Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Donald...

The Donald...  Via long-suffering reader Simi L.:
After passing on, George Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump are going for a job interview with God.

God asks Bush: “What do you believe in”?

Bush replies: "I believe in a free economy, a strong America, The American nation and so on ..."

God is impressed by Bush and tells him: "Great, come sit in the chair on my right"

God goes to Obama and ask: "What do you believe in”?

Obama replies: “I believe in democracy, helping the poor, world peace, etc. .... ".

God is really impressed by Obama and tells him: 'Well done, come sit in the chair on my left"

Finally God asks Trump : “What do you believe in”?

Trump replied: "I believe you're sitting in my chair”.
I laughed way too hard at this one! :)

Why I like online shopping, part 51,939...

Why I like online shopping, part 51,939...  A few days ago, noting that we were short of printer paper, I stopped in at the Staples in Logan, Utah to pick up two or three reams.  As I browsed the paper aisle, I noted what seemed like a very good deal: five reams of Staples-branded, 20 pound, 96% reflectivity (very bright) bond paper for about $15.  Three bucks a ream is cheap.  It seemed too good to be true, so I checked the signage very carefully to see if I was being fooled somehow.  Nope.  It was clearly marked as five reams for $15.

So I grabbed one of the (heavy!) packages and headed for the cash register, where I had to wait for almost five minutes while the young woman who was the cashier finished her lengthy discussion about a TV show with the customer ahead of me.  Then when she rang up my sale, the charge was for $33.  That's about what such paper sells for on Amazon, shipped to my door, or about $5 a ream at Walmart.  It's certainly not the clearly labeled $15.  WTF? 

Well, my cashier explained (with a big, excited smile on her face) that I was about to have the privilege of getting an $18 rebate, with a super-easy way to submit it online!  Wow!  Now this was absurd on the face of it.  Why would Staples send me a rebate for a product that they're selling under their own brand?  The only possible reason I can think of is that they know many people won't bother sending in the rebate, so they get to misleadingly advertise a low price while actually (on average) getting more.

I was torn, but we needed the paper and I didn't want the hassle of stopping at another store, so I grumbled and paid for the paper.  This morning I pawed through my receipts and found the “Rebate Redemption Form”.  It's printed on a cash register receipt, and measures 25" long.  The poorly-printed text on it is in 8 point type (I measured it!).  It took me five minutes of mind-numbing reading before I found the URL to submit it online.  When I went to that web site, the first thing it did was ask me for a 17 digit “easy redemption ID”.  Easy, my ass!  I searched that form for ten minutes and was about to give up when I noticed that right at the bottom, in six point type that was barely blacker than the white paper, printed inside a bar code, was a 17 digit number.  Could that be it?  It was!  Though I only discovered that after typing it in incorrectly a few times before I got it right. 

I thought that was the end of my torture, but I was wrong.  There was more.  There was a form to be filled in, a web form designed by someone stuck in 1994.  Nearly every field had some rule about entry.  For instance, the phone number had to be entered as just the ten digits of an American phone number including area code.  No hyphens, spaces, or parens.  But this rule was completely hidden – when the form wouldn't accept a phone number, there was no explanation of why.  It just didn't work.  I spent another ten or fifteen minutes filling out this stupid form.  When I finally clicked “submit” and it worked, I was relieved.  Now my torture must be over!


Next I got a confirmation screen that informed me that I was “soon” to be the recipient of an $18 Visa card.  What, exactly, did they mean by “soon”?  In some tiny pale blue type that I could just barely find, they told me to expect my card in 9 to 11 weeks.  Isn't that exciting?

When I finally got done with this process, I made a vow to myself to never, ever darken the entrance of a Staples store again.  I will pay a premium, if necessary, to avoid ever giving that company even one penny of my money. 

Amazon is so much easier.  I just ordered some more paper so we don't run out...

Regulating cow farts...

Regulating cow farts...  Our friend Simon M., who hasn't yet escaped from California, passes this along.  This sounded so crazy ... that I instantly accepted it as real news.  I did a little more reading on it to see if there was actually some plausible underlying thesis, but nope, it's really just as crazy as it sounds.  That's the bad news.  The good news?  Californians can expect much more such craziness, now that the Democrats have a supermajority in both halves of the state legislature, and a Democratic (and particularly loony) governor.  Our not-yet-escaped friends had better batten down the hatches, because a fiscal storm of epic proportions is approaching them...

Paradise ponders, vacuum-sealed edition...

Paradise ponders, vacuum-sealed edition...  Well, yesterday we said goodbye (for now) to our friends Jimmy and Michelle.  In the morning we drove them down to the Salt Lake City airport, dropping Debbie off in Ogden along the way for her hair appointment.  That's another one of those mind-boggling things that I'll never understand – every few weeks she drives an hour each way to see one particular hair dresser in Ogden.  For me, it's every six months or so driving about 15 minutes – and I don't like spending that much time and effort on it!

Our friends were off without incident, though we heard later that their flight's leaving was delayed because they had to wait while a first class passenger was removed.  No word on why that happened, and I could find nothing in the news.

On my drive from the airport back to Ogden (to get Debbie from the hair dresser), I drove through the eastern part of Ogden and right under the scene at right.  This was one of several erected by the Ogden Fire Department, and we saw similar things (along with hundreds and hundreds of American flags) in Brigham City as we drove through it.  All of this is in tribute to the recently killed Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Ellsworth, whose funeral and procession was yesterday.  There were photos, flowers, and people everywhere you looked in Brigham City (Ellsworth's home town).

We finally got home at around 4 pm, much to the relief of our dogs. :)  Shortly after we got home, our UPS driver showed up with a huge pile of boxes for us and a very concerned face.  He was worried that he'd wrecked our new tile in the mud room when he delivered a box the day before – he stepped into the room before putting the package down, and only then noticed that there was no grout yet.  He thought the tile had just been laid, and that he had wrecked it.  In fact the tile had been down for almost a week, and the tile installers were just late to finish the job.  He was greatly relieved!

Among the packages he delivered for us was a large, heavy one containing our new vacuum sealer (for food).  Debbie's been wanting a vacuum sealer for a long time, as it's a good way for her to make food in large batches (which she's apparently genetically programmed to do) and then divvy it up into single portion bags for freezing.  Our go-to method has been either Cambro boxes or zipper bags, but both of them are imperfect and in particular leave air in the food (which allows freezer burn).  I did a bunch of research into these vacuum sealers, as we have absolutely zero experience with them.  Since perhaps half of what Debbie makes is liquid (stews, soups, and chili), the chamber type of sealer looked like the right way to go.  We unpacked this thing with much anticipation, and a bit of trepidation as well – after reading all the reviews of this thing, it looked like it might be tricky to set up and get working correctly.  All I can say is that there must be some mighty picky people out there.  This was about as difficult as making toast.  The very first attempt we made was completely successful, as were the next dozen or so as we started packing up the Thanksgiving leftovers still in our refrigerator.  Debbie was all smiles as she sealed bag after bag.  We both liked the sound effects and automatic pop-up at the end of the cycle.  We're also wondering why the heck we waited so long to get one!  This is going to have a noticeable impact on our life...