How would you handle a 25% increase in monthly health insurance premiums?  That was the topic at lunch today when one of my co-workers (contractor) stated that his family health insurance policy was rising from $750 per month to $940 per month.   I pointed out the obvious, “How do you expect 40 million uninsured people to suddenly get insurance without someone somewhere paying for it?”

Somewhere out there is an insurance company raking in $12,000 per year out of my co-worker.  That’s $12,000 that won’t get spent on iPads, iPhones, televisions, furniture, new carpet, new kitchen, or anything else that will drive the economy.   The $12,000 will be spent on $200 aspirin, $4000 X-Rays, and a bunch of mis-priced, mis-allocated capital investments and operational expenses at a hospital somewhere that wants a cut of the action or into the hands of insurance companies.

I think most people were thinking the “government” was going to pick up the tab for Obamacare and then people realized that the “government” is nothing more than “we the people” so the working people are now subsidizing and providing “free” health insurance to the non-working or working poor.

I’m really curious to see what the next few election cycles are going to bring and I think the economy will head for a disastrous Obamacare driven financial collapse  in 2014 when we start seeing the full effect of this policy and premiums continue to go out of control.

I genuinely believed George W. Bush would go down in history as the worst president ever but now I think that title will go to Barak Obama.   Who knows perhaps the next president will be the worst one ever but for now Obama holds the title.

Although I have very good insurance through my employer I decided I would check out HealthCare.Gov and see what all the hub-bub was about regarding Obamacare.

After selecting my state from the main page, this is what I saw.


Can you make heads or tails out of anything on this page?   This is the best the United States Government could do with billions of dollars in resources?  Seriously?

As a society we seem to vacillate from dumb to dumber.  If it isn’t a war-mongering republican fool running the country it’s a “government can solve everything” bureaucrat running the country.

As I’ve stated many times on this blog, I’m not a supporter of either party, it took a couple of decades for me to understand my father’s skepticism about political parties and false promises but now I finally understand.

Obamacare will unleash untold chaos on the country and global economy next year given the current state of sign ups and the massive cancellations by insurance companies.   What a colossal embarrassment!

For over a month now, I have been searching for four iPhone 5s’ for the T-mobile network.   I’ve gone from T-mobile kiosk to T-mobile store to Apple stores and no one has them in stock.    I’ll usually get something like, “We had one of those this morning” but that’s about as close as I’ve gotten to an iPhone 5S.

Finally I decided I would just order them online from Apple directly paying FULL retail price but was shocked at what I found!  Take a look at the picture and read that red text:  A Maximum of 2 iPhone 5S can be purchased per customer.

Did you see that?   A MAXIMUM of TWO PHONES!

Wow.   Imagine a business model where Walmart will only sell you two bottles of dish soap, or only two quarts of oil or only two TVs.   Is this insane or what?

I clicked the “Chat now” button just to make sure this wasn’t a mistake but the chat person confirmed what I was reading.

He did make some suggestions:  Get a friend to order two for you.  Order two with one credit card and one address and the other two with another credit card and different addresses.

I didn’t know that you now need to own two or more homes to order iPhones.

Curious, I checked to see if I could order 4 iPhone 5c devices and sure enough, you can order as many of that junk/crap as you want so the limit is only with the 5S.

Sadly, Tim Cook is an idiot for not being ready for the demand.  This guy is a clown and should resign from Apple.   We need someone that knows what the customer wants and can provide it to him.   Oh damn you Steve Jobs for eating all that fruit and getting pancreatic cancer and dying.   I’m so sad right now I think I’m gonna cry.

For the past two weeks I’ve been trying to find four iPhone 5S phones.  I’ve been to the mall a couple of times and a few mobile phone kiosks and no one has them in stock.  What do they have in stock?   There is plenty of iPhone 5C garbage everywhere.   One T-Mobile guy was trying to convince me to buy the iPhone 5C giving it feigned accolades and other nonsense but it was pretty clear that he didn’t want that bloated inventory of garbage phones.

What’s the bottom line?   Tim Cook made a huge error in making the 5C.  I think the mistake was threefold actually, the first mistake was making the 5c a technically inferior product than the 5S.   The kids actually like the color models but not the inferior specs (yes, they’re that savvy).   The second mistake was in not producing enough of the 5S since it is in such higher demand than the 5C.    The third mistake was imagining you were a good CEO because with this fiasco you’ve proven yourself too incapable to head Apple.

