Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fine Print

This is something that has been bothering me for some time...

In my neck of the woods it is the practice of a few gas stations to charge a reasonable price for gas provided you are paying in cash.  If you are using your debit or credit card?  Well, as you can see, there is a dramatic price increase, in this case an increase of $.80 per gallon. 

What's the problem?  On the surface, nothing.  The owner of the gas station can and should be able to set any price that he or she deems fit.  It is the responsibility of the consumer to decide whether or not said price is fair and appropriate.  You know, supply and demand.  Barter 101.  

Gas stations, by necessity, advertise the price of their gas with the use of large signs and billboards that are easily discernible from the road.  What the signs at the gas stations with disparate differences between cash and credit/debit prices don't tell the consumer is the price for a debit/credit purchase.  What is displayed is solely the cash price and the word "cash" somewhere on the same sign.  The word "cash" is generally displayed with letters significantly smaller than the numbers used to display the cash price of the gas.  Essentially, it's the fine print.  Nowhere on the large signs is the debit/credit price mentioned.  Furthermore the cash price for gas at these stations, as with the station from which the above picture was taken, is generally below the average price for a gallon of gas at stations in the area.

So what is going on here?  Well, I'm going to assume that the owners of these gas stations know a few things about the average consumer.  First, I assume that they know that the first thing that will stick out to the average consumer is the displayed price and its lower price relative to other stations.  Second, I assume that they know that a large percentage of consumers use debit and credit cards for a large percentage of purchases.  From the Huffington Post...

 Last year 27 percent of all point-of-sale purchases were made with cash and that number is expected to drop to 23 percent by 2017, according to a report published Wednesday by Javelin Strategy & Research, a market research firm.
Third, I assume that they know that of the 70+% of average consumers, a large portion will either be unaware of the price difference or be too busy/low on gas to find another station. And some consumers just might not even care.

Going back to my opening statement; this has been bothering me for some time.  Why?  It's perfectly legal.  The price displayed on the large sign is advertised as a cash price.  The problem is that somewhere in this process, in this "communication" between the seller and the consumer, there is an attempt by the seller to deceive the consumer, something akin to a "bait and switch" that is specifically designed to lure the consumer in to under somewhat false pretenses.  The customer, now having been drawn in is having his or her situation and purchasing habits being taken advantage of when now confronted with the hefty non-cash price.

And that's capatalism, isn't it?  Taking advantage of a situation for profit.  But what about honesty and fair dealing between members of a community.  What does it say that one neighbor is willing to go to such lengths to deceive and take advantage of another?

Of course, I'm being naive and maybe idealistic.  What I'm railing against isn't shifty practices at gas stations.  What I'm railing against is human nature.  Heck, I'm railing against the very concept theory of evolution.  Obviously we haven't evolved past it.



Friday, July 6, 2012

Things That Bother Me for No Reason II

When someone says "I thought to myself..."

Is it possible to think to someone else?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Things That Bother Me for No Reason

When someone says the following; "I witnessed firsthand..."

Can you witness something secondhand?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Healthcare" or "You Asked For It"

Just some random thoughts on the state of healthcare in our country in light of today's SCOTUS decision on BlackManCare.  I mean Obamascare.  I mean Obamacares.  I mean ObamaCARE.  sorry.

The better half's cousins were up from Virginia this past weekend for graduation parties and general tomfoolery.  The better half's cousin is married to a nice southern gentleman and they have two young children.  This gentleman is a teacher in a public school.  He also coaches various sports teams for said public school.  At one point during the weekend we got around to talking about the fiscal crisis this public school is in and the tenuous state of the school budget.  It was around this time that the gentleman informed us what he pays for health insurance per month.  For himself, his wife and two children he pays THIRTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS per month.  That's a one, a three and two zeros.  That's 1.3 large.  That's over 15k per year.  Folks, that's a mortgage payment.  The school contributes about $400 per month.  I'm sure this has nothing to do with the fact that VA has banned the collective bargaining rights of teachers.  Today, Representative Jeb Hensarling (R. Texas) said, in response to the Supreme Court ruling on "Obamacare" - "This is not a good day for struggling American families who wish to keep the healthcare that they have." Cue: Irony.

