2017 A To Z Challenge – E

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I know that, according to my own, self-imposed schedule, I should have had a post composed and ready to publish today, about the letter

Letter E

Just about the time the daily A to Z Challenge bloggers were posting their offerings for the letter E, I contracted a case of 48-hour flu. By the time I got back to the computer, it was too late to acquire a list of possible theme words.  Between the virus-induced mental incapacitation and the lack of inspiration, nothing got written.

The situation was made worse by bureaucracy. One of the drive motors on the daughter’s power wheelchair seized, and Murphy worked overtime to ensure clerical catastrophe.  What should have been a (bad enough) two weeks inconvenience, has become more than three months of dragged-on denial of service, before the Provincial disability office finally decided that it’s too expensive to repair a 13-year-old chair.

New rules say that, since she doesn’t need it all the time, she can’t have a new one.  Now she has to break in a new case worker, and jump through all the hoops to find an acceptable handicap scooter, for which the Government will (eventually) pay monthly rent.  Winter cabin fever was bad enough.  Now, the nice summer weather is here, and she still can’t get outside and be independent.

Besides the afternoon-long, hour drive up the highway and back, for her anti-pain treatment, this means that I have taken her shopping several times, to the Farmers’ Market, twice to her dentist, once to the next city to pick up cheap, bulk, dog and cat food, and each week to a counselling forum which helps her deal with the physical and emotional problems of having her loving, supportive son 500 kilometers away.

Eighteen months after being told that the wait time would be 12 months, the wife was finally contacted by her orthopedic surgeon, (the same guy who installed my artificial shoulder ten years ago) and was told that her first knee replacement, the right, was a go.  This required two trips to the hospital to fluff their paperwork.  The first was a mere two hours, the second, an extended, four hour clerical comedy show.  At least it’s finally going ahead.  On June 27th, Hobble-Along Cassidy meets Dr. Stabby McStab-Stab in a dance to the death.

All of this means that, instead of having time to write my usual, knife-sharp, crystal-clear, diamond-hard posts which inform and entertain you, you are being afflicted with this whiny, apologetic, idiosyncratic, fogbank collection of Excuses, for my E contribution.

Thanx for your sympathy, and I hope to see you in a couple of weeks with something a little more solid, for the fabulous letter F.

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(ARCH)ON The Road Again

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WARNING, Long involved DMV bureaucratic rant.
Proceed at your own boredom.

After almost 30 years, my ARCHON vanity plates, first acquired here, are back on the road.  The wife and I bought our last car.  It’s actually a rice-burning, Kia Sorento SUV, which sits high enough that the semi-disabled wife and daughter don’t have to fight to get down into, and up out of.  Properly maintained, it should last 10/15 years, perhaps longer than us.  In any case, the next one’s up to son Shimoniac to buy.

This is the first NEW car we’ve owned in almost 50 years of marriage. We purchased two that were less than a year old, taking advantage of the 30% depreciation in value, but were still new enough to be reliable.

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For years, we’ve had the wife’s 3 TEASE plates on our cars, because they were registered in her name, and we’d been told by the DMV that that was necessary. It was all a Lie.

I’ve used the term, ‘DMV’ mostly for my American readers. Here in Ontario, we have the oxymoronically named “Service Ontario.”  That’s where you have to go, for aggravation, incompetence, poverty, hunting and fishing licenses, drivers’ licenses, licence plates, birth certificates, and certified ID cards for people like the daughter, LadyRyl, who can’t drive.

After the heart-stopping negotiation of financing this beast, yea, verily, unto the second and third generations, the first problem came when we had the salesman (try to) put my old plates on my new car.

I gave him my old plates, along with the plate ownership form, and the transfer form. The last sticker was applied in 1987.  When we went back the next day to pick the car up, he handed me back my plates (but not the two forms), and said that the licence bureau wouldn’t let him use my plates because they were registered in the wrong name. We had to take generic plates, and arrange to apply the ARCHON plates ourselves.

