February 28th, 2019

#6655: Well, you're having a fun time, aren't you?


For the past couple of weeks my ribs have been aching where they attach to other bones. Roll over in bed, zang goes the upper sternum. Stretch arms forward, zang goes the back. Lay in the same sleeping position I've slept in for thirty years, ZANG goes that entire side. Ibuprofen does wonders for it. Not 100%, but it helps. Mainly it's just stiffness, and I think it's caused primarily by sitting at my desk and turning just my upper body to the work PC, instead of turning my chair, when I get a call.

Didn't want to go see random doc, because I knew what random doc would say: "Well, we've got to do an ECG and a stress test and put you on all kinds of expensive drugs and oh! If you have any more chest pain you'd better go the ER right now because CHEST PAIN!" But I couldn't get an appointment to see my regular doctor until Monday, so I went to an urgent care place.

And that turned out exactly the way I expected it to. Well, plus one: my insurance expired the day I got hired on full-time. I thought it was good until the end of the month, and that you were supposed to get the option to extend it (by paying the fee youreself for future months). Apparently not. So the visit cost $75 up front, plus whatever the ECG cost (bill later on that one) and the person that saw me spent more time telling me to go to the ER if I have chest pain than she did on explaining the results of the ECG. Though she did say that the ECG showed "nothing diagnostic", whatever the heck that means. In the context of her larger discussion, I believe that means that was why she wasn't summoning an ambulance for me immediately. Because CHEST PAIN!

Does the fact that it hurts whenever the cartilage is being flexed, and not at rest, have any bearing on what you're telling me? Somehow I doubt it.

This is why I don't like seeing "physician's assistants". They are supposed to be the next best thing to an actual doctor, but so far my experience with them has been lacking. My favorite example is the time I went to see one because I had a scratched cornea--I went into the office saying I thought I had a scratched cornea after some grass clippings blew in my eyes while I was cutting grass--and she tried to tell me it was cataracts. When I went to an actual opthamologist, he laughed at the suggestion. "You don't have cataracts. That looks like a scratch on your cornea." DUH!

Anyway, today I left the urgent care place with prescriptions for antibiotics and steroids. They'd been called in to the Walgreen's nearest the bunker. What did that cost me? Another cool $75. Steroids were $20 but the antibiotics--generic doxycyclene--were fifty-five freaking dollars. That's almost three bucks per pill, for a generic antibiotic. WTF!


Meanwhile, the student loan people--who, so far, have never sent me any proof that I still actually owe them anything--finally got around to sending me something: a handful of sheets which look like something a competent user of Microsoft Excel can gin up in an hour or two, but which otherwise contain only identifying information which is publicly available, or at least available to a scam artist who's worthy of his black hat. (My full name and the last four of my SSN. End of list.) The numbers might be real numbers or they might be made-up horseshit, but because they're just a bunch of numbers on a page, there's no way to tell.

And naturally all of this shit cropped up in 2010 after my student loans got paid off. Suddenly, six months after the payment was made, there were more loans, about which I had never heard anything, until just then. How mysterious. How convenient. How very much like the "unpaid credit card" scams.

I've had two or three of those cross my desk in the past couple of years: something that looks awful convincing, but fails the reality test. One was for a personal loan I never took out; the other was for a credit card I never had, but also included an attempt to get me to fill out a 1099 for them. "You owe this money! If you disagree, attach this form to your tax return!" ...which, of course, would end up having the IRS divert any tax refund I might get right into their pockets.

I was born in the afternoon; I was not born yesterday afternoon. In both cases, I disputed the debt and challenged them to send me proof, and never heard another word from them. Until this latest batch of student loan shit, that was what happened there, too: someone would contact me, I'd tell them I need to see some proof, and I'd never hear another word from them.

And so this is the context in which I do battle. Someone must have submitted a 1099 on the student loan debt, but I cannot find out who did it and so far the collections company has not bothered to give me any real proof that I owe the money (no collections company has). I need to see more proof than a spreadsheet; this is a serious chunk of change--and the spreadsheet only goes back to 2008. I graduated college in 1996, for fuck's sake! I haven't taken out a student loan since 1995.

It is possible that the loan was sold to another lender in 2008; that stuff happens all the time--but there should still be records they can get copies of, to show that yes, I took out this loan for such-and-such in 199x, and that loan was transferred to another guy in 199y and then the present owner in 2008. That would explain that figure--but if that's the case, there has to be a paper trail; and without me seeing that paper trail showing that I did indeed borrow that money, I am not paying them shit.

