Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lennox Lewis with the Tweet of the Day

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Parental Obeservation #3

originally published on Ambiance January 14, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Every day in which you don’t eat their head must be counted as at least a partial success.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Strange sights in the skies....

Last Thursday I took my daughter to Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. The park has a nice lake, a fountain, a good playground, a good field for playing, statuary and the like. A truly pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

But while we were walking from the car to the playground an ominous thrumming engine noise started. I looked across the lake expecting to see drag racers or the like. Instead I saw a large prop-driven plane come over the horizon. We were getting buzzed by a B-17! Yikes! Fortunately no bombs were dropped on us.

Shortly before that we had seen a blimp in the sky. But that was understandable, as the NCAA South Regional was in town.

Incidentally, it was a big weekend in Orlando. Besides the NCAA Men's Basketball Tourney, complete with overall number one the University of Florida Men's Basketball Team, we also had the Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Tournament out at Bay Hill, the Winter Park Art Festival (which is a BIG DEAL here locally), and a visit by the President.

Which meant that shortly after downtown Orlando got buzzed by a blimp and a B-17, Air Force One was landing down at Orlando International Airport.

And this morning my daughter and I capped the whole weekend off with a little more fun. We dropped my wife off at work this morning, and as we were pulling out of the parking lot at her office my daughter (not yet four years old) said, "Daddy, that's the biggest blimp I've ever seen!" I looked back to see what she could possibly be looking at, and she was looking straight up. I opened up the screen over the moon-roof on the car, and about 200 feet straight above me (maybe less) was the gondola for the MetLife blimp! And it was going the direction we were headed!

We got a little in front of it and then parked to watch it go over again. And then I decided to give chase!

Now a car in good working order is much faster than a blimp. But the blimp doesn't have to wait for stop lights, or traffic, nor does it have to follow the road. If anything, the blimp had the advantage. We kept up for a little while, but it started pulling away as we hit traffic on Forest City Road. It started getting well ahead when I took Semoran heading west. The blimp was headed north, and I thought if I could get to 441 (Orange Blossom Trail), I could catch up and keep up for a while. Alas, it took to long to get to OBT, and the blimp was gone. I went north for a little while, and I do think I caught a glimpse of it a couple of times, but it wasn't meant to be.

And then on the way back, we passed the little airport outside of Apopka. And sitting outside one of the hangers was what looked like an old DC-3 painted up as a Pan Am plane. I wasn't expecting that! A plane made by a company that doesn't exist anymore (well, it kind of does, as part of Boeing, but not really), done up for an airline that doesn't exist any more, at an airport that most people that live in Central Florida have never heard of. A strange sight to end the weekend.

UPDATE: And my wife reminds me that Miley Cyrus is performing tonight here in town. Unfortunately, no bombs are likely to be dropped on her.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Deep Thoughts on the Crimean Crisis

originally published on Ambiance, March 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm

 From Twitter no less! And certainly no more.

(Outis is my Twitter handle.)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Parental Observation #2

originally published on Ambiance, January 14, 2014 at 6:46 pm

It’s always funnier when it happens to someone else. (This is more widely applicable to the human condition, of course.)

Example: My wife sent me an email earlier this afternoon, which read:

I saw your post on Ambiance. ([Amba] shared it on FB.) I laughed and laughed. Then I realized you wrote it.
We’ve all been there.

Parental Observation #1

originally published on Ambiance, January 14, 2014 at 2:54 pm

The “Terrible Twos” are merely a marketing ploy by three year-olds, designed to throw parents off the track of how bad three year-olds behave. You see, by the time a child hits three they become very capable, in an absolute sense. By this I mean they know how things work: doors, locks, caps on spice bottles, plumbing fixtures, ladders, chain saws, lathes, Machiavellian interpersonal machinations, etc. They can do a lot with those skills, in an absolute sense. And they all have the same kind of outlook on law and order that one would expect of devotees of the Anarchist Cookbook. Do you have any idea of the harm an anarchist can do with spice bottle caps and a lathe? If you answer yes, you have probably been a parent of a three year-old at some point in your life.


originally published on Ambiance, February 20, 2014 at 8:09 pm

The rantings of one very irate man to follow soon.

Quite a bit later, certainly later than “soon” by any reasonable definition…

First, some background.

My mother was born in 1927. She worked at Walt Disney World Resorts from 1980 to 2000. I was covered under her medical insurance for several years while I was still a minor. Eventually Mom retired with a (great) retiree medical benefit.

I was born in 1968. I worked at Walt Disney World Resort from 2003 until 2008.

My mother died in September of 2011.

Then the adventure begins!

Shortly after Mom died, my sister and I received her death benefit payment from Disney. It wasn’t a lot, but it came to the correct person, with the correct SS#.

Then I started getting notices from the WDW benefits center telling me that I was eligible for a medical benefit. I called them, told them I certainly wasn’t eligible, and they said it was cleared up.

I kept getting notices about signing up for my medical benefits. Grrr. Called again, eventually, told them they were wrong. Eventually they figured out that two of me were in the system, one with a SS# that was off by one digit. Someone had goofed up and created a phantom me. They told me that they had it resolved.

