come around and be convinced he would write you off as not bright enough to keep up.

    Me, I try to stick with the 10-20-30 rule: 10 slides at the most, 20 minutes, no smaller than 30-point copy.

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  6. coozledad said on June 16, 2015 at 7:11 am

    Actual transcript of Miss Lindsey butching up the shotgun way:

    GRAHAM: “I’m gonna get you motivated to want to kill the clay pigeon…”

    GRAHAM: “Alright, do a Bernie Sanders.”

    SKEET OPERATOR: “Alright.”

    GRAHAM: “Pull!”


    GRAHAM: “Sorry about that, Bernie!”


    Later that evening…

    GRAHAM:I’m going to show you how the Air Force Reserve strangles a pigeon. Give “little Denny” a pull here.

    Pull him agin.

    You ain’t pullin’ hard enough.

    My mama always said you can get that out of angora with lemon juice.

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  7. alex said on June 16, 2015 at 7:37 am

    When I was a proofreader in training eons ago, we learned to speak in a sort of shorthand. An exclamation point was called a scream. Screams are fairly rare in published material and it’s a real editorial judgment call whether one belongs in quoted content. Rep. Joe Wilson screaming “You lie!” at the State of the Union address is one of the few instances where you’d be safe using it. Otherwise it’s generally bad form.

    In proofreading, a question mark was called a query. I notice in a lot of business communications that people overuse question marks, putting them in sentences that aren’t constructed as questions. They appear to be using them instead of screams but for the same purpose — emphasis where none is needed and the words speak for themselves. At least most have the good sense not to type in all caps, although I see plenty of stuff that’s all lowercase and unpunctuated, and divining what it means is like trying to read the face of someone with a flat affect.

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  8. beb said on June 16, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Brandon, I have to disagree. Hillary would be far more preferable than “Jeb!” Mind you I’m more a Bernie Sanders kind of fan but a bad dem is still better than a good (?) GOP.

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  9. Dorothy said on June 16, 2015 at 8:42 am

    I have been told that I write exactly how I talk. Which is (usually) with a great deal of enthusiasm. I am not one to shrink back and watch from afar. I like to express myself. For that reason I use exclamation points probably more than your average Jill. I make no apologies for it because I was kinda glad when (several) someones told me that I write like I talk. I took that as a compliment. And Deborah you are NOT a lousy writer. I always understand what you share and that’s the most important thing about writing, isn’t it? Writing so people understand what you want to say. People making comments here should not fear being judged for the way they write simply because there are so many professional journalists who ‘hang out’ here.

    That being said I better get the hell back to work because my boss is coming back today after being off for two weeks and then she’s off to two different trips starting tomorrow morning. She won’t be back on a regular basis again until next Wednesday. I NEED TO GET BUSY!!!!!

    And piss off to anyone who dislikes my using four exclamation points in the previous sentence.

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  10. Kirk said on June 16, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Bravo. Misused exclamation points are an irritating scourge. I think three a year are enough for me.

    And Dorothy, if you use too many exclamation points, it hasn’t registered with me. Maybe you just know how to use them.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on June 16, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Every other comment on facebook is a screamer, and I’ll own up to plenty of my own. But it bothers me far less than using textspeak in regular writing.

    I work with someone in a position of authority who is highly educated and constantly reminds everyone he was an English major. Yet he fills his writing with text expressions and emoticons as if he were a teen. I have to read his communications two or three times to figure out what the heck he’s saying.

    It undermines his credibility, which I think is Nance’s point on exclamation points.

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  12. coozledad said on June 16, 2015 at 9:44 am

    constantly reminds everyone he was an English major

    It’s got to be tough, wearing that Burger King uniform all day. They can get pretty hot.

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  13. Icarus said on June 16, 2015 at 10:05 am

    I don’t break many grammar rules but over time language is updated. It evolves and changes, and we know this is true because none of us say thou in our daily speech. On that note…

    So please, people of the Internet, learn the difference between all your “theres” and your “whichs” and your “yours.” Stop saying “You Welcome” when you mean “You’re Welcome” And please, ask a grown-up for help with apostrophes. Too many kids are getting hurt.