A couple of weeks later, we were ready to try. The first thing that the user-(un)friendly Service Ontario did, was ensure that the relatively handy, downtown branch, only 4.2 Km away, DIDN’T PROVIDE AUTO-LICENCE SERVICE.  Instead, we got to drive 9.7 Km to a branch on the other side of town.  We chose a quiet Wednesday afternoon, when the lineup was only 45 minutes long.

The first time we went, we exchanged the generic plates for the old ARCHON plates.  Having a brand-new car, the wife wondered, for a niggling fee of $93.20, if I’d like a brand-new set of plates.  It seems a good idea, except….new plates are no longer paint, baked onto steel.  They are now printed plastic, laminated on, and there have been many cases of them delaminating, costing drivers $55 to replace faulty Chinese manufacturing.  We’ll see how these ones last.

Six weeks later, my new set arrived by mail, and off we set once more, to surrender the old set, and validate the new ones. The clerk picked up each set, and found she had to struggle with the old ones.  They weighed twice what the new ones do.  She’d never seen a set that old.  She wondered why we’d gone from generic to vanity, and then to a new set.

The female branch manager was sitting at the next service wicket, and overheard our conversation. Every time I described what happened, or what I was told, she shook her head.  I explained how I was not allowed to put my plates on a car registered to the wife.  ‘No, you can do that.’ (With the proper, paid-for form)

I bitched that I wasn’t allowed to transfer the ownership of the plates to the wife, without surrendering them to the Provincial Government. ‘No, you don’t have to surrender them.  You can transfer them to your wife.’  (With the proper, paid-for form)  My clerk looked up, surprised.  “They’re registered in your wife’s name now.”  Wait, what??!  After telling me that they couldn’t do it, they changed the plate registration – but didn’t tell me they had??  And we paid to buy the wife her own set, and mine languished for decades??!  So that explains the dealer’s problem. I can’t put her plates on my car.  ‘No, no, I told you that they should have done that.  (With the proper, paid-for forms)

So we transferred plate ownership back to me – for $20. Then the clerk wanted to know where the plate ownership and vehicle transfer forms were.  “I gave them to the dealer, and I never got them back.  I assume that the clerk at the office that they use, kept them.”  Manager is shaking her head again.  ‘They should have been returned.  We’ll have to generate new ones.’

The clerk then charged me $20 to use information that’s already on their computer, to print out an ownership form, and another $20 for the same computer information to print a transfer form, for their own paper files.  The plate licence expires on my birthday, late in September.  Should we renew for just one year – or two??  The manager piped up, ‘The yearly fee is increasing from $100/year, to $120/year, starting September 1.  Why don’t you pre-pay for three years and save?’

I begin to understand why Canada has such restrictions on gun ownership. Do any of you have bureaucratic duel stories (shorter than this) that you want to share??   😯

Fully Insured

The following are actual statements found on insurance forms, where car drivers attempted to summarize the details of an accident in the fewest words possible.  These instances of faulty writing serve to confirm that even incompetent writing may be highly entertaining.

Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.

The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intentions.

I thought my window was down, but I found out it was up when I put my head through it.

I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way.

A truck backed through my windshield into my wife’s face.

A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.

The guy was all over the road.  I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.

I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment.

In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.

I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home.  As I reached an intersection, a hedge sprang up, obscuring my vision and I did not see the other car.

I had been driving for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.

The telephone pole was approaching.  I was attempting to swerve out of its way when it struck the front end.

I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.

As I approached the intersection, a sign suddenly approached in a place where no stop sign ever appeared before.  I was unable to stop in time to avoid the accident.

To avoid hitting the bumper on the car in front, I struck the pedestrian.

My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.

An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished.

I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat, found that I had a fractured skull.

I was sure that the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.

The pedestrian had no idea which direction to run, so I ran over him.

I saw a slow moving, sad faced old gentleman as he bounced off the roof of my car.

The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.

I was thrown from my car as it left the road.  I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.

