Do You Have Trouble Saving Money? Save Now – But Only Until March 8!

Here’s an easy, guaranteed way to save $200 and the best part is, you don’t have to do anything.

It’s what you’re not going to do that will save you that $200:

Don’t do this:

Restaurant

No, this is not the first settlement of humans on the moon.

It’s Dinner with a View, or DWAV, and those in the know call it.

DWAV is San Diego’s latest pop-up dining experience – excuse me, experiential dining event – and was deemed “Instagram-worthy” by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

And not only “Instagram-worthy,” but “Instagram-worthy luxury event” and “Instagram story dream come true.”

The article sounded more like an ad for Instagram than a restaurant review.

As does the DWAV website:

“…opportunities to capture that perfect photograph…a wondrous environment perfect for sharing via social…

Here’s what happened.

DWAV sent a bunch of worker bees to a location in San Diego (above) to hand-assemble 36 domes – excuse me, dining pods – from dozens of Plexiglass-style hexagons.

This is outdoor dining in the dead of winter, and yes, while it is San Diego and temperatures at this time of year can reach the 70s during the day, they can drop to the 30s at night.

And in those chilly temps…

Want a pre-dinner cocktail?  It’s a GYO – Get Your Own – at the outdoor bar.

Indoor bathrooms, the reviewer assures us, “are happily close,” which could be anything from a few steps away to a trip over the river and through the woods.

Thus, the reviewer recommends “cold-weather clothing and shoes”:

winter clothing
“We’re on our way to Dinner With a View!”

And, the reviewer assures us, each dining pod has a space heater.

But before you start zipping up your down jacket, you must “book your dome.”

Cost:

Charges 1 (3)

That’s right – $200 just to sit in a Plexiglass-style dome, shivering with cold while you eat.  And speaking of eating…

Next:  You pay for your dinner in advance.

Cost:

Charges 1 (2)

Next:  You make your meal selection from something I’d never heard of:

A blind menu.

That means you can choose meat, fish or vegan, but you have no idea what you’re ordering, or paying for in advance.

steak_01 beef tripe_01 mystery meat larger
So “meat” could mean a juicy, perfectly cooked ribeye steak, or beef tripe (a cow’s stomach lining) or whatever was left over from last night.

You won’t know until your server serves it.

Same for fish and vegan.

The DWAV website says that beverages are not included, and they mean NONE:

“There will be no complimentary water available.”

Other extras:  Gratuity, taxes, and ticketing/processing.

And, added the reviewer, “the food needs a boost” and “service…was slow.”

As for the “view” in Dining with a View, this “dazzling winter wonderland scene” happened in Toronto:

dinner with a view toronto

But in San Diego,

“It’s not quite as romantic at Liberty Station, with the domes set up on a concrete patio behind the Navy’s National Training Center building.”

Yeah, just to the left of the dumpsters.

Your reservation must be for a minimum of four guests, so throw in one round of GYO cocktails and a bottle of wine, and I figure $800+ for you and three others to dine in a dome.

And take a shivering selfie.

Dinner With a View will dissemble its domes on March 9, so you have till then to decide:

selfie_02 cropped money in pocket larger
$200 shivering selfie…………………………………….or $200 in your pocket?

Trump…

No one has ever accused Trump of being a student of history.

His numerous mistakes when speaking about historical events and the people involved are legendary.

Like this one on July 4th in 2019:

Headline (2)

Trump said,

“In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified army out of the revolutionary forces encamped around Boston and New York.  Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory.”

This prompted a Twitter storm, including this:

Tweet (2)

I’ll also point out that the battle of Fort McHenry occurred during the war of 1812, and not the American revolutionary war which took place several decades earlier.

Then there was this gaffe:

During a Black History Month breakfast, after mentioning several African American historical figures Trump said, “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.”

Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist, died in 1895.Dunce-cap-in-corner cropped

And another:

“Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War.  He was a very tough person but he had a big heart.  He was really angry that he saw with regard to the Civil War, he said, ‘There’s no reason for this.’”

Jackson died in 1845, 16 years before the Civil War began.

During his recent visit to India, Trump and Melania visited the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife.

While posing for pictures like this in front of the Taj Mahal:

trump and melania

Trump called the world-famous landmark “truly beautiful” and added this historical fact:

“They named it after my hotel in Atlantic City, you know – the Trump Taj Mahal.”

He then pulled up these images on his phone to compare:

Side by Side (2)

And said, “See?  India made their version white, just like mine, and those pointy things?  Exactly the same.  Their building looks almost as good as mine – almost.  They don’t have the neon, that would add a lot.”

Trump went on to say, “My Trump Taj Mahal is the greatest – not just casino, but greatest building ever built.  Yeah, you can talk about the pyramids and that stuff, but Trump Taj trump michael jackon croppedMahal – hey, when we opened it, I called it ‘the eighth wonder of the world,’ and everybody agreed.

People would come in and say, ‘Donald, your hotel is the eighth wonder of the world.’  Michael Jackson came, and he said, ‘Donald, your hotel is the eighth wonder of the world.’

“So I don’t mind that the nice people of India – and they’re great, these Indians are great, not like those Indian troublemakers we have at home – if the Indians here want to copy my Trump Taj Mahal and steal the name, hey, I won’t even charge them for it.”

Trump added, “I might buy it from them, though.  They tell me they get millions of visitors every year, so they’ve already got the foot traffic, I’d add some neon, restaurants, McDonald’s, badda-boom, badda-bing, you got Trump Taj Mahal Casino India.

“And I promise you, Michael Jackson will come to the opening.”

Taj altered (2)

Rant: What A Country – Making Money Off The World’s Misery

As the coronavirus continues to spread, many in the world are wringing their hands in anxiety.

At least one group, however, is rubbing its hands in glee:

Airlines.cancelled

Says one article:

“United Airlines is facing the impact of suspending its 12 daily flights to China due to steep traffic declines from the coronavirus outbreak.”

I’m sure this is true – United’s flights to China were revenue generators, and that revenue stream has dried up for now.

But instead of taking the hit as a cost of doing business – a temporary cost of doing business – United came up with this solution:

United (2)

That’s right.

United is raising its checked baggage fee by $5, to $35 for the first checked bag and $45 for the second.

I can just hear the conversation in United’s boardroom, as The Powers That Be were sitting around thinking about their next way to gouge us passengers:

Power #1:  I’m pissed off about the lost China revenue.  That virus thing – what a nuisance.  Suggestions?

Power #2:  How about a new fee?board cropped

Power #3:  Well, we’re already charging for carryon bags, checked bags, oversize bags, the bags under your eyes, snacks, drinks, priority seating, priority boarding, seat selection, ticket booking/ changes/cancellations, Wi-Fi, traveling with pets, traveling without pets, runway fees, take-off fees, landing fees, segment fees, and fee fees…

Power #2:  OK, instead of a new fee, how about we just raise a current fee?

Powers #1:  Here, here!  I like the way you think!  We’ll go with checked bags – that’s a guaranteed revenue stream.  Let’s see (shuffling papers) …Yeah, it says here in 2018, our checked baggage revenue was $888.7 million.  So how much do we raise it?

Power #3:  Um…I’m a tad concerned about raising any fees right now.  It will look like we’re sticking it to passengers because we’re losing money on the China flights.

Power #2:  And…your point is?baggage fees

(Silence…)

Power #1:  OK, then – we’re agreed.  Let’s raise it $5 per bag.  I like nice, round numbers.

Power #3:  May I ask…once the coronavirus has run its course, will we lower the checked bag fee by $5?

(Silence…)

Online articles are predicting that Delta and American will also raise their checked baggage fees.

No coincidence – Delta and American were also flying to China.

