Meet Your Next Airplane Seatmate. Think I’m Kidding?

I sincerely want to be a kind person.

I sincerely want to be kind, especially to those less fortunate than I.

I sincerely want airlines to stop allowing bogus “support” animals on airplanes.

When I say “support” animals I’m not referring to the professionally trained, well-behaved animals we see accompanying people with disabilities.  These are properly referred to as “service animals” and they, indeed, perform valuable services.

NOT a service animal.

Instead I’m referring to the Noah’s Ark of  “support” animals that people claim are absolutely necessary to their well-being when traveling on airplanes.

The problem can be summed up in the old adage, “Give him an inch, and he’ll take a mile.”  That’s us humans – give somebody an OK for her “support” duck and somebody else will insist their peacock is a “support” animal.

Think I’m kidding?  Meet Daniel Terducken Stinkerbutt, a “support” animal whose owner dresses him in “little red shoes and a Captain America Diaper,” according to a report from ABC News.

support duck_01

Last year Daniel and his owner made not one, but two flights together, and his “hugs and kisses” helped her make it through the flights.

Seriously?  Hugs and kisses from a duck?

But that bird got on an airplane, so why not Dexter the peacock?


Alas, his owner tried – and was denied – their flight in January at Newark Airport.  Possibly because Dexter tried to kiss and hug the airline employee.

Lest you think “support” animals are limited to feathered friends, here’s a list of animals just recently banned by various U.S. carriers:

Banned?  But he’s a support rattlesnake!
  • Hedgehogs
  • Ferrets
  • Insects
  • Goats
  • Rodents
  • Snakes
  • Spiders
  • Amphibians
  • Sugar Gliders
  • Non-household birds*
  • Any animal that is dirty/has an odor**

*I don’t know if Stinkerbutt fits into this category.
**Apparently passengers who are dirty/have an odor are still welcome.

One airline has also banned animals with tusks, horns or hooves, except for trained miniature horses acting as service animals.

horse largest.jpgYes, apparently miniature horses can be trained as service animals.  Notice in this photo how the owner is in the aisle seat, and the horse’s hindquarters are tucked up against the legs of the passenger next to him?  That owner is no dummy.

Wouldn’t you love being that other passenger?  Can’t you just see the scene at the airport check-in counter?

Passenger:  Whew!  I was afraid I was going to miss my flight – is my seat still available?

Airline Agent:  Sure is, and you’ll be sharing your leg room with a horse’s ass!

In spite of the “banned” list above, airlines are still faced with dilemma of banning rat with badgepassengers with their “support” cats, pigs, pocket pooches, kangaroos, marmosets, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, rats, badgers, bearded dragons and worse – skunks and elephants so far are not banned.

Banning animals = losing all that passenger revenue.

Or the airlines can cave in, keep collecting that revenue, and continue allowing passengers to go whole hog and bring on board any animal they want, regardless of the inconvenience –  urination, defecation – and danger of aggressive behavior toward other passengers.

Thinking I’m kidding about “whole hog”?

pig_04 cropped.jpg pig

Rant: Lies, Lies And More Lies

People tell all sorts of work-related lies. lie_03

Candidates lie to interviewers.  Interviewers lie to candidates.  Employees lie to managers.  Managers lie to employees.

And CEOs lie to everybody.

Here are three big lies you hear all the time:

  1. We absolutely do not anticipate any layoffs.
  2. Our organization truly does care about work/life balance.

And the biggest lie of all:

  1. Do what you love and the money will follow.

Lie #3 came to mind while I was reading an article by Scott Mautz, CEO of Profound Performance, an appropriate company name since the article is full of work-related profundities.  Examples:

  • Be clear on what you want and proactive in making it so.
  • Pursue the life and career that you want, not that someone else expects of you.  Thislie_02 cropped is the key to having a truly meaningful, fulfilling career and life.
  • Let desire to serve your authentic self drive your actions.

You’ll see a common thread between these thoughts and Lie #3:  If you’re thrilled working at your organization, and performing work that gives you constant warm fuzzies, then you’ll love, love, love it and make lots, lots, lots of money.

I decided to count how many people I’ve known, currently know, and ever expect to know that fit this description, and so far it’s…zero cropped


The ideas of doing “what you love,” pursuing the “life and career you want” and “serving your authentic self” are absurd.  First of all, no employer cares if your “authentic self” shows up or not, as long as you’re on time, productive and efficient.