On a side note, non-unionized Virginia ranks real low in standardized testing.  But I digress...

So which is worse:  That insurance companies and those who represent them politically attempt to disguise their desire to take your money and deny you coverage under the veil of "personal choice," or that there are people that actually fall for it?

Actually, it goes beyond that.  If you ask me, insurance companies and deductables and co-pays and ou-of-network costs and generic drugs and pre-authorizations etc. are only symptoms.  The real problem is the way we provide healthcare in this country. Let me tell a little story...

I suffer from sleep apnea.  Actually, my better-half suffers from my sleep apnea, but that's  for another time.  Anywho, I went for a sleep study that confirmed what my better-half had been saying for a year; I snore something awful and actually stop breathing upwards of forty times an hour.  Subsequently, I was told that I needed a machine to help me breath at night which, of course, required a prescription.  So it was off to the pulmonalogist.   I got my machine, and my better-half and I both have been sleeping like babies ever since, sans bedwetting.  This was two years ago.  Last year, I was admitted to the hospital for an infection that required  IV antibiotics and a three day admission.  On day two of the aforementioned admission, a young lady entered my room with an empty stretcher and informed me that she was to take me down to radiology for a chest x-ray.  I got to thinking...this infection had nothing at all to do with my respiratory system.  Not even a little.  Why would I need a chest x-ray?  I'm a non-smoker, no asthma, not even a slight cough.  What gives?  Turns out, the pulmonalogist who I had seen for my sleepy machine was affiliated with the hospital in which I was admitted.  As such, she was alerted to my admission.  Without stepping into my hospital room she wrote in my chart, in big letters, CXRAY.  That would explain the young lady standing before me with the empty stretcher.  "No!" my inner voice cried, feuled by my fairly extensive medical background and limited common sense.  The voice continued, "a chest x-ray is in no way indicated in your case.  You're breathing like a champ.  And the Dr. didn't even come into your room, much less listen to your lungs!  There's no way you're getting on that stretcher."  Which is exactly what I did.  Doctor's orders.  Three weeks later I recieved the itemized bill for my hospital visit.  And there it was.  Nestled in between the anesthesiologist bill and three days of indesputably crappy TV service.  CXRAY - $800.  Shit...

So who is to blame in all of this?  Must be the lawyers. Why else do Drs. order frivolous and often redundant medical tests?  To avoid lawsuits of course.  Imagine I had developed a lump in my lungs prior to my admission that was in no way clinically diagnosable and could only be detected by an x-ray.  Without any symptoms, I would never had sought out an x-ray.  In the hospital, there would be zero clinical indication for an x-ray, so it wasn't ordered.  BUT, six months down the road, here I am, all gaunt and lawyered up, demanding to know why the hospital didn't do an x-ray 6 months earlier and catch my progressive cancer.  And THAT is why the pulmonalogist order my CXRAY.  It wasn't for me.  She was only covering her...

Monday, June 25, 2012

It Never Gets Old. Or Less Frightening.

From Yahoo...

It sounds like a hoax, but it's apparently true: The Loch Ness Monster is on the science class syllabus for kids at Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, Louisiana.

Wait, what?

As reported by the Herald Scotland (which must track all Loch Ness-related news), a school that will receive tax-payer dollars, will teach kids that the mythological sea creature is real in order to debunk the theory of evolution. So pay attention: That will be on the test.

Way to pick and choose your hoaxes.  See:  Bigfoot.  Of course the existence of Bigfoot would go a long way in supporting Darwin. 

Eternity Christian Academy uses the fundamentalist A.C.E. Curriculum to teach students "to see life from God's point of view."

According to the Herald, one textbook, Biology 1099, reads, "Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the 'Loch Ness Monster' in Scotland? 'Nessie' for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur."


Starting in the fall, thousands of schoolchildren will receive publicly funded vouchers to attend private schools, some of which are religious. Religious schools in Louisiana will receive public funding as part of a push from Louisiana's governor, Bobby Jindal, to move millions of tax dollars to cover tuition for private schools, including small bible-based church schools. Money will fund schools that have "bible-based math books" and biology texts that refute evolution.

Bible-based math book sample question.  Q:  If Judas left Jerusalem walking at 2 cubits per hour, how many hours would it take him to reach Nazareth?  A: Arithmetic will not save you from eternal damnation. 