***

Condom

 

 

 

 

 

Consistent with the Bi-Cultural Policy, the Canadian Government is now considering changing the National Emblem from the Maple Leaf, to the condom.  The reasons are that the condom withstands inflation, slows down production, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives a false sense of security while one is being screwed.   🙄

Healthy Respect For Medicine

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Mommy!  Mommy!  A strange lady stuck her finger up my bum, and I had to give the Government money to pay her to do it.  Then she hired some guy to do it again with a hose – and then I have to learn to deep-throat.  I don’t understand.  The charges were dismissed, why do I still have to attend the Going To Prison Seminar?

I went to see my female doctor for my regular physical – ‘cause there’s 703 days in a year, right??  Suddenly my annual checkup became an anal checkup.  It all started innocently enough.  She took my blood pressure – 120/70, which means my heart ain’t thumpin’ hard, and I’ll live long enough to make some people sorry.

“Do you have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom?”  I’m almost 70 – of course.  “How many times?”  Usually once, occasionally twice.  “When it gets to three, contact me, and I’ll start you on meds that you’ll have to take every day for the rest of your life.  Is it still rigid when you have to go?”  Uhhh…no.  “Would you like some Cialis?”  That’s like offering a dog a driver’s licence.

I’ve heard about, Turn Your Head And Cough, but around here, it’s, Shuck your shorts and lie on the examining table in a fetal position, facing the wall.  Suddenly….WOW – are you right up to the wrist?  I don’t think I’m going to get out of this fetal position.  She says, “I don’t feel anything unusual.”  Lucky you, I do.

She’ll make arrangements with an internist, but first, I have to take tests to prove I’m healthy enough to survive the torture.  I asked one, innocent question.  Would a little extra adipose, just north of the belt buckle, combined with poor eating posture, prevent the esophagus from emptying into the stomach, causing difficulty swallowing?

The next thing I know, I’ve got $250 worth of stomach pills I don’t need. I’m thankful for a great medical plan, which pays for it.  The unexpected benefit is that they’re combo-pills with an added painkiller just short of Hillbilly Heroin.  I could sell these on the street.  The next time I have a headache (very uncommon) I’ll just crush one up and snort it.

After walking five miles at the Cruise Night, and then setting the daughter up for the Anti-Violence Festival the next day, and hauling her stuff back home, both hips said, “Take the pill!  Take the pill!”

So, off to the clinic I went.  I had to do a 12 hour fast.  I was starting to have food withdrawal symptoms, but I made it.  Some sadistic little oriental nurse-wannabe stuck a railway spike in my arm, and sucked out so much blood, I thought they were doing a remake of Helter-Skelter.  Then she said, “I need a urine sample.  Could you fill this little cup?”  Not from over here.

My cholesterol levels are lower than my doctor’s, although I still need to remove that spare tire.  Like any other bureaucracy, Ontario’s taxpayer-paid medical coverage can sometimes be head-scratching.  The doctor’s visit is paid for.  Four blood tests and the urine tests are paid for, but the test that might indicate that I have prostate cancer???  That one I have to pay $30 for!  😕

The wife’s had to endure colonoscopies three times.  Except for the finger, I’m still a virgin.  At least I’ll have someone to guide me through it – and point and laugh when I go all sucky and whiny.  I think I can handle that, even though I’ll have to drink stuff that makes cod-liver oil taste like Haute Cuisine, and ending up so empty that I won’t be able to face into the wind without developing a whistle.

It’s the endoscopy I’m a little worried about.  I have a sensitive throat.  I could never do gay porn.  The wife takes 12/15 pills every morning, including a couple that would choke a horse – into the mouth, a little juice, one big gulp, and they’re all gone.  Me?  Anything bigger than an aspirin, and I have to distract myself.  Oh, look, a chipmunk!….Is the pill gone?  Well, it will be by lunch.

I think if it weren’t for all these tests, old folks would live forever.  All this embarrassment and stress??  Ah Hell, let’s just die and get it over.