Second, the only reason we show up is because they pay us to, not because we find the work “fulfilling.”um no

If you don’t believe me, look for someone who says they love what they do.  If you can find one, ask if they love it so much they’d work for free.  Answer:

“Um, well…wait.  Um, did you say ‘for free’?  Gee, I don’t know, I…well, um…no.”

auto_workers_02So I’d like to encourage Mr. Mautz to step away from that rarefied atmosphere he lives in and talk to people in the real world, like our 18 million healthcare workers, our 12 million factory workers and our 500,000 teachers.

People who are too busy trying to support their families and make ends meet to spend time thinking about themselves, much less their “authentic selves.”

If you can’t find one of these 30,000,000+ workers, then talk to this guy.

I’ll bet he’d love to share about “serving his authentic self”:


Drain the Swamp…Then Drink It!

Somehow the latest food fad slimed – er, I mean slid – right past me.drinking green cropped

I’m referring to swamp – er, I mean green – juice.

“Green juice” is a generic name for a supposedly healthy beverage that looks like it came from a swamp, or an algae-infested swimming pool.  It’s made from processed (squished) vegetables, plus other stuff that makes it possible to swallow.  For example, here’s the ingredients list from one brand:

yuck“Water, organic romaine juice, organic apple juice, organic celery juice, organic cucumber juice, organic lemon juice, organic kale juice, organic parsley juice, organic spinach juice, organic ginger juice, natural peppermint flavor, organic rosemary extract.”

You do know that some of this stuff was added to distract you from the taste of the rest of the stuff, right?

If you think I’m kidding about the swamp, a number of brands include algae, like chlorella and spirulina:

chlorella_vulgaris spirulina_02 suja

Contains Chlorella

Contains Spirulina

Contains Both

Just like swamps.  And swimming pools.

Green juice has become popular not because of the taste, but because of all the wonderful results promised by the producers:

Suja Mighty Greens will “make your body sing.” suja (1)
Blueprint Motion Potion will put “pep in your step.” Blue Print_01
Jus by Julie states, “This cleanse is the best of both worlds.” jus_01 cropped

I’d like to ask Suja Juice to share the data from their clinical research on exactly how their green juice makes a “body sing,” and exactly what that sounds and looks like.  Is the singing coming from the test subjects’ mouths, some other orifice, or a combination of

pep in your step_05
“Pep in your step”?

those?  Is the singing Top 10, Hip-Hop, Blues, other?

And what about “pep in your step”?  How many test subjects that drank Blueprint Motion Potion experienced this, and what did that look like?

As for Jus by Julie and the “cleanse” – nope, not going there.breville

Of course, you don’t have to buy cases of bottled green juice to make your body sing, etc.  You can just plunk down $600 for this lovely Breville 800XL Juice Fountain Elite, buy out the produce section at your grocery store, and make your own swamp stuff.

juicerToo pricey?  Then how about this nice Omega J8004 Nutrition Center Commercial Masticating Juicer for just $337?  It’s not just any juicer – it masticates!

Or, you could just walk around town until you find a neglected swimming pool, scoop up a bucket of that green slime – er, I mean juice – and drink it all down.

That “cleanse” will put some “pep in your step,” for sure.


Americans Invent, Then Invent Some More

We Americans are an inventive bunch.

cheese whizThe variety, quantity and importance of our inventions are truly awesome.  Just think of the impact on our lives of inventions like:

  • Computers.
  • Automobiles.
  • Cheese Whiz.

Equally awesome is the fact that no sooner does one American invent something…

Than another one invents a crime inspired by it.

Take, for example, snowmobiles.

bibawikOn a dark December night back in the mid-1950s, inventor Arnie Arneson of Biwabik, in northern Minnesota (population 213), was excited to be taking his invention, the snowmobile, for its very first test drive around town.  The test drive went well, and Arnie was thrilled.  So thrilled, in fact, that he parked the snowmobile in front of the town’s bar and ran inside to tell the owner, Olly Olafson, all about it.  Because it was 58 degrees below zero, Arnie left the snowmobile’s engine running to keep the fuel line from freezing.

No sooner had Arnie disappeared into the bar than a figure bundled in heavy winter clothes, including a ski mask, appeared from around the corner of the bar.  The figure ran to the snowmobile, sat down, revved the engine, and took off over the river and through the woods.  Arnie’s snowmobile had inspired the first snowmobile theft.

woodsman_02 snowmobile cropped.jpg

Arnie was still seen around Biwabik, but alas, not his snowmobile.