So here I am with $3,000 in my wallet and no iPhone 5S to buy.   What’s that, I can order it online and wait 2 to 4 weeks to get it?    Uh yeah, why not just produce enough of the damn things from the get go and get them to the proper distribution channels in a timely manner?   Isn’t that what being a CEO is all about?


With all the press around how tech companies are in bed with the NSA collecting data which presumably includes e-mail, texts and perhaps photos, why would anyone in their right mind now freely contribute their fingerprint to the NSA gestapo files?    What next, the DNA scanner so it can cross check your DNA with a database of crimes committed around the world?

Sorry Apple, I’ve been a huge advocate of your products but this new iPhone is a bit too creepy and overall it’s underwhelming.   I am actually seriously considering (gasp!) products from Samsung and other vendors.   My two year Sprint contract is up next month and while I was all prepared to buy the new iPhone, I’m now seriously reconsidering.   I’m not even sure if you can use the phone without that stupid finger print reader thing but if not then I’m definitely not getting one.

I may just end up buying the 5c since it’s cheaper and doesn’t have that creepy fingerprint scanner.

I dropped by my local Costco to pick up my usual month’s worth of groceries and was shocked to see Halloween items all over the place but even more shocking were all the Christmas items stacked up.   Really Costco Christmas?    If Costco is selling Christmas in August (one month after July) the logically it should start selling bikinis and beach balls in the dead of winter right?

I love Costco except for the way they are always out of season.   Summer/Spring items are sold in Winter, Winter items are now sold during the summer and it’s just plain crazy.   Ironically, the stuff will probably fly off the shelves anyway because some people are just shop crazy.


I have a legacy Presidential Plus credit card that had some great benefits when offered under Continental but since United stepped in, they basically gutted the benefits and made the card worthless – I’m canceling it as soon as my year ends on it.    I’m also going to use up all the frequent flier miles I can under while still possessing the card so I at least can get a chance of using those miles and getting some benefits but after that I’m done with UA.

I don’t blame UA for turning into a money grubbing operation, holding back seats up to the last minute to try to generate revenue but the airlines has gone too far and could care less about the customer.

Here are the main problems:

1. Even AFTER paying for a seat on a flight, it is rare to get a seat assignment and even when I do have one, it tends to change almost always to a more unfavorable seat.  I get the impression that UA is simply auctioning off seats to the highest bidder until every last penny has been squeezed and the lowest bidders get the worst seats.

2. UA doesn’t give a shit about the customer.   This is an issue at all levels in all dimensions from trying to call someone on the phone (long 20+ minute wait times), to the snooty gate agents that are often too overworked and stressed out to be any kind of pleasant, to the indifferent flight attendants on the flight which speed through service and couldn’t care less if they skip a row or two on a busy flight.

3. The problems aren’t random or in-between they are systemic.   Travel to and from Europe on my last vacation was a United nightmare but I’m now heading off to South America next week and I’ve already had two phone calls and no help whatsoever on my flight.

While I’m not entirely thrilled with the prospect, I am switching to Southwest Airlines for domestic travel and any international carrier for any international flights, almost every non-US airline provides so much better service even without the perks of frequent flier miles I’m still better off.

So long UA, I’ve got just a couple of more flights before we depart forever.


Just read it….


I travel a great deal for business and the first thing I do when I land in a city and BEFORE I head to the hotel is stop off at a Walgreens or CVS or other shop and buy a six or twelve pack of bottled water.   I rarely use the water from the faucet but do use the water from the shower head to take a shower.   I guess bathing in soiled water isn’t as bad as drinking it!


I usually go into a retail shop like Best Buy, Sears or your typical mall store to actually buy something about once every 5 years.   I order most of my retail goods online through Amazon or other online shops largely to avoid the hassle of parking, wasted fuel, long checkout lines, and dealing with idiots.  I usually don’t go willingly to retail stores but in this particular situation my daughter needed to get a new pair of shoes and we’d been to every shop in the mall and still couldn’t find the right ones so we entered Sears.

The initial trip to Sears went well and we didn’t find my daughter her shoes but I did see a couple of Land’s End shirts on sale so I decided to buy one and some other items.   Because we were in a rush, I didn’t try the shirt on and I assumed the size I picked out would fit since it’s the same size I buy everywhere else.    When we got home, I tried on the shirt and it was way too big so I decided to head back to exchange for one size smaller.   I don’t understand how a numeric size of a shirt can change so wildly from manufacturer to manufacturer.   A Land’s End size 18 isn’t the same as a Ralph Lauren size 18 for some reason and it wasn’t a question of a “fitted” shirt vs non-fitted but I digress.

