Thursday, March 29, 2007

DD Mamma Meme?!?!?

Dorky Dad was tagged with a meme by Mamma who in turned tagged me (me). Furthermore, maw-maw moo-moo may-may mi-mi mo-mo banana-fanna-fo-fo me-mi-mo-mo.

Ah, now that I have all that gibberish out of my system, here's the meme-du-jour:
Guidelines: List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what they are. They must be songs you are presently enjoying. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.
Spoil-sport that I am, I will not inflict this challenge on anyone else, because this is where memes go to die. Now, I realise that I will be forever erasing any slender chance I may have had of earning the coveted "Wizard's Hat" award by responding to this, but here are the current tunes.

Check Mr. Popeye by Eddie Bo. Along with the twist, the fly, the swim, the stroll and any other number of early 'sixties dances there was one called "The Popeye!" As far as I can tell it was a mutated version of the sailor's hornpipe jig. Well, here's a song that is mostly about Popeye, Bluto and Olive Oyl but manages to cram a musical quote of the "actual" Popeye dance tune into its final seconds.

Now Let's Popeye by Leroy Jones & His Band. Is this the best of all possible worlds or what? Here's a budget-label version (Giant Records a subsidiary of my beloved Hit Records) of the aforementioned Popeye dance.

Check Mr. Popeye by Leroy Jones & His Band. Schweet! A budget label cover version of our first tune! (Kiss that "Wizard's Hat" good-bye for ever and ever, world without end!!!!)

I'm Popeye The Sailor Man by Billy Costello. Billy Costello was the first "voice" of Popeye when the character made the transition from the funny pages to the movie screen back in 1933! Billy was actually imitating a trick voice used by a member of the Paul Whiteman orchestra, as far as I've been able to determine. Jack Mercer took over the voice in 1936 and was (for the most part) "the" official voice for the character for the rest of his life! (Jack died in 1984.)

I'm Popeye The Sailor Man by Jack Mercer. And here is the aforementioned Jack Mercer in a soundtrack lifted from the film "Popeye The Sailor Meets Sindbad The Sailor."

The Popeye Waddle by Don Covay. I was familiar with Mr. Covay's recording of "The Waddle" from an LP I've had for years called, "The History of Syracuse Music Volume One." Here Don sprinkled some Popeye-Dust on his Waddle and this was the result.

Pop-Pop-Pop Pie by The Sherrys. For those of us who "dig" the "happening sound" of early-sixties girl groups.

WHEW! You see, timing is everything. Dorky Dad tagged me just after I had listened to a CD-R I burned of all these POPEYE-related tracks from Phil X. Milstein's web site.

I mean, it's not like I sit around listening to cartoon music all the time or anything.

Well, some of the time, just not all of the time.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Calling Mary Poppins!

My wife's sister will be heading back to Florida late tomorrow afternoon and her parents will be arriving on Sunday. I work a four day week, so I'm off Friday through Sunday.


We have a disconnect on Thursday. Two of the nice folks who volunteered to help us out have had to beg off, due to illness. We have calls in to two other households that offered to help out, but as of yet, there's no word back.

Folks, we have a very active three year old that my wife is too sore to run after, right now. As far as I know, that "bring your daughter to work day" is not this week.


My fall-back plan is that Mary Poppins will swoop down out of the sky and take Mariel to the park so as to gaily gambol with chimney sweeps.

I see no alternative at this point...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cartoon Time!

What could be a better antidote for my current spate of health care-centric posts than an entry about cartoons?

I just received my copy of VCI Entertainment's "ALICE IN CARTOONLAND" DVD last week so I thought I'd share.

Back in the 1920s, before "Walt Disney" was an international household name, our boy produced a series of silent-era cartoons about a young girl (the titular "Alice") interacting with animated characters within a cartoon universe.

After Walt struck gold with Mickey Mouse, a distributor glommed onto these cartoons and added a soundtrack for distribution in the new sound-era of the 1930s. This collection is sourced from these "Raytone" prints. These original nitrate 35mm prints look sharper and have better soundtracks that the 16mm dupes I've seen over the years.

