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An unorganized collection of wry humor, short comments on politics, jabs at commercials, predictions, et cetera. This page is always being , with new entries at the beginning. There is no table of contents.
Not everything here is original with me. Those items that are marked with © are original, and I own the copyright. Those items that indicate contributed by might not be original creations of the contributors.
A hot item on the Internet is the Metaverse. This is a virtual (not real) world where people can own real estate and even build houses. The problem with all this is that the costs of land and construction are being paid in real dollars, not virtual money. In many cases, this involves borrowed real money. If electrical power goes down at the Metaverse's servers, the Metaverse disappears. Power might be restored, and the Metaverse might then reappear if the servers were not damaged. However, debts for buying into the Metaverse remain; and borrowers must continue to make payments on those debts even if the Metaverse evaporates.
Have you ever heard of the "bigger fool" concept? It involves someone (a fool) buying into a not-so-great investment, hoping to sell it at a profit to a bigger fool. To me, this is what investing in the Metaverse, various crypto-coins, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) represent.
I get phone calls — robocalls — claiming to be from Amazon, Apple, and others. Those calls assert that a large purchase has been made against my account. I am told to press 1 on my phone to cancel the purchase or else press 2 to confirm the purchase. I always press 2. I have no such accounts.
That was the headline for a Yahoo news commentary on 20 March 2022. It is very WRONG!
I have a strange habit arising from before I retired. In my work for military contractors, I required very high government security clearances. In order not to risk my career by doing something illegal, I always filed an honest income tax return. I still do that now that I have been retired for over 19 years.
My honest tax return for 2021 included some significant miscellaneous income for which I received NO Forms 1099. That is, the IRS does NOT know all my income.
Furthermore, if I had sufficient deductions to itemize, the IRS would not know how much I paid doctors, how many miles I drove to see them, or how much I paid for my Medicare supplement insurance. Neither would the IRS know how much I donated to charities or how many miles I drove to support those charities. And the IRS would not know how much sales and property taxes I paid.
No, the IRS does not already have all my income tax data.
When I shop for food at a super market or a small grocery, I am puzzled by the way fresh fruits are labeled. Apples and pears are clearly labeled by variety. I see apples that are Granny Smith, Macintosh, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, and others. Pears are being sold as Bartlett, Comice, d'Anjou, Bosc, Forelle, et cetera.
Why, however, are grapes, oranges, and other fruits labeled generically? I see "red" and "green" grapes but not Flame, Perlette, Thompson Seedless, Black Monukka, or Muscat. Yes, I do see Valencia and Cara-Cara oranges; but I also see generic navel oranges without knowing if they are Washington navels or Robertson navels. Why is this?
I collect music videos on my PC. No, not the type shown on MTV. I collect videos of symphony orchestras performing (of course) symphonies, concertos, operatic choruses, and similar serious music.
I enjoy watching the orchestras perform, especially how the musicians nod and bob, weave and sway. Their motions indicate that they really enjoy the music they are playing. They are "into" their performances.
Yes, I admit that I also have some popular music and also folk music. However, the number of files of serious music — Beethoven, Brahms, Berlioz, Chopin, Rodrigo, Boccherini, and others — far exceeds the combined number of files of popular and folk music. Of course, given the lengths of symphonies and concertos, the number of bytes of serious music is orders of magnitude greater than for popular and folk music.
[Yes, it has been a long time since I updated this. I had nothing important to say here until now.]
Duracell batteries are prohibited in my house. They leak. They have severely damaged several electronic devices of mine, including an expensive Seiko clock that required professional repair.
In my experience, Energizer and Eveready batteries do not have this problem.
Of course, I never buy a store's house-brand battery since I have no way to know if Duracell made it.
(It has been a long time — more than three years — since I posted here, but I could not let this one go by without a comment.)
Some religious missionary left a package on my front porch while my wife and I were still asleep. The package contained a letter, a booklet, and a DVD. All of those materials advocated that I convert to "Jews for Jesus", which is actually a front for Christianizing Jews.
The envelope, book, and letter went into the trash. In the new year (2018), the DVD will join other discs in hanging from my fruit trees to scare the birds away from ripening fruit. The DVD box — with the paper cover removed — will be quite useful for holding CDs and DVDs that are currently in paper envelopes.
Missionaries who try to convert me to their own religion are actually rude. Their efforts imply a superiority of one religion over another, which is a concept rejected by Judaism. They insult my faith and the faith of my ancestors. At a minimum, they are annoying when they ignore the mezuzah on the front doorpost of my house, an indication of my strong commitment to Judaism.
In particular, "Jews for Jesus" is an oxymoron.
During warm nights from late spring until late autumn, we are serenaded by packs of coyotes in hills of the nearby Oak Park Open Space. Occasionally, we see them in the daytime, wandering down a street or loping through a park. Coyotes are recognized here as an important part of our environment because they — along with owls, hawks, snakes, and eagles — keep rabbits, mice, rats, and squirrels under control.
Recently, the City Council in Seal Beach — about 60 miles away with a population of about 25,000 versus Oak Park's 14,000 — voted to trap and exterminate coyotes, which have been preying on residents' small pets. One woman claimed that a coyote followed her into her home and ran off with her small dog in its mouth. The City Council did not address how they will deal with any invasion of rodents and other vermin.
A better solution would be for residents to keep their small pets inside and to watch for unwanted visitors when entering their homes.
More than once in the past, my computer mouse failed. They do indeed wear out.
