If I ran the world, things would be different.  For starters, no one would be able to use a robo call to interrupt my day.  Is it possible that there are people who are actually so stupid that they listen to a recorded voice and then do what it says?

The only exception to my rule is doctors’ offices.  I don’t mind a recording reminding me that I have an appointment and telling me when it is.

Second, no politician would be allowed to run an ad that is untrue.  Every statement made in an ad against another person would have to show real proof that it is true, such as a film clip of Candidate A expressing his support of something that he now claims not to support.  The same rule would apply to all the political action groups that fund ads.

News outlets would be penalized for reporting a politician making a blatantly untrue statement.  This just spreads the lie around.

We learned from the Nazis 60 years ago that the bigger the lie and the more often it is repeated, the more likely people are to believe it.  What we should have learned in addition was to fight against that happening again and yet we let it go on in the media unchecked.  It frightens me how many people get all their news from sources that have a political agenda and make no effort whatsoever to be fair and impartial.  They pander to the prejudices and fears of their listeners and, if the truth is not scary enough, they make up lies and scream even louder.

Here’s a tip.  If you are listening to someone who cannot talk about his opponents without calling them names, you are being lied to.

Third, religion would be removed from the political equation.  This country was founded on the principle that we could all observe without harassment.  That means that Baptists, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims and Born Again Christians all have EQUAL rights to be what they are.  There should be no litmus test on who believes better or goes to church more often.  How about a test for who tells the truth and lives by the Golden Rule?  I could live with that one.

We are amazingly lucky in the US to have the freedom to choose our elected officials, but we ought to do a better job figuring out who really stands for what.  We ought to stop reaching for the shiniest promise and look at what the person and his ( or her) party has done in the last 5-10 years.  Turn off the noise of partisan radio and TV shows and try to find some less biased sources.  At the very least, check several of the Fact Checkers sites which will tell you if someone has said something that is a lie.

Whoever you support, I hope you will vote on Tuesday.  It is a right and a privilege.  I’ll be climbing down off my soapbox and getting to the polls. 


Something for nothing

I am talking about all the credit cards that offer cash back incentives.  You might have one or two in your wallet.  Ever wonder why they are so nice to you and where the money comes from?

Discover was first and they started it more than 20 years ago.  It sounded like a good deal until I “discovered” that merchants paid more for accepting a Discover card than for MasterCard and Visa.

I can testify that merchant rates have accelerated as the rewards system has grown.  People who charge more are paying to get that money back which would be fine, except it doesn’t stop there.

To keep their own bottom line healthy, retail merchants have to adjust their prices when the cost of business goes up.  We all could see it happening when gas prices started to rise precipitously.  I don’t know what things are like where you live, but I have not noticed those increases going away even though gas has come back down.

I can understand the thinking.  First, they have no guarantee it won’t happen again.  Gas prices bounce up and down regularly.  Second, we kept right on buying things like food – what choice did we have?  So, why not keep the extra cash now that transportation costs have decreased again?

The credit card scam is small enough that merchants could swallow the loss for awhile and then raise everything by 5%.  Got that?  Everything you buy, whether you choose to pay for it with a credit card or not, costs you more so credit card companies can entice more customers.

Does that make sense to you?

‘You guys’ is where it’s at–NOT

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that drive you completely bats.  We went out to dinner last night and the waitress, young enough to be my grandchild if I had one, said, “Hi, how are you guys tonight?  Would you guys like a drink?“ followed on her next visit by “You guys know what you want to order?”

And that was when I smiled nicely (although my husband says that is my shark smile) and asked her not to call me a guy.  She looked blank.  I pointed out that you didn’t need the word guys in any of those sentences.  The simple word YOU would  work.  She struggled with the concept of you as a plural pronoun, even though she admitted she had taken Spanish, where it clearly exists as a plural pronoun.

“Oh,” she said, “I just don’t know what to say to people after all this feminism stuff.”

It is a tribute to my self control that I didn’t point out that the struggles of feminism made it possible for her to choose to do whatever she wanted.

When I mentioned it to my husband again this morning, he professed that he didn’t understand why it bothered me.  I asked how he would feel if every server addressed us as ‘you ladies.’  He admitted that wouldn’t be acceptable.  A small victory.  At least he may be getting it.

Another verbal atrocity is AT, randomly stuck on the end of sentences.  Where were you at?  Seriously?  Why is AT there?  Where were you – period. Yes, yes, I know language evolves, but it is supposed to be better, not sloppier.  We are not supposed to be adjusting the language to the lowest common denominator.  Are we?