Read My Ass

It used to be said that, “Vanity, thy name is woman.” but, nowadays, when it comes to specialty licence plates, “Vanity, thy name is Legion!”  Vanity plates are everywhere; everything from obvious, easily understood letter/number combinations, to stuff that just has you shaking your head, wondering what he’s smoking, or where he parked the spaceship.

Many years ago, when the children were small, we owned a small Honda Civic station-wagon.  When I got steady, although not great-paying, employment at the shoe factory in 1983, Ontario offered custom plates.  At first only 6 spaces were allowed.  I splurged, and spent $100 for a set.  They read, surprisingly, “ARCHON.”  They’re a lot more expensive these days.  Someone told me they’d seen another pair, “just like yours”, which is impossible.  I finally located them.  Ed Arconovitch, who worked day shift at the same plant, got a set which read, “ARCON.”

I moved to the auto plant at a better salary, and the wife went back to work.  First we bought her brother’s 10-year-old Chevy Monte Carlo for her commute, then I felt I could afford a used motorcycle.  The Civic sat unused for 9/10 months a year, eating insurance, while I rode the bike, so I took my vanity plates off, and sold it.

When we traded up to a better car for the wife and kids, I tried to put my custom plates on it….and bureaucracy struck.  The car was in her name – but the plates were in mine.  We could transfer the car to my name – and pay a 15% tax on the book value.  I could sell her my custom plates!  Oh, no says the DMV, the plates must be surrendered and offered to people who have put in a request for that particular set.  Screw that!  I put them in a bag under my work bench, and the son can turn them in for a refund after I die.

After a couple of years’ gainful employment for both of us, the wife got her own set which read, ”3 TEASE.”  It might mean, “Terrible Tori the Terror,” from her childhood, or it might mean, “Terribly Terrific Tori.”  It might just be the third time we’ve messed with your mind!

I knew, when I went to get my plates, that the DMV could be a little suspicious, and had my story of, Why Archon? carefully rehearsed.  Sure enough, the middle-aged matron wanted to know all about it, to prevent evil from entering our streets.  Even as I was drawing breath to defend my unique personal expression, the much-younger male manager piped up, “That’s from the original Star Trek episode, Return of the Archons.”  I’d been hauling the handle around for 15 years before that episode was broadcast but, if it gets me my plates with no hassle, “Yeah!  That’s right!”

My neighbor, Tom, owned a Buick 88, and applied for TOMS 88.  Ontario plates were three letters and three numbers, like ABC 123, and you couldn’t get those combinations.  The DMV clerk told him that the O of TOMS was a zero; therefore he couldn’t have his choice.  I told him to appeal, but he didn’t want to fight city hall.

There are two kinds of bureaucrats; the one will find a rule to deny whatever you request; the other will dig through the rulebook to find you the exception you need.  Sadly, the first type outnumber the second, a hundred to one ~ or maybe a thousand to one.  In an ongoing campaign to prove their importance and power, Ontario DMV clerks continue to deny thousands of applications.  Custom plates are now up from six spaces, to eight.

Custom plates may not be obscene, derogatory or racist.  They may not refer to drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, criminal activity, law enforcement, public figures, politics or religion.  Nearly a third of the 3315 rejected applications in the last three years, have been refused on the criterion of “clarity and readability.”

If I’m a nihilist, who just wants a random collection of letters and numbers which no-one else has, I don’t see how or why it’s any of the government’s business.  The government, being the government, makes it their business.  Everything is forbidden, unless they specifically allow it.  This rather nebulous category has eliminated such seemingly clear and readable requests as HO5ER, A.BATMAN, 2THF4IRY, and ST4RG4ZER.

Predictably, the second and third most-censored categories were plates that referred to religion and sex.  DMONSEED and LUC1F3R were deemed too evil.  NIHILIST and AGNOSTIC were too honest, and JAWS2GOD and APOKLPSE just too unthinkable.

