Saturday, July 21, 2018

Continuing my last post

I forgot to mention my new bete noir, E-Z Pass.

  I like gadgets, or used to, so I was an early adopter of E=Z Pass.  We were living in New Jersey at the time, and you know what hell the New Jersey roads are. ( If you don't know, you haven't missed a thing.  But I digress.)  At any rate, The late Mr Charm detested traffic.  He took it as a personal affront that anyone else wanted to use the roads at the same time he did.  He particularly hated being stuck in a line waiting to pay a toll, along with his objection to paying for tolls at all, since he already paid taxes.

  Anyway, my E Z Pass payments were supposed to come out of a credit card.  Unfortunately, the card had an expiration date, and duly expired.  So I was in arrears  on the bloody thing, and Delaware sent me a nasty note.  They wanted $4 for the toll, plus $25 administrative fee, plus $10 for some worthy cause and another $15 for another worthy cause.  The total amounted to $54, for a $4 toll.  A whole new definition of highway robbery.

  EZ Pass was supposed to make my life easier, not more complicated.  So I called New York, snd told them my tale of woe.  They promised to send me another E Z  Pass transponder, but wanted to know the license number of my car.  I can never remember what the license plate is, so they asked if I still was driving the 2011 Nissan Sentra, which they apparently considered the license  number of record,  I agreed, although I am actually driving a 2017 Nissan Sentra.  They don't need to know that, though, so I'll keep it a secret.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Have you ever noticed that many improvements become burdens?

E-mail, for instance.  I welcomed e-mail for a variety of reasons.  I could get in touch with my friends.  I could order things online.  I could complain quickly and painlessly with providers such as Comcast.

  Now I dread it.  I get around 200 e-mails a day.  The only reason I look at them is to avoid a pile-up of epic proportions.  So I have to keep up with them in order to avoid being inundated by unwanted and unsolicited messages and missing the few--very few--from people I actually want to hear from.  When I miss a week I have so many messages that I just delete them all.

  The people I have financial accounts with want to send me e-mail bills.  Its cheaper and more convenient for them.  But not for me.  I prefer to get my bills from the post office.  In that way I can look at the charges and see if they really are something I charged or some kind of hack.  Ditto for bank statements.  More than once I have been charged two or even three times for something I only ordered once.  I was charged four times for "audible," which I never used and particularly loathe as I don't like books read to me.  The only thing I want to hear broadcast is music. 

 Another irksome feature of modern life is voicemail,  I long ago gave up answering my landline because of all the unwanted solicitations.  Now I am getting them on my cell phone.  So I never answer the cell phone unless the number is known to me.  But it's still annoying to hear it ring at inappropriate times.

  I'm not a hater of modernity, nor do I long for a simple life.Modern life is great.  I love air conditioning, ice makers, and Japanese cars, among other things too numerous to mention.
Including blogging.  And I appreciate those few, those happy few, who read my blogs.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Praying for unbelievers

Some of my Facebook friends who are in distress ask for prayers from their friends.  I'm willing to comply, but frankly I'm not sure if my prayers are answered or even heard.  I'm rather dubious about the whole thing.

Not to say that I am not a believer,  or even a non-believer.  I am in the position of whoever said:  "Lord I believe--help thou my unbelief."  I have friends who are deeply religious and who derive comfort from their beliefs.  I cannot say the same of myself.  I can only say that I hope to believe, but have serious doubts.

Why would I want to believe?  I would like to believe that those  I lost will be restored to me, that I will some day see my mother, my father, my dearest cousins whose departure has left such a hole in my life.  I would like to believe that there is a realm where those who suffered will be free of pain, that sinners will suffer., that the good and virtuous will get their reward. 

I cannot understand  ardent atheists, especially those who proselytize, and take joy in converting others to their ardent hopes that this life is all there is.  Those who nourish such hatred of God that they must proclaim their disbelief from the rooftops.

I remember the late Christopher Hitchens, when he was dying of lung cancer, telling those who said they were praying for him that that was fine if it made them feel better.  Well, I was one of those who prayed for him, which in my case meant that I was sad for him, thought of him often and ardently wished he would be spared.  Or if not spared, that his suffering would be lessened.