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  14. Sue said on June 16, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Ok, here goes:
    Yay Hawks!!!
    and also:
    Yay for excellent hockey announcers!!
    There, used mine up for the year.

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  15. Deborah said on June 16, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Basset, Power Point is the scourge of every graphic designer who has had to prepare a PP presentation for someone. My rule of thumb is each slide needs to be super simple and clear, which might mean you end up with more slides but you go through each slide quickly. So for instance if you have 20 bullet points to cover, you should break them up and put no more than 3 or 4 on a slide, and each slide should have an image not just text, to keep it lively. Power Point is a horrible program graphically, it’s much better if you prepare a presentation in InDesign and then make a PDF of that to present with. Microsoft Word is another hideous program graphically, but as Brian says, “I digress”.

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  16. Heather said on June 16, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Every time I see that Jeb logo I sing it to myself a la “Flash” by Queen. “JEB!–AhhAHH!”

    Does anyone have any good ideas for communicating to corporate types that (good) writing takes time? I’m the only copywriter left in the whole gol-darn company and with the amount of projects and apparently immovable deadlines they are giving me, it’s clear they think that writing is simply typing. I’ve tried communicating forcefully that the expectations are not physically or mentally possible, but I am afraid they just think of me as someone who is not a “solutions-oriented team player.” Ugh.

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  17. MichaelG said on June 16, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I guess you mean me since I tossed two ex points into my post yesterday to emphasize my congrats. Sorry. I imagine I’m done for the year.

    Don’t sweat it, Deborah. You’re a fine writer.

    I’ve been watching the Women’s World Cup. The announcers are doing something that annoys and puzzles me. In referring to a particular team, they will say “the China goalie” or the “Canada team” or “the England coach”, “the Nigeria defense”. What the fuck? Why don’t they say “the Chinese goalie” or “the English coach” etc.? They’re all saying things this way throughout the country. This means it’s some kind of corporate rule from Fox. Is this some kind of asinine, misbegotten attempt at political correctness? It sounds awkward and stupid. What gives? Someone help me.

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  18. Jeff Borden said on June 16, 2015 at 11:18 am

    I am blissfully not hungover this morning even though the Blackhawks gave me damned good reason to tank up. Since I didn’t grow up with hockey as a kid, it’s been interesting to learn about the game in the years we’ve lived in Chicago, where every season I kind of see it a little more clearly. I bow to the expertise of everyone else. That said, is there a professional sports trophy tougher to win than the Stanley Cup?

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  19. alex said on June 16, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Dunno, MichaelG, but it does seem in keeping with their “Democrat president” marching orders.

    Heather, that reminds me of a copywriting gig I once had where the show was run mostly by designers. “Do your little thing on it,” one guy used to say to me after creating pages that usually had inadequate text boxes and ridiculous wispy fonts so as not to steal the show from his graphics.

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  20. Basset said on June 16, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Deborah, totally agree with you there. Just don’t put a big wad of text on a slide, print it out, and then read it to me. Whenever I walk into a meeting and see a PowerPoint printout at every place, I know it’s gonna be a long day.

    Heather, I read your Jeb logo comment as “Flash Tan Queen”… maybe some other senior on here will catch the REO Speedwagon reference, from back when they were a rock band.

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  21. Deborah said on June 16, 2015 at 11:29 am

    The skill level that it takes to play hockey seems higher than other sports, because obviously you have to know how to skate on top of everything else. Hockey was about the only sport that I actually enjoyed going to some games. Basketball was second, then baseball and last on my list is football. When I lived in St. Louis I actually went to quite a few hockey games. I’ve been to zero in Chicago. I remember the last time the Hawks won the Stanley Cup, I was still working in the loop where they had a big parade. I remember having a terrible time finding a place to get lunch, there were so many people in town.

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  22. Jeff Borden said on June 16, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I know the parade in 2010 drew more than 1 million. Can’t recall the crowd estimate for 2013. It’s such a cool sport. . .I’m glad to enjoy it even if I’m a late comer.

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  23. MarkH said on June 16, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Go, Icarus!! (Oh, Dang.)

    I suppose none of you are getting ready to move to Hamilton!, Ohio. (Do their signs still say that?)

    Other than that, I tend to be a grammar policeman and work along Dexter’s lines.

