Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Remember loyalty cards?

You remember them, surely?  If you used them at the Acme, you could get 10 cents off of a can of beans.  At the Regal Theater, you got free popcorn.  It was effortless, if not brainless.  You didn't even have to bring the card with you; they could look up your phone number.

Well, those days are over.  Loyalty cards now represent an educational opportunity.  You have to use your brain--never an attractive option for me.  Now you have to go to the website of the loyalty card--let's say it's Plenti--log on, get yourself a username and a password, and then--but I never got that far, so I never got anything out of my Plenti card.

I haven't given up hope.  So today, I used my Plenti card at the gas station, and what do you know, the brain inside the pump asked me if I wanted to use the $12 I had on my Plenti card.  Did I ever?  I pressed yes, and proceeded to pump gas into the car.  However, the receipt said I couldn't use the Plenti points to buy gas.  But I got 8 more Plenti points.

Whole Foods also has a Rewards card.  Yesterday the cashier at my local Whole Foods advised me to just spend an hour familiarizing myself with the card, but that's an hour I will never get back.  Furthermore, I don't want to give Whole Foods my e-mail address and get lots of spam messages from the company offering me free range chickens.  I don't want to sign up.  I don't want an app on my iPhone.  I want 10 cents off a can of beans or free popcorn without making a gigantic mental effort.  Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

To hell in a handbasket

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

These passages  by William Butler  Yeats could be  read at the beginning of every newscast, followed by the words, "Details at eleven," and they would describe the world situation perfectly.  We could then have a speech by Obama, explaining that this was the desired effect of his wise policies, and everything was going as planned.

On the treadmill

Every day when the weather is not good I walk on the treadmill at the gym.  The treadmill has television, I plug in my headset, and I am good for a mind-numbing session of the Food Network.  Or sometimes I watch the news on occasions when Obama is not speaking.

Yesterday, all the television sets were set on one channel, a sports channel, which was having special coverage on a basketball scandal taking place at the University of Louisville.  It featured a woman who procured women for prospective basketball players.  Among the prostitutes she recruited were three of her young daughters.  She had four daughters, but the youngest was left at home, perhaps to watch the cat or maybe do her homework.

Apparently life at the U of Louisville was just one round of orgies, with drugs, alcohol, sex and more sex, all paid for by the coach.  Occasionally the student athletes had to interrupt the party scene for basketball games or practice.  Writing term papers or studying for tests were activities not prominently featured in their schedules.  Student athletes could graduate from the University after a decent interval as ignorant as the day they started their university careers, or maybe more so,  having had their brains fried by alcohol or drugs.

I hate to be the neighborhood scold (or maybe not), but what does this stuff have to do with education?  Why doesn't the university of Louisville just hire themselves a  basketball team, pay them decent salaries, and pocket the profits, if any.  In this way, they could avoid the fiction that they were in the education business.  Nothing wrong with that; the New York Yankees do not award degrees.  They don't have to hire United States Senators and other worthies to give inspirational speeches at commencement.  In other words, they are honestly paid to provide a service which people are willing to pay for. The University of Louisville, on the other hand, is a whore.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

I'm still here, and pissed!

I spent 20 days in rehab, getting infused every 6 hours with antibiotics.  They stuck a tube up my arm so they wouldn't have to open a new vein every time I got an infusion.  That would have been inconvenient.

Every few hours they pricked my finger to test my blood sugar, which was all over the place because I was sick, for God's sake.  After a while, I told them to knock it off.  My blood sugar was not what I was there for, and I didn't want any more finger sticks.  So they sent a nurse over to inform me that if I developed diabetes Medicare would not pay for insulin.  I managed to bear this news with equanimity.

While I was lying there in my bed of discomfort, I managed to read all the literature the hospital had given me.  It turns out that the hospital treats everybody over a certain age as a fall risk.  This means they put a Whoopie cushion in your bed, under your body, so every time you get up an alarm goes off.  You are supposed to ring for the nurse, who then might come and assist you out of bed.When she gets around to it.  Yes, the Wilmington Hospital treats every older adult admitted for anything like a toddler.  You could be a circus acrobat suffering from a sinus infection and still be humiliated this way.  It's not unpleasant enough to be in the hospital, so they make it worse, for their own convenience.

I think this procedure was invented by lawyers to prevent the hospital from being sued. 

I am angry enough about the lack of cleanliness.  Hand sanitizers and hazmat suits have taken the place of soap and water.  The rooms and bathrooms are never cleaned, nor are the patients washed.  I was in there for 5 days, and I must admit I reeked.  But the hazmat suits protected the staff, and the hell with the patients and visitors.