Monday, November 26, 2018

Some Bones To Pick With You

In much the same way that we believe "there's still some good meat on those bones" as our leftovers dwindle to a precious few, so too do we feel like we can coax at least one more semi-vacation day out of Thanksgiving even though it's getting pretty distant in the rearview mirror.

So today will be another collection of semi-random topics and thoughts, which we'll blame on the lingering effects of our recent tryptophan overdose.

For starters, we'll report that we had a genuinely lovely Thanksgiving dinner with family. As is tradition, the younger members of the party shared the exciting new things happening in their lives, then tried to suppress their expressions of horror as we older folks regaled the table with our latest rounds of doctor visits, surgeries, and odd medical quirks which may or may not do us in before next Thanksgiving.

We're pretty sure the original pilgrims didn't do this while eating turkey, but only because living to "old age" way back then meant hitting 35 or so. Granted, dropping dead at that age isn't great, but at least their Puritan corpses still had cartilage on their knee and hip joints.

We were, however, delighted to meet a new family member at this occasion- a beautiful month-old girl born to our niece here in Texas. And speaking of babies (clever segue, huh?) this is as good a place as any to also welcome the three-week-old boy recently born to our nephew and his wife in Alaska, and an additional baby girl born to another nephew and wife in Indiana. Seeing all these new lives, in person and via Internet, reminds us yet again of the importance of trying to get the world into some kind of reasonable shape since that's where the kids are going to have to eventually live.

On a different topic, we cleverly side-stepped the brutal crush of Black Friday shopping by buying a new big screen 4K television on the previous Dusky Wednesday, when the deals weren't quite as good but you had a better chance of not ending up on the local news. Later today, we'll be adding numerous electronic umbilicals to the new TV while enjoying Tourette's-style expressions of enthusiasm.

We are, of course, very excited about being able to experience the full unbridled glory of having a television which offers widescreen 4K resolution and "billions of colors" as we watch our fuzzy old black and white films on Turner Classic Movies. We will, however, probably find a 4K online video of a grizzly bear standing in white water and snapping at jumping salmon just so we can "ooh" and "ahh" at the eye-slicing detail of something we normally wouldn't watch at gunpoint.

"At gunpoint" is also how we're feeling after receiving a letter from the Social Security Administration on Black Friday, explaining that they're going to charge us an additional $6000 for our (ahem) "free" Medicare based on their hallucinatory estimation of our non-existent income.

We can't say for sure, but we suspect that this may be a direct result of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tapping keys on a government computer that she was explicitly told not to touch.


  1. We survived or first and hopefully last vegan thanksgiving (courtesy of my California psychologist brother and his wife ) was better than expected but lets just say the left overs are going in the tractor bucket and getting put someplace far away .......
    No one has gotten even close to the left overs........... and for once i did not over eat
    We enjoyed their company ... despite their kindness......
    And still we are grateful ......(that its over)

    The spaghetti is spaghetti squash with sauce (onion, garlic, veggie ground beef, tomato paste, canned tomato, spices, parmesan cheese, veggie broth & peanut oil).

    Green bean casserole is really green been & squash (green beans, butternut squash, onion, garlic, cream of mushroom, fried onions & oil).

    Chia pudding (chia seeds, almond milk, almond yogurt, honey & fruit: blueberry?? strawberry?? banana??).

    Timothy burton here's an idea for "the Nightmare before Christmas"

  2. Congrats on the new small 'uns, Stilton! Let's hope they grow up healthy and happy!

    The carcass of my modest turkey, after having been simmered for soup stock for a couple of hours last night, sits steeping in its own broth in the refrigerator. This may or may not be an analogy for something or other.

    Condolences on your travails with the SSA. I speak from bitter experience. :P At least there is light at the end of the tunnel, and, if it IS an oncoming train, hopefully it was made by Lionel. :D

    @Rem1875: Your brother and SiL's menu sounds...well intentioned, at any rate. I'm sure the little beasties on the south 40 will adore it. ^.^

  3. Its a sad fact of life that as the technology has immeasurable improved, the content has plummeted. I may not have Ultra HD but most nights I trawl through the 200+ channels looking for a half decent programme. I usually end up watching a re-run of a 70s show. Low quality technically, but enjoyable.

  4. @Brie: My set is generally tuned to MeTV, Antenna TV or Heroes and Icons. Not much else out there of interest, except the occasional show on Comet...

  5. As I have no nearby relatives, my Thanksgiving was spent with good friends, good food, and good bourbon.

  6. @REM1875- Yikes. I'm sure that was a very healthy meal, but totally unappealing. The green bean casserole sounds almost normal, but then they added squash. I'm glad the company made up for the food.