    Mark’s political note for the day: I’m paying more and more attention to Bernie Sanders. And I mean that in a good way. Not that I agree with all his positions, but he has the lowest BS factor of any serious presidential candidate in the last 30 years. The public, at least Dem voters, are paying attention as well, according to news reports.

    One more: When the Bernie Sanders Story hits the big screen, Larry David has the lead role nailed.

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  24. Joe K said on June 16, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    This Stanley Cup had to be the best I have seen, no more than one goal difference till last night, best road team, Tampa vs best home team, hard hitting, tremendous goaltending from both teams, even a non sport fan had to have enjoyed it. I was dropping off some passengers this morning in Dupage and there were 3 falcon freighter jets lined up unloading boxes and boxes of hats and t-shirts don’t know where they printed them but they flew them in to sell today, currently waiting in wheeling where I treated my self to a Super Dog in honor of the Hawks.
    PUCK YA.
    Pilot Joe

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  25. alex said on June 16, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Palwaukee, eh? Used to drive by there back when I worked in the ‘burbs.

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  26. jcburns said on June 16, 2015 at 1:45 pm


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  27. Jeff Borden said on June 16, 2015 at 1:49 pm


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  28. Kirk said on June 16, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I usually don’t care much for this guy’s work, but today’s is a gem, and appropos to the conversation:


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  29. Suzanne said on June 16, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    My grammar pet peeve is emails from sensible, intelligent, educated people who don’t use punctuation or capitalization or end every other sentence with…
    It’s as if they believe email doesn’t have to follow language rules because it isn’t real writing.

    I read somewhere recently that Bernie Sanders is surprised by his popularity.

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  30. Bob (not Greene) said on June 16, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    MichaelG @17, that’s the way English soccer commentators do it. If Americans are doing it to, I’m guessing they’re just mimicking the English announcers. Give me Martin Tyler and Jon Champion any day.

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  31. LAMary said on June 16, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    My grandniece scored three out of five goals against the Czech Republic team in the final inline hockey game. Team USA got silver, but that’s not too shabby.

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  32. Dexter said on June 16, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    By now I have heard all the great sports radio/TV announcers, even the great ones from before I was born; the list is too long to hold your interest, so I’ll just give you the very best sports TV guy in the history of the world, and that man is http://nypost.com/2015/05/16/the-utter-brilliance-of-doc-emrick/ Mike “Doc” Emrick. And there is no close second; Doc rules his world. Besides being the best at his craft, he’s a helluva nice guy, too…and a bonus for you Hoosiers: he’s one of you. Fontaine, Indiana, 1946.

    Kirk Kerkorian died last night. This guy was all-business like no other. All he cared about was turning and making deals.
    I didn’t know a thing about him until 1995 or so when he got an itch to buy Chrysler Corporation. He almost pulled it off, but got out-bid by a few billion bucks. Then he tried it again later on…about 2001 I seem to recall. Anyway, he dominated the Freep and The News for many issues, let me tell yas.

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  33. Jolene said on June 16, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I’m with you ion the issue of excess exclamation points in formal writing, but not so much in informal genres such as comments on blogs and social media. Those comments are a different register–a mix of oral and written communication. When you’re “speaking” person to person, as in a Facebook comment, it’s hard to resist the urge to add elements that would normally be carried in your voice.

    Also, politeness requires a response to some of the things that people say on FB. Often, that response is just a word or two, but those words seem kind of lonely and understated without an exclamation point to add enthusiasm.

    If someone tells you he or she has a new job, you have to say congratulations. And “Congratulations!” sounds more congratulatory than “Congratulations.”

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  34. Connie said on June 16, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    You know those Happy Birthday posts we are now required to make on facebook? I’ve been debating whether that requires an exclamation point for some time now.

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  35. Basset said on June 16, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Ellipsis abuse, that’s me… write like ya talk, just mumble and trail off.

    Anyone here on Medicaid? Need some insight on the enrollment process and what happens afterward, thanks.

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  36. Connie said on June 16, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    My husband enrolled last year Bassett, very simple online form. First a card came in the mail, then a giant book with all the details. However, he was still able to check the box about having other insurance, which simplified his options.