But take note – United just announced a clever way to distract us from the flap about fees:

Cookies (2)

Apparently United has something they call a “rotating selection of complimentary snacks.”  Biscoff cookies were part of that rotation, but now Biscoffs are out and Oreo Thins are in:Biscoff Oreos (2)

“Our complimentary snack options continue to be a hit and we’re always looking for opportunities to introduce new selections,” a spokesperson for the airline said.  “We plan to add Oreo Thins into the mix soon and look forward to the response from our customers.”

United didn’t have to wait long for a response:

Refinery (2)

People (2)

Independent (2)

The United spokesperson hastened to assure the disgruntled that their beloved Biscoffs would eventually resume their place in the rotation selection.

But as for lowering those raised baggage fees after airlines resume flights to China?

And missing the opportunity to make money off others’ misery?

kidding cropped larger

I Hate When I Make…

When I publish a post on this blog, and later find an error in it…

I hate that.

An error in spelling or grammar or punctuation, a typo, a “your” instead of a “you’re,” a “continuously” that should be “continually…”

(And I get that last one wrong continually, which means “something that is frequently occurring but intermittent” vs. continuously, “something that occurs without interruption.”)

I hate it even more when someone else spots an error.

woman_07 reversedI’m embarrassed and annoyed and even ashamed.

I really aim to make my posts perfect, but my aim is sometimes off.

But now I’ve decided to feel slightly less embarrassed and annoyed and ashamed.

Because I found a WHOPPER of an error in the book I’m reading.

An error so glaring, so obvious, so egregious that at first, I thought I’d misread it.

So I read it again.

And it still said the same thing.

I was flummoxed.

I won’t reveal the book’s author or title, but will say it was published in late 2019 andswimming pool cropped described as a “a compelling novel.”

The setting:  It’s 1949.  A 19-year-old woman is in a swimming pool.

The error:  She “swam to the metal ladder and with all the grace of Ethel Merman, climbed out of the pool.”

I wondered if this was a joke, or perhaps the author was being sarcastic?

But – no.

The author got it wrong.

And not just the author – the steps in book publishing from author’s hand to bookstore also involve an editor, one or more copy editors, and then the page proofs review by the author and editor and proofreader.

A whole host of people missed the whopper:

The author said, “Ethel Merman,” but meant “Esther Williams.”

Ethel Merman (1908-1984) was an American actress and singer.

Esther Williams (1921-2013) was an American actress and swimmer.

Ethel Esther cropped

Ethel singing.

Esther swimming.

Williams was famous for her “swimming” movies including Bathing Beauty (1944), Neptune’s Daughter (1949) and Million Dollar Mermaid (1952).  She made non-swimming movies as well, but what she’s most remembered for are those swimming scenes:

Esther_01

Mermen was famous for her voice, described as “big” and “brash” and “powerful.”  She earned the recognition of “undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage” and her performances included Annie Get Your Gun (1946), Call Me Madam (1950) and Gypsy (1959).  Merman also made movies, television appearances, and record albums:

ethel on stage

So:  They were both popular actresses with long careers.

But Ethel didn’t swim.

And Esther didn’t sing.

Maybe the author associated “swimming” with “Merman” because a merman is the male equivalent of a mermaid?

merman cropped

Or, maybe not.

Either way, that Ethel/Esther error is out there forever.  I suppose the eBook could be corrected, but all those hard copies?

Nope.

I, at least, can open my blog post, click “Edit,” and fix my mistake(s).

And I will do that continually.

I mean, continuously.

I think.

woman_06 reversed

Book Review:  Righting A Wrong

Publication date:  October 2019

Review, short version:  Four roses out of four.

Review, long version:

The last time I reviewed a John Grisham book – The Reckoning – I gave it three out of four Bookskunks.

I also gave three out of four skunks to the Grisham book I reviewed before that:  Camino Island.

So you’d have good reason to wonder why I keep reading John Grisham books.