No doubt Arnie’s story came to mind if you heard about the latest invention-inspired crime:

The new Medicare card scam.

In May 2017 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that

new card“CMS is readying a fraud prevention initiative that removes Social Security (SSA) numbers from Medicare cards to help combat identity theft, and safeguard taxpayer dollars.

“The new cards will use a unique, randomly assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), to replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) currently used on the Medicare card.”

To translate that alphabet soup of acronyms, our government had woken up to the fact that using Social Security numbers as ID was a dumb idea.

Alas, because the CMS has done such a poor job of informing the 44 million beneficiaries about the new Medicare cards – “more than three-quarters of Americans wait what_02 croppedover age 65 know little or nothing about the federal government’s initiative” according to a recent survey – there’s a whole lot of people who are ripe for the scamming.

The scammers saw their opportunity and seized it – just like Arnie’s snowmobile thief.

The first batch of new cards had barely cleared the Post Office in April 2018 when a variety of telephone scams came to light.  These include scammers:

  • Posing as Medicare representatives calling beneficiaries demanding a processingscammer_01 fee to activate the new number, which they also ask for.
  • Telling beneficiaries that they are owed a refund from transactions on their old card and then asking for bank account information to process the reimbursement.
  • Advising beneficiaries that their new card has been kidnapped and will require a $5,000 ransom to release it.

OK, I’m lying about the last one, but you get my point:

New invention = new crime.

Americans will keep inventing and thieves will keep thieving.

What a country!

senior on phone_02.jpg

Book Review: “The Wife Between…” Whatever

Publication date:  January 2018

Review, short version:  Four skunks out of four.

it's official_01Review, long version:

It’s now official:

I am done reading any book categorized as:

Women’s Fiction>Mystery, Thriller & Suspense.

One book in this category is Gone Girl.  Read it, hated it.

Another is The Woman in the Window.  Read it, hated it and wrote about it here, back in bookFebruary.

Now, in the same category, comes The Wife Between Us.  Started it, and couldn’t endure past page 100, out of 343.

All three books are Women’s Fiction>Mystery, Thriller & Suspense and have gotten raves from readers.  Gone Girl was made into a movie; a Woman in the Window movie is in the works; and I have no doubt The Wife Between Us is on the same path.

Three movies I did or will skip.

When a book is labeled a “thriller” it is, by definition, supposed to

“give readers heightened feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation and anxiety.”

To do this, authors contrive plots and sub-plots with twists and turns that keep you guessing, and racing to the last page to discover who actually did what to whom.  In The Wife Between Us, for instance:

Early on we meet Vanessa, told in first person, and Nellie, told in third person.  Vanessa was married to Richard, and now Nellie is engaged to Richard.

Anxiety!!!  (See above definition.)

Richard is an abusive psycho.

woman surprised cropped reversed
Surprised?  Excited?  Yawning?

Suspense!!!   (See above definition.)

Somewhere along the line we discover that Nellie and Vanessa are the same person.

Surprise!!!  (See above definition.)

Richard has an assistant named Emma, who is the daughter of the married professor Vanessa/Nellie had an affair with back in college.  Emma wants revenge on Vanessa/Nellie for breaking up her parents’ marriage.

Excitement!!!  (See above definition.)

At some point we meet Kate, Richard’s ex-girlfriend, whom he also abused. get it cropped Vanessa/Nellie is the wife between abused ex-girlfriend Kate and soon-to-be-abused Emma.

Get it???

I promise, if you look up the word contrived in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of this book.


The Wife Between Us was supposed to keep me wondering, but all I’m wondering about is first, why I hung on until page 100, and second, why I tried another thriller after I suffered through Gone Girl and The Woman in the Window.

But amidst all this bad news there is some good news as well:

The book has two authors, Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks.

So I’m having twice as much fun mocking their efforts.

thriller 2018 soon to be a major motion picture
“Thriller” = “on-trend female-centric psychological suspense genre.”  Seriously? I’d love to see an ad like this say “Soon To Be A Minor Motion Picture!”

I’m What?

Day, Time:    Wednesday 8:45am

Location:       At home, on my computer

When what to my wondering eyes should appear…

Screen Print.jpg

Joe, what a surprise to hear from you.

are_you_fucking_kidding_me__by_rexdragonfang99x-d6o7s38And that you’d like to join my LinkedIn network.

Really, what a surprise…

Since you fired me in 2011, after eleven years of promotions, raises and rave reviews.