    He will not actually use it until the day we stop being covered by my employer, which will be some years yet.

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  37. Sue said on June 16, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Connie and Basset, are you both talking about the same thing?

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  38. Deborah said on June 16, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Basset, Little Bird is on Medicaid in NM. My guess is that it’s different state to state. She applied first online, then she spoke to various people on the phone. It was fairly easy but still complicated enough that I wonder how marginal people do it. She is actually going through some hoops with them now because as you may remember she had surgery last fall but is having some issues again that indicate the surgery didn’t actually solve her problem. She is trying to get them to approve her going to a Dr that she had when we lived in St. Louis who is one of the world’s leading authorities on her condition, Neurofibromatosis (NF). He has her records on file, etc etc so it makes sense to us for her to go back to him to get an opinion about her treatment because so far the Drs she has seen in NM aren’t very familiar with NF. We tried to just pay for the visit to this Dr out of pocket but the Dr’s office says she has to be covered by insurance. It has meant writing letters and having a home visit by a designated care coordinator. We are waiting for the response, we are optimistic but you never know.

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  39. Deborah said on June 16, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Oh and Basset, in NM anyway, there are 3 levels of Medicaid and LB is level 1, the lowest level, if you are level 3 everything and then some is covered. So far level 1 has been incredible to us since before that she couldn’t even get insured because she had a pre-existing condition.

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  40. Connie said on June 16, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Sorry I misunderstood, I was thinking medicare.

    My friend here in Michigan tells me that when you show up at the hospital with kidney cancer and no job or insurance, there are social workers who can help you get set up with medicaid.

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  41. LAMary said on June 16, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    This makes me think of my favorite cake on Cake Wrecks. It says, “Congratulations as small as possible.”

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  42. LAMary said on June 16, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Cake Wrecks website.


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  43. Brandon said on June 16, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Thinking over this Rachel Dolezal situation, I’m not worked up about it at all. I rescind my Good riddance! from the previous comment thread so I can use the exclamation point when it’s really warranted.

    @beb: If Hillary wins, I hope she governs well.

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  44. brian stouder said on June 16, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    We’ve had a very full weekend. I had Monday and Tuesday off, and Pam and the young folks and I were away picking up Shelby from her big trip…and when we arrived back home we found that – coincident with all kinds of rain and flooding in the Fort Wayne area – a water pipe burst in our home, and did all sorts of damage while we were away.

    We had standing water on the kitchen floor, and waterlogged carpet in the living room, and etc etc etc.

    We shut the water off, called a plumber, and then Pam spent the next hour or two on the phone with our insurance agency and various service providers….

    What a year, so far. First we had our car burst into flames, and nearly take the house with it, and now this.

    And indeed, the kitty cat did NOT like the wet carpet, one little bit!

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  45. Joe K said on June 16, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    To bad the pipe didn’t burst when the car caught fire and put it out.
    Seriously hope things work out, who knows maybe you will get to remodel.
    Thoughts your way.
    Pilot Joe

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  46. nancy said on June 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Brian, for what it’s worth, everyone I’ve known who’s had a kitchen pipe burst has gotten some serious home improvement out of it. So there’s that.

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  47. Deborah said on June 16, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Brian, after we didn’t hear from you for a few days I was worried that something had happened. When it rains it pours, isn’t that the truth. Hope everything turns out OK.

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  48. BethB said on June 16, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Brian, I’m so sorry about the burst water pipe/waterlogged carpet, etc., etc., fiasco, but I had to smile at the cat not liking the wet carpet. Cats are a tad finicky that way, aren’t they?

    Good luck with plumber, insurance, wet mess everywhere, and irate cat.

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  49. Judybusy said on June 16, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Brian, what a pain. I hope that what Nancy says is true, that you’ll see some benefit out of it.

    I was painfully aware of my overuse of exclamation marks in describing my trip to Costa Rica.

    Speaking of grammar, I am worried about my niece. I can not tell you how many times I heard the construction “Him and me did…” I held myself to one grammar correction a day with her, and it could have been fairly constant. We’ve talked with her many times about this, but I don’t think think it’s a priority in her home. Also, she did not know which language was spoken in Australia and New Zealand. Lastly: we were telling her about an Air Canada flight gone awry, and my frustration in getting it resolved. She asked if it could have been a language problem. And no, not because she smartly thought we were in Quebec. Hopefully she’ll get some feedback and correction in college.

