In-House Tech Support

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Is there anybody who needs to know what tech support is? Didn’t think so.

How about “in-house?” And I don’t mean the opposite of outhouse.

Keeping things simple is usually the best approach, so today I write about the in-house tech support I have right at home, in the residence I share with my Love, my best friend, my only squeeze. My Love is my tech support.

In past confessions I have included my defeats at the prospect of most any plumbing project. Victories in other DIY (do-it-yourself) areas have been many, admitedley following minor disasters now and then, but in general household projects have been completed with much satisfaction if not pride. Plumbing projects have not been on that list of successes.

Until last weekend. That was when I availed myself of in-house tech support, who suggested I soak the offending cartridge (a Price Pfister kitchen faucet uses a cartridge) in vinegar to remove any offending particles, gunk, etc., to free up the handle enough so that we no longer have to use both hands to turn the faucet on and off.

At first I trotted out my usual defense; namely, the lack of logic in the suggestion. The cartridge is self-contained. Particles, gunk, etc. can not penetrate the exterior of said part. Besides, it’s the faucet handle, not the cartridge, that sticks. Besides, I added, I’ve already tried the troubleshooting tips on the Price Pfister website, none of which include the word vinegar. And I had already applied waterproof lubricant.

And so I soaked the cartridge in vinegar, once with it closed and again with it in the open position. Thanks to tech support the faucet now works smoothly, almost effortlessly, and there are no leaks.

Yet.

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IS, ISIS, ISIL, Da’ish, Daiish, Daesh, Dahes

Just to clear things up:

IS: Islamic State of Iraq

ISIS: Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

ISIL: Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

Da’ish, Daiish, Daesh: all closely related to the Arabic word “dahes,” which has been translated as: “bigot who imposes his view on others.”

It started as IS back in October of 2006.

Most of us think of it as ISIS because that’s the term most every American journalist (print, TV, and radio) uses.

President Obama uses ISIL (the Levant an older term describing the far eastern part of what we think of as the much larger Mideast).

The French President and the U.S. Secretary of State use what we hear as simply “Dash,” which according to the translation above probably describes the group with understatement; i.e., imposing a view is an understatement when contrasted with the beheading people on the Internet.

Got it?

I sure don’t.

My thoughts about the entire area and our attempts to influence what goes on there seldom get past the basic reality that the region consists of tribal societies that have existed for centuries, killed each other for centuries, killed others that don’t agree with them or have something they want, killed each other for not believing what they believe (spiritually), killed others that don’t believe what they believe (spiritually), blame their problems on others (countries, societies, races, religions, etc.), often and tediously and publicly call for the elimination of others (countries, societies, races, religions, etc.), teach their children how to hate those who do not believe what they believe, and so on.

Who can blame the hundreds of thousands who are trying to get somplace else to live?

Warning: the following is satire: do not proceed if you will at any time accuse me of having seriously proposed any of the following:

If I had the proverbial magic wand I would:

      1. Help the refugees relocate to other Mideast countries where the culture, language, and average temperature will not be like Minnesota.

      2. Shut down most Mideast oil wells to eliminate the greed factor.

      3. Convene the leaders and order them to agree on separate locations where all the warring factions can have their own land, government, mosques, whatever, along with the promise that they will restrain from ever again trying to convince anybody else that their way is the only way. This of course will require redrawing the map, but why on earth would I stop this crazy set of suggestions before the new countries are set up and on the map? Let’s see: Sunnis there, Shia there, Wahhabis over there, expand Israel, expand Lebanon…..no problem.

      4. Eliminate, with prejudice, all “bigots who would impose their views on others.”

Give me a week or two to come up with the specifics……

Latest Health Care Adventure

I have written, actually vented, about our health care system previously, but this one may win the grand prize for just plain silly.

Somehow I injured my right ankle ten days ago. Three trips to medical provider offices later, I am still having a new experience with this sort of problem. Years ago I had casts on both ankles for ligament damage which happened on the basketball court. Not all at once, of course, but various twists and sprains during the several dozen years I imprsonated an athlete.

This time is different. Not only do I not know for certain how I injured the ankle, but the pain this time is like an unwanted guest who comes and goes at will. One day I can hardly walk, the next day the ankle is stiff but I can walk without even a hint of a limp.

On to the cure.

First, a visit to urgent care, which produced no certain diagnosis, a prescription for prednisone, and a blood test which came back negative for gout.

Next, a visit to my primary care provider, who was not available so I saw a different primary care provider. She diagnosed a sprain and recommended rest, support (Ace bandage), and hot and cold treatments; whatever was more comfortable for me. And if that didn’t clear up the pain, see an orthopedic specialist (one floor up). That regimen helped a little, but this morning Mr. Pain dropped back in for a visit.

At around 10:00 a.m. I called for a referral to the orthopedic office. About five hours later I got the call to come and pick up the paperwork and proceed to the orthopedic office. There I was told my insurance (HUMANA Gold HMO) requires a 24-hour waiting period.

As I left the building, having seen no one except the receptionist at the orthopedic office, the person who made the referral called to tell me the waiting period was 72 hours.

I am left to pray that Mr. Pain will stay away for the weekend and I’ll actually get to see an orthopedic specialist Monday morning.

Thus ends this particular vent.

But wait, if you have a way to do so, I recommend reading an article in the November 13, 2015 Raleigh News and Observer: “The agonies of our health care nonsystem,” by Burgetta Eplin Wheeler. A few quotes:

“The United States is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t have universal health care.”

“One way or another, we’re all paying. The bottom line is that we are choosing to be a country that perversely prefers to spend $1 million on medical bills for the dying rather than $1,000 on a colonoscopy for the living.”

Observe and Learn, Part 1 (Perhaps)

Things are piling up around here. Time to decide what to do about health insurance. Can’t possibly watch all the catchy new TV programs, not to mention football 5 days (and 4 nights) every week. And the World Series. And the NBA season has started. And the few surprises encountered on a recent short trip to hometown Chicago.

Here goes:

    • Did you know that if you rent a car from a Southwest Airlines partner for the additonal Rewards points you pay the rental car company extra for those points? Seems more like penalty points to me….
    • The HUMANA Medicare Advantage booklet contains 167 pages and lists roughly 920 medications. And if you happen to need a translator, you can get one in 16 languages. Plus English. I need an English one. Preferable one who will not only read to me but explain everything he or she is reading.
    • At Midway Airport in Chicago you can get pancakes and sausage and a cup of tea for just over $5, but be sure to bring along some sort of lap table so you can eat without having to sit in a highchair facing the rushing mobs of passengers who give you “tsk, tsk” looks for eating something from McDonald’s. And by the way, those highchairs have no footrests, so be careful when you leave your perch because your legs will have fallen asleep from having dangled in the air while you ate.
    • The “Medicare & You 2016” official U.S. government handbook provides you with another 163 pages to read. I no longer wonder why it’s called the health care “industry.” Printing costs alone must account for a healthy chunk of the budget. The manuals for the IBM computers I worked with back in the 60’s had fewer pages.
    • Airliner seats have not been made more comfortable.
    • Chicago traffic is more awful than it was just a few years ago, but not quite, yet, as bad as Singapore traffic. Or any large city in China.

Moving on……..