“Eliminated” my position.

Laid me off, let me go, terminated me.

Sent me to the unemployment line, and sent me into Job Hunting Hell during the Great Recession.

Now, after seven+ years, you’ve sent me a request to connect.

What are you doing – trolling around LinkedIn trying to connect with all the people you fired?crowd-of-people-images-sihlouette

Lord knows there are plenty of us – more than 100 people, in a company that employed, max, 130.

Or maybe you singled me out, to make me feel special?

I know – there are those who would say, “It was a long time ago, get over it, you’re doing fine now.”

I’m sure they’re right.

I’m sure I should move on.

I’m sure I should accept your invitation.

So, Joe:  Do just one thing before I click that “Accept” button:

hold_02 largest

Hold your breath until you hear from me.

Rant: Is This A Bad Joke? No, It’s Just Bad…

Familly one is missing but who'd notice
The Schwandt family – one or two kids may be missing, but who’d notice?

In mid-April the media briefly turned their attention to Mr. and Mrs. Schwandt of Rockford, MI because the couple had just had their 14th child.

Apparently the prolific parents were especially newsworthy because their 14th child was a boy – as what thinking_01 croppedwere the previous 13.

While the media was wondering about the odds of having fourteen boys and no girls, I was wondering, “What are these people – the Schwandts – thinking?”

So I decided to write them a letter and ask:

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Schwandt:

I understand you’ve just reproduced yourselves for the 14th time.  You were quoted as saying you were “pretty sure” this was your last baby.  You were also quoted saying the same thing when you had your 13th.

And since Mrs. Schwandt is only 42 and has a half-dozen or more child-bearing years ahead of her, I’m guessing no one will be surprised when #15 makes an appearance.  And #16.  And #17…

all about youEspecially since, as Mr. Schwandt put it, “This is just what we do.”  Yes.  And do, and do, and do.

Because it’s all about you.

I’d like to cordially invite you both to take a look around at Earth, our only residence option at the moment.  This obviously will come as news to you both, but it’s a planet of finite size.  That means we have finite resources such as:

  • The air we breathe.
  • The water we drink.
  • The land we use to grow food.

And yet I suspect you complain when:

garbage dump_01
Gee, where does all this garbage come from?
  • That open land outside of town is bulldozed to build new housing, and roads to reach that housing.
  • Mr. Schwandt now has to get up an hour earlier to go to work because the commute traffic on U.S. 131 has gotten so bad.
  • You hate that nearby garbage dump and can’t figure out where all that smelly trash is coming from.

And you just keep reproducing, never connecting the dots between yourselves and the reality of too many people our planet.

selfish_01Too many people produced by selfish people like you.

Selfish:  concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself; seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure or well-being without regard for others.

  • Selfish to think that your genes are SO wonderful that you just have to keep reproducing yourselves.
  • Selfish to think that you don’t have to care about Earth’s finite resources because you and your family are somehow special exceptions.
  • Selfish to think that your thoughtless example won’t prompt your 14 (or 15 or 16 or 17) kids to also go out and start reproducing, and also not caring about Earth’s finite resources because, like you, reproducing “is just what we do.”
The Schwandt’s, pregnant with…#15?  #16?  #17?

I’d say Mr. Schwandt summed it up well when he said:

“I mean to each their own, you know what I mean.  We have a lot of friends that have you know one child or no children.  You know, we get plenty of comments, you know out there online about you know how crazy we are and how unfair it is and everything.  It’s not for everybody.  We enjoy it.”

Yes, we know you do.

And do.  And do…

And because of you and people like you…

Our roads now… traffic_01
Our airports now… crowded airport_01
Our green space now… homes_01

Our population growth rate now…

population chart cropped.jpg

Rant: Service Providers With “Service Windows” Suck

skeptical-businessman-01 cropped
You just told your boss you’d be in  “sometime tomorrow morning.”

If you told your boss, “Yeah, I’ll be in sometime tomorrow between, oh, 8am and noon,” I think we know it wouldn’t go over well.

So why is it when you and I, the consumers – when we’re the boss – are told, “Yeah, we’ll be there tomorrow to fix your sink between 8am and noon,” we say, “OK, great, thanks”?

Yet that’s exactly what we do when given a “service window” by a plumber, air conditioning company, termite inspector and numerous other service providers.