I'd give this collection my highest recommendation, except for one thing. VCI felt compelled to use something called DIGITAL VIDEO NOISE REDUCTION (DVNR) during their film-to-video transfer process. DVNR is peachy-keen for live-action films, as it can get rid of lines, scratches and dirt artifacts. Unfortunately, with cartoons, the DVNR mistakes the outlines of fast-moving drawings for something to be removed, so you end up with patchy, crappy looking drawings like the elephant on the left, below.

DVNR aside, a bonus that makes this collection a "keeper" in my book is the inclusion of three more silent-era-but-dubbed-with-sound subjects! These are the "Krazy Kids Kartunes!" (Note that VCI calls them "Krazy Kid Cartoons" most likely to avoid a KKK connotation!)

These sort of left-field finds are always of interest to me! There is DVNR on these shorts as well, but the effect isn't as severe as seen on the "Alice" comedies. Here are some random screen shots from "Hitting The Trail":

That's all the time we have for cartoons today, kiddies! Remember to tell your mother to look for the red, yellow and blue balloons on the wrapper of every loaf of Wonder Bread!


Friday, March 23, 2007

Mommy's Home!

Kickin' it post-op style!

My wife came home from the hospital this afternoon. Mariel's face was BEAMING at us through the front window when we pulled into the driveway. Unfortunately, she was a little confused that Mommy couldn't pick her up to hug her. Poor things!

My sister-in-law has been a God send in taking care of Mariel these past couple of days! YAY, Aunt Denise!

On the Health Insurance front: I talked to the lady mentioned in yesterday's post. She indicated that they have received the doctor's records for my wife and that since it appears that she was not diagnosed with this problem in the six months before we joined the plan, we MIGHT just get coverage. Their "nurse" has to review the records and give her OK first. I am guardedly optimistic. But at least that's a kind of optimism...

Thanks, again, for everyone's supportive comments! Maybe I can get back to posting about truly stupid stuff soon...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Wife's Surgery...

...was a success!

Turns out, the best-case scenario came to pass, i. e. it was a benign cyst and a hysterectomy was not required.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers, well-wishes, commiseration and all.

I missed a call from the insurance company today. Of course I got the person's voice mail and of course they did not call back. But, gee, how could they have possibly known we had surgery scheduled for today and wouldn't be home to answer the phone. OOOOOOOHHHH!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Here is my "recovered" post from this past weekend...

Let's say a telephone company charges you $90 a week for a complete service package. Local, Long Distance, High Speed Internet, Wi-Fi, the whole ball of proverbial wax.

Now let's say that you paid said $90 a week for four months without once using the service. Kinda stupid, but maybe you just didn't need to make a call during that period. Besides this is obviously an allegory for, oh, something.

Then one day, after that four months passes, you really, really need to make a phone call.

Huh, no dial tone? Service denied? Huh, there must be some mistake! They've been paid their $90 a week and only now am I trying to make one measly little call.

I'd better find out why. I know, I'll call customer service for an explanation of what it is I've been paying for.

"Hello, sucker! This is Ms. Screwyou and I'll be happy to explain it to you. You see, prior to signing up with our service you did not have an existing telecommunications service agreement. Therefore, even though you have been paying $90 a week for our service, we don't actually have to provide you any service until you've paid into the plan for a full year. This is because we say so."

"Oh, what a sweet deal! What do I do in the meantime?"

"Well, that's really not our problem, Mr. Loser. Might I suggest you use pay phones or buy some calling cards?"

"Can I terminate my contract and get a refund for all the money I have paid you for all the services I have been denied?"

"Oh, most certainly not! But, if you want to opt out on the one year anniversary date, you may. That way, you'll have paid us for a full year and we wouldn't ever have had to provide a single service. I hope you find this information is helpful."
Now, if you substitute "Healthcare Plan" for "Telecommunications Service Plan" you'll have a snapshot of the hell that is my life at this moment.

You see, my wife went for her annual OB-GYN checkup. She complained about a pain. The doctor had an ultrasound taken. There was "something" attached to an ovary. It looked like a cyst, but the Doctor felt an MRI was in order to better define what its is. She scheduled my wife for the MRI at 8:30 the following morning at Hospital A.