I kept getting notices about signing up for my medical benefits. Grrr. Called again.

Lather, rinse, repeat a couple of times.

I kept getting notices about signing up for my medical benefits. GRRR. Called again some time last summer. Allegedly got everything settled, killed the phantom me, had everything under the correct me, had everything cancelled.

I KEPT GETTING NOTICES ABOUT SIGNING UP FOR MY MEDICAL BENEFITS. GRRR. Gave up calling, decided, “Fuck it [Something much more polite than "Fuck it", I'm sure], I’ve done what I need to do, they need to figure this out on their own.”

I kept getting notices about signing up for my medical benefits. Didn’t care any more, ignored them, moved on with my life.

January 2, 2014 rolls around and I finally go to the doctor about an issue that had been bothering me for almost two months. Samples are taken, and samples are dropped off at a lab. (Don’t ask for details – you really don’t want details.)

Now, unemployed man that I am, my wife’s medical insurance covers me. Turns out that the same company that covers my wife’s employer is the same company that handles the administration of Disney’s medical insurance here in Florida. (Disney self-insures, so they actually pay for everything themselves, but it uses an insurance company to handle everything for a variety of reasons. This is common for large employers.)

So when I went to the lab I made certain that they had my current insurance information.

A couple of weeks later, we get a couple of notifications of benefits from the insurance company. My wife looks at them and realizes that my Disney insurance has been billed.


Now, feeling like Bruce Banner right before he turns green, I call the Disney benefits people AGAIN. Eventually (and I can’t remember if this was on the first or second call, or maybe a third call), we determine the nature of the problem. Namely, Disney has me listed as my mother’s surviving spouse, thus entitled to her (quite excellent) medical coverage.

This after numerous attempts to clear things up. This after many attempts from me explaining to them that they were in error and needed to fix this. This after the Disney benefits folks told me on several occasions that they had cleared everything up.

So now I find out that I had been eligible for the benefit, according to Disney, since 1/1/2012, and that the insurance had been active (despite my not paying them anything) since 1/1/2013. So now I’m suddenly scared that more than two lab fees (and a visit to the doctor’s office, it turns out) have been billed to the wrong insurance policy. Because you know that would be a true and royal clusterfuck [something much more polite than "clusterfuck", I'm sure], and that I would be on the hook for it, quite possibly criminally, despite the fact that I hadn’t done anything wrong. They take insurance fraud seriously in Florida. Uh, unless you’re the governor, I mean.

Seriously, I don’t know why Disney feels like they need to fuck me all over again (having already fired me early in the recession, thus ruining my chances of ever holding down a job of any kind again, on the flimsiest of reasons by a jack-ass who gambled on his work computer using aliases of founders of the Ku Klux Klan to do it), but my God they have decided to fuck my all over again. Seriously, what is wrong with those goddamned bastards? How fucking evil, stupid, and/or mean are they that they are insisting on repeatedly screwing me over? Seriously, is there anybody with that company that is competent left, or are they dimply this fucking mean?

I began to ponder the wisdom of Murphy and Finagle.

(I told you I was pissed irate.)

Anyway …

They tell me they’ve finally got it cleared up again. So they tell me. They really do. They practically pinky-swore on the matter.

Then, yesterday, I get a letter from the goddamned absolutely lovely Disney benefits people, telling me they’ve been trying to contact me, and I need to talk to them about my fucking (I got nothin’) benefits with the Walt Disney Company, of which I HAVE NONE.

So after my wife gets home, I call them. Mind you, I’m very polite when I make these calls. The people to whom I’m speaking probably aren’t the ones fucking me over responsible, and besides, you can catch more flies with honey. Or insert the cliched bit of tripe of you choice for that last clause. Whatever.

So I call them. And I try to find out what’s going on. I explain my situation to them again.

And then they tell me that the reason they’re calling is because they want to know if I’ve signed up for Medicare yet.


“Okay, do not slam the phone against the wall,” I tell myself, “the phone isn’t responsible, and besides you own it.”

“Okay, do not try to bash you head through a wall,” I tell myself, “the wall isn’t responsible; besides, you own it. Furthermore, if you somehow break your skull, they’ll probably bill the wrong fucking [absolutely lovely, I'm sure] insurance again.”


Anyway, eventually one of the women on the other end of my communication network connection (because it took two of them because the first one couldn’t get her computer to work) finally tells me that they show I’m not covered. So this was all about what, exactly? I don’t even bother to ask.

So I get off the phone, assured that I’m  not covered by anything (I’m waiting to find out they’ve cancelled all my coverages, even the coverage I have through my wife’s employer), and I say to my wife,
“Congratulations honey, you’re married to a man who has magically aged at least 22 years, is a bigamist, and an incestuous bastard to boot.”

To which she cheerily replied, “Oh, you’re just like Oedipus!”

To which I thundered,



UPDATE on March 14, 2014: I'm getting notices again, this time wanting me to enroll in the Wellness program. Seriously, what do I have to do to not get the benefits I'm not entitled to?