Here’s the reason:

Grisham’s latest, The Guardians.

Everything’s coming up roses for this one!

Grisham chose a subject I’m hugely interested in – the exoneration of people wrongly imprisoned.

You might have read or seen the stories, like this one:

Washington Post (2)

The length of time wrongly convicted men and women spend in prisons is staggering, and it happens because somewhere, someone along the line from arrest to conviction made a mistake or lied.  Sometimes multiple people make mistakes or lie.  As Grisham puts it,

“This can be a dirty business.  We are forced to deal with witnesses who have lied, police who have fabricated evidence, experts who have misled juries, and prosecutors who have suborned perjury.”

From Grisham’s point of view, there are no mistakes, only lies.

Lies that put innocent people behind bars, many of them on death row.

handsIn The Guardians, the “we” in the above quote is first-person narrator Cullen Post, a lawyer and one of three people that comprise the Guardians, a non-profit committed to freeing the wrongly convicted, or “innocence cases.”  The plot concerns Post investigating a murder and the man, Quincy Miller, convicted for it 22 years ago – 22 years spent in prison for a crime that the Guardians believe Miller didn’t commit.

Post spends his time driving endless miles to talk to cops, snitches, and past witnesses – or trying to talk to them – and dealing with a prosecutor who, according to Post:

“Instead of pursuing the lofty goal of finding the truth and unraveling an injustice, he attacks me because I’m trying to prove him wrong and exonerate and innocent man.”

Post also spends his time meeting with clients in various prisons, his descriptions of which are unfailingly grim:

arns on bars“Prison is a nightmare for those who deserve it.  For those who don’t, it is a daily struggle to maintain some level of sanity.  For those who suddenly learn that there is proof of their innocence yet they remain locked up, the situation is literally maddening.”

And Post spends a lot of time waiting – for the justice system to work, for juries to vote, for judges to decide:

“Waiting is one of the hazards in this business.  I’ve seen a dozen courts sit on cases involving innocent men as if time doesn’t matter, and I’ve wished a hundred times that some pompous judge could be forced to spend a weekend in jail.  Just three nights, and it would do wonders for his work ethic.”

Grisham weaves a tangled web, but he wrote this book so well that the storyline and multiple characters are easy to follow.  You can’t help but cheer for Post and the Guardians team, and want them to win Quincy Miller’s freedom.

But will they?

And since I believe that Grisham did his homework on this one and knows what he’s Jail-cell-generictalking about – you can’t help but curse our justice system when it allows the innocent to pay for the guilty.

And the guilty free to offend again.

I highly recommend The Guardians.

And I strongly encourage you to get acquainted with the nonprofit organizations that are committed to doing what the Guardians do:  correct the injustice of wrongful convictions that occur in the U.S. Judicial system.

A good place to start is A-JustCause.com, which lists a number of those organizations (click the Affiliates tab on the home page).  You can read some success stories, and maybe donate some money so they can keep doing this important work.

After all, you might need their help one day, just like this innocent man did:

Last Image (2)

This Event Ends Today – But The Hate Doesn’t End

No one can doubt that hate is a growing trend in our country:

NY Times (2)

USA TOday (2)

NPR (2)

Now, even a zoo is getting in on the hate:

Zoo_01 (2)

Yes, the San Antonio zoo is celebrating Valentine’s Day by inviting you to participate in its first-ever “Cry Me a Cockroach” event.

I’ll let the zoo tell you in its own words:

Zoo_02 (2)

The live-streaming they’re referring to is just a quick scroll down the page, where for now you see their cockroach cam:

Livestream (2)

But today – Valentine’s Day – just stay tuned, and you can watch this new and sickening outlet for hate…

As your live cockroach or dead rodent, named after your ex, is devoured by San Antonio Zoo animals:

“OK, kids!  It’s time to watch that horrible, nasty cockroach we named after your daddy get killed and eaten!”

Mom