Catching up

In General Information on August 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm


…For the many kind words of sympathy sent via email, snail-mail, telephone, and texts.  Abe was a very sweet dog who became sweeter over the passing years.  Abe showed us that humans are not the only beings who have the capacity to help others to see things clearly.

After a week sitting shiva in his memory (and with Tisha b’Av thrown in for good measure) we are quite behind in our acknowledgements and social calls.

We know you understand.

In related, but other news

Hy Vee, our local mass food retailer, houses pharmacies under their roofs.  As a last ditch effort to keep our other old hound Jack more comfortable, we began adjuncting his pain medications with gabapentin.  In his final month, Abe also benefited from this medication.

With our monthly expenses for canine pharmaceuticals reaching about $250/month, we welcomed a break from high drug costs by paying only $4 per month for gabapentin.

Today, I refilled Jack’s gabapentin order.

“That will be $13.97”, chirped the smiling Hy Vee pharmacist.

“Isn’t it on the $4 per month formulary?” I asked.

The young pharmacist almost cowered in fear behind the counter, as she said, “No, they took it off.  They do that sometimes.  Some days, we come in and they’ve taken a lot of drugs off of the four-dollar formulary.  We never know.”

“Gee, a little warning would be nice.  It’s not like I can’t afford a 250% price increase from four bucks, but what about people on more expensive drugs?”

I peeled off the greenbacks for the medicine.

The pharmacist looked genuinely pained.  “I know.  People budget for medicine.  It’s so hard to look at them when we quote the new, full price when they had no way to plan for it.”

I mentally pictured an elderly customer pushing one of those mini-carts containing a few days of groceries, waiting patiently in line for a four-buck prescription, only to be given an unpleasant surprise that will see the groceries left behind…or the needed medicine abandoned at the counter.

Suddenly changing a medicine price (in this case by 250%) without warning smacks of a company making the most out of the advantage of surprise.

A better plan would be to warn patients that their next refill could be at a much higher price, giving them a chance to budget for the change.  Patients with new prescriptions seldom know the price of the drug when it is first purchased and would be unaffected.

Which is exactly what I told Hy Vee in my email to them.

Comments verboten!

When Rekha Basu discontinued anonymous comments on her articles, it seemed like a good idea.

After all, shouldn’t a person stand by what they say or write?

At first blush, the answer would be yes.  Now, the Des Moines Register has made it the policy for the entire paper.

I have rethought my earlier position, based on comments by Natan Sharansky in his book, A Case for Democracy.

Sharansky observed that, in a truly free society, a person may say anything in the public forum without fear of retaliation by the government or by his fellow citizens.

We do not live in a free society.

We live in a nation of government watch lists and private black lists…not to mention among some pretty unstable fellow citizens.

Having to publish one’s true identity under an unpopular opinion, or one counter to those of the many budding J. Edgar Hoovers and Tailgunner Joes in government, can be hazardous to one’s business and social standing.  Additionally, it facilitates stalking by the looser wingnuts across the entire political spectrum.

The consequence will be stifled opinion and bland reader commentary…in the finest tradition of uber-polite (but not nice) Iowa.

Running a public comment board is a huge amount of work.  Democracy and freedom are not pursuits for lazy people.

The Register took the lazy man’s way out by not manning the comment boards with moderators to remove vulgar, threatening, and libelous commentary.

But, it is Gannett’s newspaper to run into the ground as they please…and they’ve been doing a fine job of that for the past three years.

In related news

Shortly before Abe’s death, Phyne Dyning shut down comments to our blog.

I simply do not have time to moderate comments.

While it is my libertarian mindset to let people comment at will, a beery comment made a few days earlier by a reader caused me to change my mind.

The comment came from a nice person who, judging by the syntax, spelling, and the hour the comment was made, was either sleep-deprived…or well-toasted.

Who the comment came from (and what the comment was) will go to my grave.  It is the “right” thing to do.

Readers may still communicate with Phyne Dyning at .  I cannot guarantee a response and it is doubtful I will take the time to publish even sober comments.  But, your correspondence will be read.

In related, related news

It is dismaying to see how little the main-stream media devotes to candidate issues in favor of stirring a pot full of feces.

The kinder, gentler Des Moines Register recently made candidate Michele Bachmann’s gaffe into a Chutzpahgate.

Before yellow-dog Democrats assert I have favoritism toward Bachmann or yellower-dog Republicans think I have jumped on their Lipton-Lite Express…let me assert that I have more at odds with Bachmann’s platform than I do in line with it.  In fact, while Mr. Obama is far from my own political leanings…Bachmann seems to be further away.  Obammunists should not read any hope out of that statement.

But, for the Register to attempt to make hay out of Bachmann’s mangled pronunciation of  “chutzpah” when Iowans (and people living in the United States) are clamoring for economic, social, and global answers…indicates the width of the disconnect between today’s media and media consumers.

Bachmann pronounced “chutzpah” as CHOOTS-pah.


It has the same effect on my opinion of her as assertions coming from tighty-righty “birthers” or folks hooting and pointing to President Obama’s gaffe that he visited “all 56 states”.

London is burning, America’s MasterCard is maxed, boys and girls are dying in (another and another) senseless and imperialistic war, and we will all soon be empowered to wipe our butts with $20 bills.

Given the state of composition skills in today’s newspaper newsrooms, the phrase “glass houses” comes to mind.  And you can bet your dangling participle that all of us say/write “stupid”.

No wonder Americans are apathetic about voting for agency-polished candidates!

In related, related, related news

Phyne Dyning’s Facebook page will go to black.  I kept the page running for family members who are Facebook addicts, a few people they knew, and a few folks I met along the way.

The blog is doing nicely without the necessity of prodding people to it, as witnessed by stats that tell me more people visit my blog per week than used to visit in a month.  Whether they are reading for recipes, tips, curmudgeonry, or simply out of morbid curiosity is unimportant to me.  Phyne Dyning seems to have appeal and I see no need to prod or goad people into reading my blather.

The back story to my decision: I would get “friend” requests…and would have absolutely no idea who the person is.  There was no note or email from them in the way of introduction and, well, it was just plain creepy.

I have no psychological need to show off my latest battery-operated toilet plunger, my new underwear, or even that I’ve since washed the pair that I’ve worn since last Yom Kippur.

Plus, I’m not much on mindless palaver…no offense to readers who reflexively must “like” (or “LOL” at) everything posted on everyone else’s “wall”.

A few of my flesh and blood friends are playing about with Google Plus (which seems to have more features to appeal to compulsive narcissists).  But, it seems to serve in same genre of “social” media for the socially inept, budding stalkers, and people who work calculus problems while sitting on the toilet.

That I am opting out should be seen only in the context that I like only 12 of Baskin-Robbins’ many flavors of ice cream.

To each, his/her own.

Trouble in Old Blighty

I have long been an anglophile.  I long favored British roadsters (while I could still fit in one) and my lungs were contaminated by many packs of Dunhill (red box) cigarettes.

Photo: ABC News

Therefore, it saddens me to see the violence in London.

I pray to be wrong, but methinks it is a harbinger of things to come in other civilized nations.

The gulf between super-rich and very poor has become light-years wide.

While reading comments to the news of rioting published in The (UK) Guardian (You don’t think I would depend on Duh Register, do you?), I stumbled on this:

“The world has become a tinder-dry forest and there is a coming storm.  Only the rich fail to hear the thunder or see the lightning.”

Thanks for reading…

…the cooking will continue shortly!


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