No doubt drug dealers were disappointed when plates such as GOTSPEED, B.JUICED, ILOVCOKE, and SPD4WEED were rejected.  Government clerks will seize any opportunity to flex their bureaucratic muscle, even reversing previous decisions.

In 2007, United Church Rev. Joanne Sorrill became a political cause célèbre, after the Ministry refused to renew her, “REV JO” plate, because, it claimed, “rev” could encourage unsafe driving, and because Rev is an alcoholic cooler-type beverage.  I’m surprised it wasn’t rejected on the “No Religion” rule, but the clerk was probably a Christian.  It took a newspaper humiliation campaign before the Provincial Premier personally authorized the renewal.  He called the Ministry’s behavior, “laughable.”

The Ministry issued a statement, saying, “This is a difficult job, being done by sincere people, but it is an imperfect science.”  They went on to say that employees use resources such as Wikipedia and UrbanDictionary.

I’ve got mine, even if I don’t use them, and I see lots of others around.  A beautifully rebuilt 1947 Ford Business Coupe, at the downtown summer Cruise Night had a pair which read, B DRULN.  Do any of you have vanity plates?  How much did you pay?  Have you seen some amusing or confusing ones?

Shit Happens

In
The
Beginning
was the plan.

And then came the assumptions,
and the assumptions were without form,
and the plan was completely without substance,
and the darkness was upon the face of the workers,
and they spoke among themselves, saying
“It is a crock of shit, and it stinketh.”

And the workers went unto the supervisors and sayeth,
“It is a pail of dung, and none may abide the odor thereof.”

And the supervisors went unto the managers and sayeth unto them,
“It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong,
such that none may abide it.”

And the managers went unto the directors and sayeth,
“It is a vessel of fertiliser, and none may abide its strength.”

And the directors spoke among themselves, saying one to another
“It contains that which aids plant growth, and it is very strong.”

And the directors went unto the Vice Presidents,
and sayeth unto them,
“It promotes growth, and it is very powerful.”

And the Vice Presidents went unto the President,
and sayeth unto him,
“This new plan will actively promote growth and efficiency
of this company, and these areas in particular.”

And the President looked upon the Plan,
and saw that it was good.  And the plan became Policy.

Ladies and gentlemen,
This is how shit happens!

STRESS

Is that confusion which is created when one’s mind overrides the body’s basic desire to choke the living shit out of some Asshole who desperately needs it.

This concludes our words of wit and wisdom for today.  We now return you to your work-life, already in progress.

Obey The Law

The following are some of the laws that the universe operates under.  Get used to the idea of following them.  No-one living has found a way to get around them.

MURPHY’S LAWS

Murphy’s 1st Law

The general law on why things go wrong – “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

Murphy’s 2nd Law

If it can be assembled wrong, it will.

Murphy’s 3rd Law

If it can be operated wrong, it will.

Murphy’s 4th Law

All failures will occur at the most inaccessible location.

Murphy’s 5th Law

Everything costs more than the estimate.

Murphy’s 6th Law

Every task takes longer than you think it will.

Murphy’s 7th Law

Nothing is as easy as it looks.

Murphy’s 8th Law

If you tinker with or try to improve something long enough, eventually it will break.

O’Toole’s Law

Murphy was an optimist!

Dude’s Law of  Duality

(A special case of Murphy’s 1st law)

Of two possible outcomes, only the undesired one will occur.

Gumperson’s Law

(Incorporates the concept of desirability into a general law.)

The probability of a given event occurring is inversely proportional to its desirability.

Flap’s Law of the Perversity of Inanimate Objects

Any inanimate object regardless of its position or configuration, may be expected to perform at any time, in a totally unexpected manner, for reasons which are either entirely obscure, or else completely mysterious.

Mule’s Law: The Universal Field Theory of Perversity

The probability of an event’s occurring varies directly with the perversity of the inanimate object involved, and inversely with the product of its desirability and the effort expended to produce it.

