Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Perfect Comedy Skit

Rotary Man Rooter Service, Toledo Ohio

Plumber: See, there's a 4" drain pipe running from your house to your septic tank. So, you need to have a 4" clean-out pipe installed outside the house. Otherwise, you can only run a snake through the 1" pipe from your toilet or your shower, and that leaves 3 inches of uncleared pipe, which doesn't do the job.

Me: But, that's what you guys charged me $200 to do on Wednesday. If I needed a clean-out installed, why didn't they tell me then?

Plumber: I didn't make that decision, lady. I'm making this decision now; there's a right way to do this job and a wrong way. The right way is to install a clean-out. That's about $475.

Me: I really don't have another $500 to put into this right now. If going through the toilet wouldn't fix it, why did they do it? You're saying they charged me $200 to do it the wrong way?

Plumber: They were probably trying to do it on the cheap because you were shopping around. Were you shopping around for the cheapest price?

Me: No, I just called one company - you guys. Why wouldn't they have given me that option Wednesday, so I only had to spend $500 instead of $700?

Plumber: What's the difference? You don't have $500 anyway.

Me: Can I get a credit for a portion of the $200 towards the $475 job?

Plumber: I don't know about credits, lady. I'm sure they did what they could; they're good guys. We do good work. I apologize that the contractor who built your house didn't put in a clean-out. Do you want to schedule this job for Tuesday?

Me: Will you credit any of the $200 I've already spent, since they didn't give me this option Wednesday?

Plumber: Hey, I don't know why they did what they did. Everybody's free, white and over 18.

Me: Thank you for your time. Bye-bye.

I found the, "free, white and over 18" bit particulary hilarious. Who talks like that in 2011? To a customer??

Monday, May 23, 2011

Community Band

I decided I'd like to play in a community band. I haven't played since high school, but it's something I'd like to do again. I started looking for one and found this site:
OMG, there are bands all over the place! I want to support them all.
Unbelievably, there is one so close to me that I could walk to practices. It's a Polish-American Band (no, I'm not Polish), but so what? I hope they let me play my flute, instead of the clarinet that I played all through school.
When I take road trips, I like to check for performances at community theaters in the area. Now, I'll check community bands, too.


I have an eye for potential. When I look at something, I envision it after I'm done sprucing it up. I usually know exactly what I want to do with things.
Here are before and after shots of my duplex. When I described what I wanted on the balcony, everyone tried to talk me out of it - my neighbor, the contractor. But, I knew it would look great.

*********I just love to fix up worn old items and make them appealing and functional; it's so gratifying to me. How I could resist this great, old, cement flower pot that sat next to the dumpster at the cemetery for 4 months?
A little scrubbing, some paint and voila:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Disappearing Kitsch

I’m not a fan of Las Vegas. I’ve been there twice, both times for a convention. The first time I saw the strip, I was awed by the unending gawdiness of it. I was with a friend who also had never been there; we were literally speechless. We nicknamed it “Hideocrity.” C’mon, tell me that picture isn’t ugly!
It’s just too much - too much everything. Too much glitz. Too much money. Too much waste. Too much sex. Too much food. Too much consumerism. It’s unabashed greed. There’s something approaching disrespect about a 1/10 scale Eiffel Tower; the original was the engineering marvel of its day, but, in Vegas, it’s just a lawn ornament. It’s disarming to walk under a ceiling painted with a tromp l’oeil scene of a night sky so flawless that you can’t tell you’re indoors.
Yet, Las Vegas has its benefits, too. The surrounding territory is stunningly beautiful. It’s a great home base, in close proximity to lots of sights, including the Grand Canyon. Cirque du Soleil always has 3 or 4 concurrent shows in Vegas. And don’t overlook the kitsch, of which Vegas is king.
The Sahara, a symbol of the dwindling old kitsch of The Strip, closed recently. I stayed there both times I was in Vegas; in cement jungles, I try to choose accommodation on the border, which isn’t as claustrophobic. The Sahara was a great, 50’s era Morrocan-themed, double-towered hotel/casino. It was a fun, comfortable place, with a staff impeccably friendly. On a 130° day, we got in the glass elevator of the 6-story parking structure. The sun streamed through the glass as the elevator lurched a bit and we suddenly realized that, if the power went out, we would be dead within minutes; we took the stairs for the rest of the trip.
Like it or not, I’m sure I’ll find myself in Las Vegas again, at one point or another. It’s too bad I won’t be able to stay at the Sahara . . .