  I never believed that my prayers or ardent wishes would be efficacious. They were not.  He subsequently suffered greatly and then died.  Would I like to believe that his witty spirit somehow survived him and still exists in some other realm?  Of course.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

FBI agent escorted from FBI building.

I'm just going to call him Peter S.  His name is too hard for me--he is seriously deficient in vowels; also in morals.   Apparently he spent his time at work texting his inamorata, the lazy bum, and conspiring against the president.  I hope he does serious jail time.  Not that he will.  None of them do.

I'm  seriously pissed at Laura Bush.  She sounded off about these immigrant children being separated from their parents.  It was okay to separate these children in her husband's administration, as well as under Obama.  It only became heartless and wrong when Trump did it.  I liked the Bush family, because they kept their mouths shut unlike that whited sepulcher Jimmy Carter.  They have spoiled their record now.

Last on my shit list is Netflix, who hired the Obamas. I canceled my subscription.  That'l learn them!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Losing friends permanently

Some of the people I've been following on Facebook are taking drastic steps to sever relationships with friends and even family because these individuals voted for or even defended Trump (also known as the President of the United States). They are even unfriending people who by not enthusastically agreeing or  offering no opinion on the topic  appear to offer tacit support.  Off with their heads!

Friends come and go, and Trump has come and will eventually go. Someone more to your liking will be President eventually.  What will not come back, if they have any sense, are the former friends.  People who used to invite you to Thanksgiving dinner or come and see you when you were in the hospital or just wish you a happy birthday are gone forever.  Your former colleagues, second cousins, neighbors who used to babysit for your kids.  Those who you rejected can now reject you.

How painful it is to read the screeds of the Trump haters1  They act as if the secret police have invaded their homes in the middle of the night.  Their whole way of life has been destroyed.  The ideals of the founders (all racists anyway and all dead white males) have been betrayed!  The whole country is pervaded by racism!  Everyone who did not vote for Hillary is anti-woman!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Unpleasant evening at the Kimmel Center

I had tickets for Tosca, supposedly the hottest ticket in Philadelphia, for me and my daughter. It was a special occasion, a birthday celebration for her.   As we approached the Kimmel Center, we saw a group of activists blocking Broad Street.  The police were monitoring the situation--I think.  Not very well, it turned out.  These activists were all over the place, like ants at a picnic.  At least two of them approached me and more would have. They were in the street, in the lobby, everywhere.

What was it all about?  These mostly middle aged white women were protesting the orchestra's plan to perform in Israel.

The Kimmel Center was showing signs of age, or perhaps of deferred maintenance.  There were buckets here and there set to catch leaks from the roof, fallen plaster was all over the place and one of the water fountains was out of order.

There was a full house. We took our seats, the concert master came out, then the conductor,   Yannick Nézet-Séguin, . He bowed and tapped his baton on the lectern, and...a female voice erupted over the speaker system, shouting about justice for Palestine.  The conductor left the stage, and some of  the musicians also started to leave.  The woman continued shouting.  We could not see what was going on, but the disturbance lasted maybe ten minutes. Ten minutes is a long time when you are waiting for a musical performance.  Then order was restored, Yannick and the musicians returned and the concert commenced.  It was handled clumsily.

It was a sort of semi-staged version of Tosca.  I did not enjoy myself very much.  Trying to follow the action of the opera distracted me from enjoying the music, and the music distracted me from following the plot. I blame the Palestinians. They and their supporters have a lot to answer for.

It was a very long opera, made longer by an interval toward  the end when the action was interrupted while a couple of stage hands moved some furniture, without musical accompaniment.  The audience stirred, ready to leave, but a supertitle warned us the opera was not over.  That was awkward, not to say weird.

All in all, not what I expected when I plunked down $158 for two seats in the third tier.

Monday, May 07, 2018

I am sorry to hear that Melania Trump now has a "cause."

I liked her just as she was, heart-stoppingly beautiful.  Silent was good too.  A nice change from the noisy, opinionated Michele, who I don't miss..