So on the return trip to Sears the next day I was vexed with what happened to me on the first day: idiot consumers.   I don’t know how we became  a society where making a purchase at the cash register has become so complicated and time consuming that it makes me want to walk out.   In this particular instance though I persevered.    I waited while hapless consumers couldn’t figure out how much the discount was for the items they were buying.  I don’t entirely blame the consumer here because when I made my first purchase, Sears printed out half a dozen coupons for various stuff like $5 off shoes when spending $50 or more and $10 off clothing when spending $60 or more.  It sounds simple and straightforward enough until you read the fine print which has dozens of exclusions.

I can only surmise the shoppers in the queue saw $10 off of something then when they got to the counter were flummoxed about why the discount wasn’t appearing on the register.  I finally made it through to the register and did the exchange.  Once again, I was given half a dozen coupons for $x of of $xx when shopping.  On my way out, I saw a couple of more shirts that I wanted to buy and since I had these new coupons I figured I’d just use them now so I pick the shirts and head back to the waiting queue for the register.  Lo and behold a large queue of consumers has reformed now and I can overhear the conversations, “why isn’t the coupon working” and “I think that’s wrong” from the other register.   Frustrated, I toss the shirts back onto the shelves and walk out.   The lady behind me looks at me sheepishly and says, “I’m ready to walk out too, they’re taking too long.”

And here ends the story.  Sears certainly lost a sale and possibly two if that lady left after I did and all because it can’t seem to make the shopping experience happen.   I’ve been long predicting bankruptcy for Sears and it’s only a matter of time in my view with experiences like this.

Here is the fundamental issue:  Why would any shopper put up with service and experience like this?  I can go over to Amazon.com or Overstock.com and within a few clicks, pick out clothes and have them shipped to my door (two day shipping and tax free).  The same is true for just about any time now as well.  I’ve had a 300lb safe ordered through Costco.com and personally delivered to my door, why would I want to run to a store, buy something like this then worry about lifting it into my home?


So recently I was enrolled in the TSA Pre Check.  I actually didn’t enroll myself and only guess that one of the many airlines I frequently travel and have status with gave me entry into this perk.  I was prepared to write a glowing review of the TSA pre check process and finally give some kudos to the TSA but was ironically too busy flying the past few weeks to write this post and then with the extended travel came the realization that the TSA Pre Check still has a long way to go.

For some background, the TSA Pre Check line doesn’t require you to remove your belt or shoes nor remove your computer from your laptop bag or backpack.  It is extremely convenient and it should be the way travel should be for most Americans.   Think of it as a “ez pay toll tag” you find on toll ways where you just whiz by instead of stopping to pay with cash.

So what’s my beef?

First, just because you are TSA Pre Check doesn’t mean you’ll always go through the hassle free line.   I stepped up to the various lanes (my airport now has one for elite/business first customers, one for Pre Check and one for regular people, oh yeah and one for pilots and employees) and was eager to simply “walk through” the TSA pre check line when the mob of TSA agents at the front told me to go to the business first line.  I told her I was “TSA Pre check” but still made me go through the other line where I had to take my belts and shoes off and take my laptop out of my bag.   I honestly don’t know why I had to go through the long line after getting TSA Pre Check but I guess that’s a mystery we’ll never know.

Secondly, on another trip, I had my teenage son with me and we both went through the TSA Pre Check once without any problems however we had left some items in a rental car and had to go out and back to the car rental place.  On the return to the pre check security lane, the TSA agent said my son would need to go through the other lane and couldn’t go with me.    Now my son just barely turned 13 so I’m not sure what “threat” the TSA thought he would be and it makes no sense that I can walk through the TSA pre Check but my child cannot.   Is this some type of sinister terrorist plot to have terrorist earn the TSA Pre Check so they can then bear some children and have them blow up planes by sneaking through the Pre Check lane?   I know, it doesn’t make any sense and neither does the dimwitted TSA leadership, agents, and their idiotic polices make any sense.

By now you’ve heard stories of 85 year old ladies being strip searched, mothers being asked to drink their own breast milk, 7 year old kids being frisked and other mindless nonsense by the TSA and little or no accountability for any of it as hundreds of millions of dollars  of waste and billions in lost productivity but hey at least we’re all “safe” right?  For every step forward, the TSA takes two steps back.  It’s time to demand some accountability and the first political party to do so will have my vote.

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