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Crystal Bowersox

Toledo claims Crystal like Detroit claims Seger. My sister did a painting of her when she was just a girl with a guitar, playing at a downtown market on a Saturday afternoon.
Crystal rewards Toledo's loyalty with lots of shows; she's doing it again on Memorial Day Weekend. She'll play two shows, back-to-back, at the historic Valentine Theater.
Sarge & I have tickets to the 10pm show. I'm excited!

Motor City Salsa!

My favorite percussionist just booked a date in Detroit! Ok, it's not for a year, but I can still be excited.
Detoit has a great music scene, but Poncho's schedule doesn't have many northern shows. Maybe the city's changing demographics have put the latino population at a higher percentage?
It would be great to see tonight's show in Santa Barbara! Mom moved there for a few years after she finished nursing school; she keeps telling me I should visit. For now, I'll just look forward to May, 2012!

Friday, May 13, 2011


I have glaucoma, dammit. I’m convinced that this is payback for all those stupid reefer/glaucoma jokes when I was a teenager . . .
Apparently, it’s fairly easily-treated with eye drops, but I’m still bummed about this. A lot of people around me (my dad, Butch, my boss) have had serious eye injuries and/or conditions. Particularly due to my dad's blindness, I’ve always tried to be careful with my eyes.
It will be a couple weeks before I know what my treatment is; I’m a little of nervous. The risk of completely losing sight is low with regular treatment, but lots of medications (which I may need later in life) impact glaucoma.
Oddly enough, today is Stevie Wonder's birthday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Good for Business?

The party lines along which our health care debate is drawn don’t make sense to me. I understand why business interests are generally represented by Republicans. The platform is smaller government, which appeals to Business (as a community) because bigger government costs Business more money. It’s logical to conclude that Republicans don’t promote government programs.
But, Health Care, as an issue, is different than other government programs. American health care costs are already being borne, nearly exclusively, by the Business Community, right? Unlike other programs, which are supported by broad taxation on all levels, health care is covered by Business.
When someone says they don’t have insurance, I just think they don’t receive it as a job benefit. Nobody views people without health insurance as irresponsible for not buying a policy, like those who don’t insure their car or their home. It’s just a given that they don’t have a job which offers it as a benefit. Business pays for health care coverage – that’s an assumption in the USA.
Consequently, wouldn’t national health care offer the Business Community a break? Shouldn’t Business benefit from dispersing the costs of health care throughout the nation, instead of it resting solely on the back of Business?
I hope to get a small (micro, really) business running someday; eventually, I will likely hire someone to help me. I couldn’t even consider doing so if I had to offer that person health insurance! The business wouldn’t even get started.
It really seems to me that the Business Community should be supporting a program that assumes responsibility for even SOME of the health care costs.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bean & Cheese Burritos

Mom and I went to a lamb chop dinner the other night. Earlier in the day, I had seen a "Lambs for Sale" sign that gave me a little start, but we already had plans.
I have only had lamb a couple times, neither within the last 20 years. It was nicely seasoned and tasted good. A couple bites into the meal, though, a lady from the post came to chat with us and mentioned that, "This was just cut this morning. It's as fresh as it can be." Uh, huh.
I looked at the chops on my plate and imagined them intact, as pink flesh wrapped in soft fluffy wool. Breathing. Playing in a pasture. Just 12 hours earlier.
I don't know why I don't get the point; I go through this fairly regularly. This bothers me.
So, I'm off the meat again. The last time I went veg, I ended up sodium and protein deficient. I'm going to work to include more beans this time.
I'll be happy to miss out on all the antibiotics and other crap that "meat producers" are pumping into our food, too.