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  50. basset said on June 16, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Burst pipe? Try a flood, you’ll get a remodel out of that for sure. I told Mrs. B “remember that new couch you wanted? You’re gonna get one, and a lot more.”

    The Medicaid question comes from a letter we got yesterday. Mrs. B is on 100-percent disability for a variety of reasons, mainly connected to having an unreliable heart and no pancreas, but she’s just 59 so we didn’t expect Medicaid for awhile yet. The letter, though, said she would be eligible in a few months… and it’s legit, no question. Right now she’s on my insurance, but I am unsure about dropping the private coverage and going full Medicaid. Insights and anecdotes would be welcome, thanks.

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  51. Jolene said on June 16, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    On something I was watching (have forgotten what) a couple of nights ago, I saw a clip in which a series of college students were asked questions in man-on-the-street interviews. They were mostly unable to name the current vice-president, the country from which the U.S. won its independence, or the victor in the U.S. Civil War. They were, however, able to name the TV show that Snooki was in and to name both Brad Pitt’s current wife and his previous wife.

    Keep this in mind when you wonder why people vote against their interests.

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  52. MarkH said on June 16, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Brandon — in the Dolezal, or any situation, how absolute is the requirement for the truth. Or is it all relative? I’m sure the NAACP is fairly worked up.

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  53. alex said on June 16, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Him and me offends the ear, but You and I hold a special place in my auditory memory. Along with the “shish” of parachute pants giving me intertrigo.

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  54. Jolene said on June 16, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    basset, once Mrs. B has been on disability for two years, she will be eligible for Medicare. So, one possibility would be to keep her on your insurance until she reaches that two-year mark. Also, I believe that Medicare will notify you when her Medicare eligibility begins. That is, there’s no separate sign-up procedure.

    Before you decide to go with Medicaid, you may want to talk with Mrs. B.’s doctors to see whether they provide services to Medicaid patients. Not all doctors do. I have only hearsay evidence, but I believe a higher proportion of doctors take Medicare patients because, of course, essentially everyone over 65 is on it.

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  55. Jolene said on June 16, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    MarkH, all the NAACP people I’ve heard speak about the Dolezal case have been very low-key. They’ve simply said that being white is no bar to either membership or leadership in the organization; they welcomed all allies.

    The articles I’ve read suggest that what we are seeing is the fallout from a seriously dysfunctional family. Lots of accusations and counter-accusations. It’s a problem for psychology, not sociology.

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  56. basset said on June 16, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    Jolene, I believe it has been two years, nearly… which would explain the eligibility as of this fall.

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  57. Jolene said on June 16, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Jolene, I believe it has been two years, nearly… which would explain the eligibility as of this fall.

    Right, but keep in mind that I was talking about Medicare, not Medicaid. Which program did the notice you got refer to?

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  58. basset said on June 16, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Medicare, now that I look at it more closely.

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  59. Brandon said on June 17, 2015 at 1:45 am

    @MarkH: In Hawaii, we have people who are “Hawaiian at heart.” They’re not ethnically Hawaiian but they know the culture, work on Hawaiian issues, and so forth. I’ve never heard of any of them claiming they are Hawaiian.

    There are few pure Hawaiians left, but many more part-Hawaiians. And ethnic Hawaiians can look brown, white, black, Asian, etc., thanks to intermarriage.

    There’s a remote possibility that Rachel Dolezal actually is black, as many whites have some black ancestry which they may not know of.

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  60. BethB said on June 17, 2015 at 9:46 am

    basset, I was granted Social Security full disability at age 58 due to MS-related issues. I was completely ignorant about the Medicare part in all of this until a friend who had been on disability for years told me that I could expect a Medicare card in the mail after two years, and, yep, it came exactly two years after the disability date had been issued. At the time, I was still on my school’s insurance which was fairly expensive for me as a retiree, but it covered all of my expensive and extensive medications at very low co-pays. After the Medicare declaration, I had to find another policy that would cover medications, and now I pay a very great deal more for my medications, a lot, lot more. This is just my case.

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