    @M. Mitchell Marmel- I had to update today's post because I'd accidentally omitted another recent arrival. Babies are popping up like mad lately (grin).

    On Medicare, I suppose I'm still getting a decent deal considering Mrs. J and myself have both had medical expenses this year that Medicare has seemingly covered nicely (I say "seemingly" because who the hell knows anymore if a bill has been paid, or is only churning in the system for a year before landing in your mailbox). It just rankles me when the price of a product is changed solely because "we think you still have some money."

    @Brie Camembert- You speak the truth. I've got hundreds of channels, multiple streaming services, and there STILL isn't much of anything to watch. Around here, our surest bet for movies is whatever we've TIVOed from Turner Classic Movies, mixed with a rotation of the Chopped cooking show, Jeopardy, and old episodes of "Frazier." When enough time has passed for our memories to fade, we'll then rewatch all seasons of the Dick Van Dyke Show. Not exactly a challenge for these crazy high-rez televisions.

    @Edam Wensleydale- I'll have to check those out.

  7. @Geoff King- That sounds like a winning combination to me!

  8. We had vegan turkey ... well, the turkey eats grain and yummy stuff like that and we eat the turkey. Same thing with cows.

    Then we turn on the TV and get to choose from about 4,622,183 channels, very few of which are worth a damn. One good thing though, we recently switched providers and have a unit with two (count 'em, 2) terabytes of storage and can record 16 different channels simultaneously. And, as a really neat bonus the remote can be spoken in to. I press a button on the remote and say "Ben Casey" and it changes to that channel.

    I was watching a conservative news channel and my cat scratched me and I yelled "you piece of shit" and the TV changed to CNN. Hahahahahahabarf..... Moonshine time .....

  9. I'm putting into today's date for the future archeologist who's computerized satellite-based scanners find & flag this digital message on the hard dive of this obsolete machine:
    Today is 26 NOVEMBER 2018. And in still looking after my mother's ongoing finances & medical paperwork: JUST A FEW DAYS AGO we received Medicare statements listing settlements for six items. The dates of service were 3 January 2018. And she went on to her reward in late June.
    Quite a system we have here.

  10. I got a similar letter from Social Security.

    I had no idea we were rich and should be punished.

  11. So far we haven't had surprises from the benevolent SS. It could be because about 10 or so years ago, we rid ourselves of financial accoutrements. The wife and I are homeless as we transferred title to sons. I quit the stock market because the tail was wagging the dog as the gains simply were not worth the accounting and taxes. So there SS, stick it in your, uh, ear.

    On the TV, we have one of those that is about the size of a drive-in movie screen but not nearly as much fun as not watching from the back rows with steamed up windows. Now that was cheap entertainment.

    I, too, am a believer in staying close to family and celebrating the milestones as they occur. It is unnerving to get graduation cards from great nephews and nieces.
    The only exciting thing at Thanksgiving was the son smoked the turkey in his new pellet smoker which took 2 1/2 hours which threw his timing off by three hours which caused him to scramble without ruining it for lunch about four hours later. Fun stuff.

  12. One year after my wife died and I had filed "single", SSA sent me a letter that explained I was now making too much retirement income (it had not changed in 10 years). They needed to extract extra money from my SS check to fund Medicare. My ongoing grieving at losing a spouse/best friend and companion a few years shy of 50 was not enhanced. Enjoy their company while you have them and then prepare for Uncle Sugar to show up at some point with alum.

  13. Big screen televisions prices have plummeted. It's almost amazing, since I can now purchase one for half of what I paid three years ago. If my luck holds out, in 9 years, they'll have to pay me around $300 to take one of their televisions. That's a good thing, and I'll be picky on my choice.

  14. My dad is still dealing with the fallout from the IRS. Before mom passed in '14 he transfered money from one place to another. Didnt get a check, didnt deposit it in his personal account, nothing. Just moved it. Feds tried dinging him for $6k in taxes for it. Multiple, multiple letters and calls from his accountant (ooops, we lost those papers) it was finally cleared around the middle of '17. Then in '18, the state sent a letter, after freezing his business account, that since he owed Feds, he owes the State. He told them the Fed was cleared, didnt owe anything. Well, send whatever form. He did. Someone else said that was the wrong form. Still doesnt have the $3k they seized. Business bills are now getting paid out of his personal account since they cant seize that. Whatever SS is going into, cannot be frozen. Once he gets his money, hes closing his business account.
    And they think Single Payer is better? IRS cant run correctly. They think a big insurance group can? Nah.