The Theorem of the Dynamic Application of the Law of Adversity and Perversity

Some events are more likely to occur in Los Angeles or New York, rather than Miami or Chicago.

Parkinson’s Law

Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

McGurk’s Law

Any improbable event, which would create maximum confusion if it did occur, will occur.

Weiler’s Law

Nothing is impossible, for the man who doesn’t have to do it.

CHISOLM’ LAWS

Chisolm’s First Law:  The Law of Human Interaction

Any time things seem to be getting better, you have overlooked something.

Chisolm’s Second Law

If you explain so clearly that nobody can possibly misunderstand, somebody will.

Chisolm’s Third Law

If you do something which you are sure will meet with everyone’s approval, somebody won’t like it.

Chisolm’s Fourth Law

All procedures devised to implement the purpose won’t quite work.

Miller’s Law

He who tooteth his own horn, maketh sure his own horn has been tootethed.

Zymurgy’s First Law of Evolving System Dynamica

Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can.

(Old worms never die, they just worm their way into larger cans.)

Rudin’s Law

In a crisis which forces a choice to be made among alternative courses of action, most people will choose the worst possible one.

Shaw’s Principle

Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will want to use it.

McNaughton’s Rule

Any argument worth making within a bureaucracy must be capable of being expressed in a simple declarative sentence that is obviously true, once stated.

Parker’s Law of Political Statements

The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility, and vice versa.

Law of Superiority

The first example of a superior principle is always inferior to the developed example of an inferior principle.

Katz’s Law

Men and nations will act rationally, when all other possibilities have been exhausted.

The Law Of Perversity Of Nature

(Mrs. Murphy’s Corollary)

You cannot determine beforehand, which side of the bread to butter.

Weaver’s Law

When several reporters share a cab on an assignment, the reporter in the front seat pays for all.

Doyle’s Corollary to Weaver’s Law

No matter how many reporters share a cab, and no matter who pays, each puts the full fare on his own expense account.

Westheimer’s Rule

To estimate the time it will take to perform a task, double the initial estimate and change the unit of measure up to the next highest unit.  Thus you need to allocate two days to complete a one hour task.

The Reno Rule

A Smith & Wesson beats four aces.

Peckham’s Law

Beauty times brains, equals a constant.

Merrill’s First Corollary

There are no winners in life, only survivors.

Merrill’s Second Corollary

On the highway of life, the average happening is of about as much true significance as a dead skunk in the middle of the road.

Oesser’s Law

There is a tendency for the person in the most powerful position in an organization to spend all his time serving on committees and signing letters.

Potter’s Law

The amount of flak received on any subject is inversely proportional to the subject’s true value.

Kitman’s Law

Pure drivel tends to drive ordinary drivel off the TV screen.

Goof’s Law

(As propounded by Inglesbe)

The insignificance of the error is inversely proportional to the intensity of the resulting castigation – or, the smaller the slip, the bigger the lip.

Spock’s Law

What mother tells daughter she wouldn’t understand, usually results in daughter doing things that mother wouldn’t understand.

Barth’s Law of Distinction

There are two types of people: those who divide people into two types, and those who don’t.

Friedman’s Reiteration of Crane’s Law

There is no free lunch.

FINAGLE’S LAWS

Finagle’s General Law of Adversity

Once a good thing is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.

Finagle’s First Law

If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.

Finagle’s Second Law

No matter what result is anticipated, there will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c) believe it happened to his own pet theory.

Finagle’s Third Law

In any collection of data, the figure most obviously correct, beyond all need of checking, is the mistake.

Corollary 1

No-one whom you ask for help will see it.

Corollary 2

Everyone who stops by with unsought advice will see it immediately.

Gummidge’s Law

The amount of expertise varies in direct proportion to the number of statements understood by the general public.

Hartley’s First Law

You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get him to float on his back, you’ve really got something.

Simon’s Law

Everything put together, sooner or later falls apart.

Diogenes’ Second Dictum

If a taxpayer thinks he can safely cheat, he probably will.