At Eternity Christian Academy, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier says that the her first through eighth-grade students learn at their own pace from Christian workbooks. The beginning science text explains "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. Evolution is not taught.
Carrier said, "We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children." She hopes to secure enrollment of 135 voucher students for the 2012-2013 school year. According to the website Salon, the school currently has just 38 students.

Evidence-based arguments can be very confusing.

Whether this gambit will help move Louisiana from the bottom of math and science rankings in the country is unclear. A 2011 study of how well primary education prepares students for engineering careers had Louisiana third from the bottom, with only West Virginia and Mississippi performing worse.

Well, waddya know.  Lousiana students rank at the bottom of math and science?  Can't imagine why.  It might be because they not only discourage the concept of evolution/science, they ignore it completely.  Go forth, young people, Bible in hand, to spread the word and smite the wicked/non-Christians.  That is, in between your shifts at Wal-Mart.  Unfortunately, there aren't an abundance of many Bible-based questions on the SAT.  For now...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nothing to Write About

So I decided to see what would happen if, with absolutely nothing to write about, I tried writing anyway. It's been difficult to get into politics in general and the Republican nominee nonsense outside of watching the occasional Daily Show or Colbert Report. Maybe it's the absurdity of it all. Maybe it's these men (and the occasional whacky Tea Party woman) up on high trying to hitch their carts to the star of whatever their advisors tell them is the public hot-button issue of the time. Or moment, actually. Maybe it's Newt Gingrich trying to pull himself off as anti-establishment. Maybe it's Rick Perry and his complete lack of intelligence. Maybe it's Mitt Romney and his thousand yard stare and utter disdain for those less fortunate. It's a circus act.

Getting back to Newt...Hey, listen, They're all phony. From as far left as Brother Sharpton to as far right as Sister Palin - its a bunch of malarkey, a cult of personality whos shallowness is only outdone by the hubris in which these talking heads speak to us in bullet points. Anyway, Newt. So now Mr. insider-lobbyist/consultant-beltway-slut would have us believe that he is now a man of the people, a Washington outsider who could rule unfettered by the constraints of years of complete saturation in Washington politics, both as a politician and a consultant. Yes, Mr. Smith is come, ready to shake the foundations of the establishment and reclaim the country for white Christians everywhere. So, what's worse? The fact that he has the gall to put on this facade, or that anyone actually votes for him?

Well that's where we are now. It's not so much who to vote for but who NOT to vote for. Anybody but Obama. Even of it means a snake like Gingrich. Fantastic.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Daddy is back. While watching the evening news, I was able to get a screen cap of this OWS protester as she slipped one past the goalie...

I cannot begin to impart upon the reader the in-studio anchor's absolute shock, panic and inabilty to improv during this live broadcast. Happy Joy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Facebook is Evil

One need not delve to deep in to the internet to find examples of people screwing themselves by posting one thing or another on facebook. This one stood out this morning. From AP...

A New Jersey administrative law judge has ruled that a first-grade teacher
who wrote that she was a "warden for future criminals" on Facebook earlier this
year should lose her tenured job.
The state education commissioner now has
45 days to accept, reject or modify the decision regarding Jennifer O'Brien.
The Paterson teacher posted her remark to 333 friends on March 28. But it
was forwarded and several parents saw it.
O'Brien's lawyer, Nancy Oxfeld,
tells The Record newspaper ( that her client will appeal
the ruling, which was made public Tuesday. O'Brien had testified that she wrote
the post in exasperation because several students kept disrupting her lessons
and one boy had recently hit her.
But the judge called O'Brien's conduct

Friday, July 1, 2011

Body Double 4

I totally can't take credit for this one, but wanted to share it anyway...

Sunday, June 19, 2011


There are many pros and cons to living on the east coast. The greatest pro is living 5 minutes from the ocean. It as a pro that the better half and I take advantage of as often as possible. Take, for example, yesterday - breakfast on the beach...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Body Double III

This is fun! Next up...

Calista Flockheart (Pictured Here with Hubby, Han Solo)


Jack Nicholson as the Joker

Sorry folks, I calls 'em as I sees 'em.