Well, phooey on

The last time I said, “OK, great, thanks,” it was to a widely advertised (“As Seen On TV!”) company that claims to love “wowing” their customers.  This is good.  I like to be wowed.  I want to be wowed.

I wasn’t.

I’d agreed to a service window of 10am to 2pm.  When 2:15 arrived but the service person hadn’t, I called the company.  “Oh, we have you down for this afternoon,” they said.

10am_01What part of “afternoon,” I wondered, is 10am?

Their mistake, obviously, but if I’d been told “afternoon” I could have been out that morning running errands, rather than sitting at home, waiting for someone to show up.  At their convenience.  To provide a service that by the way, took 30 minutes, for which they charged enough money to feed a family of four.

For a month.dishwasher_1

It wasn’t the first time this happened to me, and I know it’s happened to you.  The reason for service windows, I suppose, is to allow for the unexpected.  A technician arrives to fix the dishwasher, and the customer ends up with three inches of water on the kitchen floor.  That delays getting to the next location, which delays getting to the next location, and so on for the rest of the day.

Companies would rather give themselves a big block of time and then brag about their “on-time service record” when they manage to show up one minute before the end of the service window.

on time_01 croppedKind of like the airlines.  If they get you to your destination within a week of your original arrival time, it’s “on time” as far as they’re concerned.

Allow me to reiterate.  Phooey!

The one exception I make is for medical appointments.  I always take plenty of reading material, because I expect to be kept waiting – in both the reception room and the examining room.  I don’t like it, but I know many people schedule an appointment for one issue when in reality they have five:  “Doctor, while you’re here, could you look at this bump/lump/spot on the back/front/side of my knee/arm/ear?”no-way-arrow-sign-k-0260-l cropped

Not that you or I ever do this.

And what’s the doctor to do?  Say, “Sorry, your appointment was for your rash, you’ll have to make another appointment for that.”  Of course not.  So the doctor stays because, after all, the doctor’s goal is to help us.

Which ought to be the goal of all service providers, and maybe it is – secondarily.  Their first goal is to make money, which is a fine goal, but to do this they over-schedule too few technicians for too many service calls, and one glitch ends up wasting way too much of our time.

So here’s the plan.  The next time you need something done by a professional and the company wants a four- or five- (and yes, I’ve even heard of an eight-) hour service no-way-arrow-sign-k-0260-r croppedwindow, politely but firmly say, “No.  I want an exact time.  If you can’t do that, then I’ll find a company that will.”

I know they’ll be quick to commit to an exact time.  How?

Because I did this last week, and I’m expecting the termite guy in five minutes.  And – oh, I need to answer the phone.

“Hello?  What?  Not for another three hours…”

phooey_02 cropped with exclam

There’ a Fungus Among Us

pedicure_01.jpg heel.jpg
I went in for this… And ended up with this.

Many people – mostly women but men as well – consider regular trips to a nail salon mani pedinecessary to their good grooming.

I’d never done the manicure/pedicure thing – called a “mani-pedi” by those in the know.  The idea of someone else taking care of these chores was appealing but – the idea of some stranger fooling with my hands and feet wasn’t.

Eventually my curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to be a Wild Thing and everything_01 croppedtry something new.  But where to find a great nail salon?  Online, of course.  Because as everyone knows, everything on the Internet is true.

I searched for the 10 best nail salons in my town, and up came Yelp with a list.  The first place had a five-star rating with more than 200 reviews, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong.

wild thing croppedAnd for awhile, I was right.  First, I really enjoyed the experience, and oh – the foot/calf and hand/forearm massage was heavenly.  Second, the nail tech did a great job, and I no longer had to.  A mani-pedi became a welcome part of my routine.

Until my last visit.  Two days after the mani-pedi I noticed a dry, cracked patch on the bottom of my heel.  Then the crack started oozing blood.  “What the hell?” I thought.  I used an antiseptic spray and band-aids for a few days, and when I didn’t see improvement, scheduled a doctor’s appointment.

His diagnosis:  a heel fungal infection.  See picture at top.ewww cropped


Am I 100% certain that I got the fungal infection from the nail salon?  No.  But considering the fact that…

  • I’d never had a fungal infection.
  • It started two days after the mani-pedi.
  • I’d never thought to ask if the nail tech sterilized her tools in between clients.

I won’t be returning to that salon.  If I ever decide to do the Wild Thing again I’ll ask someone I trust who has mani-pedi experience for the name of their salon.

No more looking online.

Even though, as everyone knows…

everything cropped.jpg