It’s not that I don’t like new words. I do.  In my lifetime, we added humongous, a catchy combination of huge and tremendous.  It grew out of college campuses in the Sixties.  I hear that word and think of that time and all the other words that didn’t get accepted into the mainstream, like cool and groovy.  They just sound dated now, as the upside-down meaning of bad will no doubt sound 10 years from now.

Google as a verb is so economical and instantly understandable I think it will stick around.  Even for people who use another search engine, like Bing, google is still the term for the act of searching the internet.  Other brand names, like Kleenex for tissue and Jell-O for gelatin, are used the same way, universally understood even when the actual product is another brand.

You guys is the New York version of you all.  To be totally accurate, it probably ought to be youse guys but I swear, if a server comes to my table and calls me that, I will spontaneously combust.

Things I don’t understand

The world is full of things I do not understand.  I will never know what makes electricity work, why some atoms make explosions and what made the first person decide to boil a lobster to see if it was edible.  Here are some smaller things I wonder about and I have as little chance of understanding them as the big ones.

I don’t understand why women claim to be independent and liberated and yet each generation lets itself get talked into fashions that are not only unflattering but can be downright dangerous.  Remember platform shoes in the 70s?  Part of my brain said they were safer than high heels, but people broke their ankles falling off them.

Today’s women are wearing platform high heels, combining the unstable front with a stiletto back and shoving five toes into a space barely big enough for three.  I don’t understand how they can stick their bare feet into those shoes, either.  When did women stop wearing stockings?

I don’t understand why people are so thrilled to have cathedral ceilings in their houses.  I had one in my first house.  It was impossible to reach the corners where the cobwebs collected.  I certainly couldn’t have climbed a ladder to paint a wall that far off the floor.  Forget about reaching the ceiling.  They used to say that the cheapest way to change the look of a room was a can of paint, but that isn’t true if you have to hire someone to do the work.  Come to think of it, have you looked at the price of a can of paint?

I don’t understand how someone can look at a closet outfitted with lots of little cubbyholes and only 2 feet of rod space and get all excited.  I have a ton of clothes on hangers.  What would I do with them in that closet?  Why would I want to start folding my clothes instead?  It takes longer and leaves fold marks on the clothes. Maybe I am supposed to throw out all of last season’s clothes and buy just a few good pieces each year.  Yeah, that’s going to happen.

Some years, my style isn’t available anywhere, so I have learned to keep my clothes and hope they will still fit next year. (If they get a little small while hanging in the closet, I keep them a while longer, just in case. You never know.)  Yes, I said my style.  I know what looks good on me and what I am comfortable wearing.

I don’t understand tattoos.  Putting aside the horrifying thought of sitting still while someone repeatedly sticks me with a needle, why would I want something on my body that I cannot change?  Do I still wear the clothes I loved at 20? (That would be bell bottoms and miniskirts in very bright prints.)  If I still had those clothes, would they fit and be bright and pretty or would they have stretched and faded over time?  I have seen old tattoos on old bodies and believe me, it isn’t art anymore.

I do not understand who decided that a man with a two day old beard was sexy and attractive.  They look scruffy and unkempt to me and the older ones, not naming any names, look like aging bums.  I know for a fact that kissing one makes me feel like a pincushion.

The population is getting older and yet publishers keep making the type smaller so they can get more words on the page.  They also got rid of the extra space between sentences.  What with iPods and Kindles making print books all but obsolete, it seems that old cranks like me should be their target audience, but they are shutting us out with their tiny unreadable type.   Here’s a flash, guys.  I can make the type as big as I want on my Kindle.

Here are some things I do know.  If I like a product, they will change it or discontinue it. How they figure out exactly what I like I still don’t know, but their accuracy is unerring.

If you like something, like a pair of scissors or a hairbrush, don’t wait for it to wear out before buying another one.  By that time, you won’t be able to replace it.

If you buy a pill that comes in an easy-to-open bottle, never, ever throw that bottle away!  They will stop packaging it that way and you will be back to trying to figure out how to break into the bottle when your head hurts.

If you buy something and you aren’t happy, use the 800 number on the package and have a nice chat with the manufacturer.  You will be astounded at the free stuff they will send you as a thank you for giving them feedback on their product.

Want to rant about something?  Misery loves company and complaining together usually makes me laugh.