  15. Unfortunately, biologically we're pretty much superfluous after 40 or so and our bodies start letting us know that.

    And I doubt that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was specifically targeting you. After all, she's more focused on her "Medicaid for All" plan that will be free because the government will "just pay for it".

  16. Such excellent writing!! Thanks for the enjoyment.

  17. Continuing along this IRS theme but with a Laff. We just had to take the family lead over the past 2-3 months in moving my wife's oldest sister to badly-needed Assisted Living place due to severe memory problem and trickle-down effects of thatsuch as taking needed Rx pills on schedule. Just got that done and thank GOD she likes the place.

    The sis is a 27 years of "service" retiree from the IRS, so she should know a thing or two about them. WE got a big kick out of one of her recent quotes as I was discussing an IRS issue:

    "YES! That's right. If there's one thing the IRS can do, it's really screw things up!"

  18. We cheated this year and it was the best idea we've ever had. Instead of going through the arduous task of defrosting and cooking a turkey, I went to Sam's Club and bought some freshly cooked rotisserie chickens and made all home made sides. Perfection. None of my family likes dark meat turkey, including me, but I love dark meat chicken, the thigh being my favorite piece of the chicken. The stress of putting together the dinner was cut by at least 60%. No tryptophan naps though.

  19. @Stilton: The little tykes do seem to be popping up like crazy! :D

    @Fred: I was watching a conservative news channel and my cat scratched me and I yelled "you piece of shit" and the TV changed to CNN. Hahahahahahabarf..... Moonshine time .....

    ROFLMAO! Your set is hep. What brand? I want one. ^.^

  20. Thanksgiving was one meal with my kids and grandkids--lovely fun and good company. Ate too much from the daughter who likes to cook and discussed tech with the kids and laughed at the little one who runs everyone ragged.

    Then another meal with the rest of the family (except the crazy sister who is causing a lot of grief and drama), brothers and sister, favorite crazy aunt, mom, and a lovely niece who was slightly screwed up by the aforementioned sister.

    Spent the rest of the holiday weekend helping my crazy fun sister sort out her massive collection of clothing for donation to the homeless. She makes me do it because I make fun of the bad stuff and make her get rid of the rest of it. Hey, I may dress like a bag lady (or "grandpa chic", as she calls it) but fashion is something I do know!

    Unfortunately the crazy sister decided Sunday church was a good time to harass my mother in front of the congregation and the visiting pastor. Momma actually lost her temper and told the sister off. I was undecided whether it would have been fun to be there or dangerous because I would have slapped the sister silly. She has alienated the entire family with baseless accusations about our father, and driven her child to the point of hiding from her completely. Oh well, we all have that one relative.

    Other than that, good fun, good food, good family, family I can tolerate, and a job I enjoyed doing. Not a bad holiday!

  21. My maiden post.

    My husband and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner. We have 3 married daughters and 11 grandchildren (one is a new granddaughter-in-law, oldest grandson got married in May). My husband always does a great job with the turkey and gravy. Our daughters bring the sides and desserts. All I had to do was set the table, make my famous cornbread sausage dressing and the tea.

    I ended up in bed in between chores twice, totally exhausted. I turned 70 in June and it has been horrifying! This can't be normal! At dinner we informed our daughters we wouldn't be hosting any more. I can't imagine what Christmas would do to me!

  22. I've been pretty busy with little time to keep up with political bullshit. A nice break actually.

    So what's with this imbecile Ocasio-Cortez? It's possible but one can hardly believe she was elected just because she's a youngish cute socialist female. A few minutes of listening to her should cancel that out. So is it a case of big & outside Anti-anything-not-Democrat funding plus election cheating bought the election there? Inquiring minds want to know.

  23. Velveeta Processed Cheese FoodNovember 27, 2018 at 10:14 AM

    @Stilt: I'm glad to hear you had a good time on T-Day with new young 'uns. I have no kids of my own and have always doted of my nieces and nephews, and now grand-etc. Unfortunately, we had no family gathering this year (I live some distance from my siblings and the weather went to crap anyway).

    I spent T-Day sawing my winter's supply of firewood, part of a month-long effort including felling, transport, bucking, splitting, moving under cover, stacking and etc. Looks like I'm going to need it. I thought I was all set, but then on Sunday my wood stove started belching smoke into the house. Turned out the chimney cap was completely plugged with creosote. Got that working yesterday and I'm back in heat. On the plus side, I'm in much better shape than when I started the wood-cutting project and I haven't as yet removed any important body parts.