I'd like to get legal help with this nonsense since there is something clearly and obviously wrong with this whole process, but lawyers don't want to take this kind of case. There's no real money in it, and the fact that student loan debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy makes such cases difficult to resolve without a hell of a lot of work.

So what can I do? Make them show me the papers. If they show me the papers, I'll pay the debt. Otherwise I just have to keep punching, I guess.

#6656: You leave that joker alone!

Watching Cops last week with Mrs. Fungus--a guy had a gun in the car and was trying to hand it to a cop. The police all freaked out over the gun; and when the situation was defused the cop the camera crew was following--a black guy--was trying to be all hip and real with the guy they'd pulled over after he spent his pre-stop talk speaking like a classics professor from New England.

"If you have a gun in the car, you leave that joker alone!"

Mrs. Fungus: "I am trying to relate with you, so please just leave that joker alone next time!"
Me: "Indeed, fellow minority, I will demonstrate that I am just like you by employing your slang!"


* * *

But they still got universal background checks, something they have been salivating over for years. All they have to do now is wait until they have a Democrat President, then quietly pass a bill removing the ICE requirement.

Everyone spins this as a huge loss for Democrats, but somehow I'm just not seeing it.

* * *

Socialist doesn't understand what the Berlin Wall was for. The Berlin Wall was meant to keep people from escaping the same political system she wants to enact here. On the plus side, her comparison does end up correctly identifying socialism as a "humanitarian disaster". Stopped clock!

* * *

Most people don't understand how thin profit margins actually are. WalMart barely gets above 2% on its profit margin. So on an item they sell for $100, $2.10 is profit. Their cost on it--wholesale--is $67.

Having worked retail, though, I knew 36% was frickin' lunatic territory. Stores typically price non-sale merchandise at 150% of cost, but the 50% profit on that merchandise gets eaten up in all kinds of expenses. You have to pay for electricity and cashiers and stockers and managers...and stolen merchandise. And half a million other expenses.

Averaged across all industries, then, a profit margin of 7.9% does not surprise me at all.

* * *

Chicago will have a black woman mayor. First time it's had a black mayor since Harold Washington. The runoff will determine which of the two women will be mayor, Preckwinkle or Lightfoot.

Whoopie-ding. And indicted Alderman Ed Burke got re-elected, because Machine. Of course.

* * *

Illegal alien beat his newborn son so badly he's not expected to live. Two weeks old, and this animal beat him to death.

See, now, if he'd instead made the baby comfortable and otherwise neglected him, and lived in Virginia, there'd be no problem. He had to go and do this in Texas, though.

* * *

Speaking of infanticide:

"Planned Parenthood wasn't just providing a service for women. They were profiting off the sale of aborted babies." He further notes that leftists regard Walmart and Amazon as evil for earning profits, but not Planned Parenthood.

Gee, hypocritical leftists. Will wonders never cease.

Out of thirty attempts at abortion, one baby survives. At least, until it's born, at which point it is allowed to expire.

Like the writer of the first article, I used to be pro-choice. Then I got a good look at what the abortion industry is really like; and that shit can't be unseen. The left's attempts to legalize infanticide past the moment of birth have only further cemented my opinion that it's nothing but murder.

* * *

I would not move to California at all. Their tax policies are attempting to drive the highest income earners out of the state, their major cities are approximating third-world shitholes, and everything else is a royal mess. No thank you.

* * *

Bucharest has faster internet than most of the United States. You know why? Because Romania doesn't have the friggin' FCC, that's why.

* * *

This...is FNN. I will not believe that Trump's efforts in North Korea are meant to "distract" us from anything until and unless all you commies admit that the military action in Kosovo and Serbia in 1993 were to distract us from the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

* * *

It is not "trans-phobia" to recognize that men who are trying to be women are, biologically, men and will perform athletically as men do, not as women do.

* * *

If the left gets its wish and there's a civil war, it is not likely to end well for them. Understand that the amount of privately-owned guns means there's a firearm for every man, woman, and child in the US. People who like guns and want to keep them are much more likely to own several kinds of weapons than the people who want to ban them. We've previously discussed why the US military cannot use weapons of mass destruction to quell any kind of insurgency; and there's still a pretty good bet that the police and large chunks of the military would not go along with any plan to crush a rebellion against socialist overreach.

* * *

As for me, bit of a rough day today. Think I'll go to bed after work is over. And after I wash the dishes and take out the trash.