I remember replacing one very early in 2006. It lasted almost seven years. I replaced it in December 2012 with a mouse from Dell. Not wanting to deal with batteries, the new Dell item was a wired mouse (as were all its predecessors).
The mouse from Dell lasted only 20 months — less than two years — before it began to fail. Unlike previously, it did not totally die. Instead, clicking the right button would often give results as if I had clicked the left button or even both buttons. This was an intermittent problem, becoming more and more frequent.
I just hope my new wired mouse from Logitech lasts longer than the mouse from Dell.
Has anyone really tried to deal with Yahoo? How successful were you?
I use Yahoo's financial services to track market indices and my mutual funds. Lately, when I login, I often get a request for my mobile phone number. I do not own a mobile phone, and I do not plan to get one. Yahoo gives me the two options:
There is NO option to say "Forget this; I do not have a mobile phone."
After about an hour of navigating through Yahoo's Web site — mostly in circles — I finally found a web page where I could request Yahoo to stop reminding me to do something I will never do. Here is the exchange of messages:
Yahoo (failing to quote the message I input on their Web page):
Thank you for contacting Yahoo.
To further improve the security of Yahoo accounts, we've been prompting our users to add an optional mobile phone number and/or alternate email address to their Yahoo account. By providing this info, you'll be alerted of any changes made to your account immediately via your mobile phone and/or alternate email address, and you'll have a quick way to recover your password should you need to in the future.
If you do not have a mobile phone number or an alternate email address or would rather not provide that information, or if your country is not currently supported, click Remind Me Later rather than closing your browser window.
Please let us know if you have any other questions about your account, David.
Yahoo Customer Care
You repeatedly remind me to give you my mobile phone number at least once a week. I do not have a mobile phone, and I definitely do not intend to get one. PLEASE STOP REMINDING ME. Provide an option to just say "No" to the reminder.
Yahoo (obviously from a script, and then quoting my prior reply):
Thanks for spending the time to reach out to us today! We do our best to help you out.
We think it's a good idea to update your password at least once a year to protect your account information.
Here's how to change it:
1. Go to your Yahoo Account Info page.
2. Enter your Yahoo ID and password.
3. Click Sign In.
4. Under "Sign-In and Security," click Change your password.
5. Type your new password in the "New password" field, then type it again in the "Confirm new password" field.
6. Click Continue.
7. You'll get a message confirming that you successfully changed your password.
8. Click Continue.
Yahoo requesting your mobile number: http://help.yahoo.com/kb/index?page=content&id=SLN14535&locale=en_US&i=FnBmP7msOm72x/vJ1k6+fg==
If you need any further assistance, don't hesitate to ask!
Yahoo Customer Care
How is the reply from Rachel responsive to my request below her reply?
Thanks for getting back to us.
As we have informed you in the previous mail, If you do not have a mobile phone number or an alternate email address or would rather not provide that information, or if your country is not currently supported, click Remind Me Later rather than closing your browser window.
We're looking forward to your reply, David.
Yahoo Customer Care
I have absolutely no intention of getting a mobile phone. Why would I want to be reminded later? Why can I not just stop the reminders?
Yahoo (finally, an honest but unsatisfying answer):
Thanks for your feedback.
Although the feature you are requesting is currently not available, we appreciate that you took the time to tell us about what you'd like to see in the future. Our Product Team uses comments and feedback such as yours to improve our products and services and to develop new features for future releases.
Please let us know if you need further assistance with this or any other issue, David.
Yahoo Customer Care
I think Rosie's answer really means "Forget it; it will never happen." Why could not Ryan, Rachel, and Candy give me such an answer earlier?
News reports of drive-by shootings, often refer to "innocent victims". Are there such things as "guilty victims"? If so, in which court of law were they declared "guilty"? And of what crime?
Did you know that, every time you have your car serviced or repaired, a report is sent to CarFax? This happens whether you go to a franchised automobile dealer or to an independent service garage or body shop.
There are several problems with this practice:
How did I discover this? My automobile insurance company gives me a discount if I (1) report my current odometer reading prior to renewal and (2) my mileage remains low.
In advance of my latest insurance policy renewal, I received an E-mail message asking me to use the insurance company's Web site to report my mileage. When I reported 25,065 miles, the entry was rejected with a message indicating I could not report an odometer reading less than the prior reading. On the Web site, there was a link to view the mileage history for my car. The immediately prior entry was for 241,080 miles, reported by CarFax on the date of the last routine servicing of my car. I checked the invoice for that servicing; it indicated 24,108 miles. A zero had been added to the end of the mileage, either by the dealer's service department or by CarFax! Working with both the service manager at the dealer and the local agent for the automobile insurance company, it took several phone calls over a month to obtain a correction.
A report on what data CarFax has about your own car can cost you over $30 if you go through their <http://www.carfax.com/> Web page. However, there is an alternative Web site called MyCARFAX, where you can register and view your car's history for free. To correct an error in the history, you must select the link for "Help" and then scroll to the bottom of the page.
Note that the problems here are not primarily the fault of CarFax. The fault lies with the dealers, garages, and body shops that fail to disclose that they are sending data to CarFax and that they might make mistakes in what data they send. CarFax, however, is at fault for earning a profit from data about something you and I own, data we should have the right to control.
Each item with the © symbol is copyrighted by David Ross in the year indicated.
Each copyright applies to the item between full ruled lines.
For details about the rights I reserve, see my copyright page.