Then the Insurance Company called and told her that they won't allow an MRI, it has to be a CAT Scan! The appointment was then changed to 2:30 at Hospital B. My wife had to drink 3 pints of foul, gag-inducing contrast prior to the procedure.

Now here's the punchline: While my wife was at Hospital B having her scan, the Insurance company called the Doctor's office to say that they weren't going to allow payment for the CAT Scan because my wife's diagnosis is considered (by them) to be a pre-existing condition!

In fact, they have refused to pay for any of my wife's OB-GYN stuff on these same grounds! And, folks, she's looking at surgery to remove an 8.5 cm diameter cyst this Thursday.

The OB-GYN had us come by her office on Friday to fork over $1,500 in cash as a deposit toward the surgery. Which we did.

It's rough enough to have to consider the possible ramifications of a hideously large "something" growing inside of your wife (rhymes with "prancer") without being guaranteed that her convalescence will be in a dumpster outside of the county homeless shelter.

And not only am I paying $90 a week out of my own pocket to these crooks, but my employer is also paying hundreds of dollars a month to them on my behalf. With the exception of you, gentle blog reader, I hate all of humanity at this point.

I'll post any updates as I can, as they happen. At the very least, I'll let you know how the wife comes through the operation.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

POSTING PROBLEMS - Blogger is throwing away the text portion of my attempted posts. WTF?

If this text appears, then maybe we're back to NoRmAl!?!?!???

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How To Make A Dollar!

This popped up on my hotmail home page.

"Google, YouTube sued for $1..."

I guess the "..." indicates that there is more to the story. But, really, what else do we need to know?

I wonder what the winner will blow that dollar on? Of course, I'm sure he'll have to give his crack legal team their share.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I Just Lost A Co-Worker

I just lost a co-worker.

The police came and took him away last week.

Looks like he's not coming back.

Anybody else ever have this happen to them?

In High School, I sat next to the same guy in homeroom for three years. He was eventually arrested for breaking into a house and stabbing a woman to death. Seems he meant only to rob the house to get money to pay for his girlfriend's abortion. He thought the place was empty, but then the owner came downstairs from the bath she had been taking. He was later picked up raking leaves in his family's front yard.

He seemed like an OK guy in HR...

Let's hear your stories!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Generic Drug Caper

I'm sorry to tell you that my wife is sick right now. Big ol' bronchial / sinus infection with a low-grade fever. She saw the doctor and got a prescription for a generic antibiotic.

Now, we just recently got health insurance through my employer, so we're not listed as being covered at any pharmacies yet. No matter, as my wife took her 'script to WAL*MART "because their generic drugs are only $4!" (Under my drug plan, generics are a $10 co-pay, so why even go there, right?)

She had to run off to work, so she asked me to pick up her pills for her.

After dinner, I bundled up the "Li'l One" and headed out to the evil big-box store's pharmacy.

Egads, what a line at the pick-up counter! I ran over to the toy department and pulled a Baby Einstein puppet off the rack so as to amuse Mariel during our wait.

We get up to the counter and the exchange went something like this:

Me: I'm here to pick up a prescription for Davison.

Clerk: Here it is. That'll be $60.54, Mr. Davison.

Me: Um, aren't your generic drugs only $4?

Clerk: I'm sorry, not all our generic drugs are $4. Here's a formulary of the ones that are. Do you want this prescription?

Me: Well, let's see. My wife is sick and needs them, so if I don't get them, that's bad. On the other hand, she brought the script here specifically because of the alleged $4 price tag and if I overpay by 1,500%, that's bad, too. Aw, hell, here's my debit card - I don't want my wife to suffer!

Clerk: All righty (rings up transaction). Sorry about that, Mr. Davison.

Me: Ah, well, what can you do? (A blinding flash of the obvious strikes.) Hey, wait a minute! I HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE - HERE'S MY CARD!

Clerk: Oh, great! Here, let me enter your info and we can re-do the transaction. (Enters info into evil pharmacy computer.) There we go! That'll be $10, Mr. Davison.

Me: What about the $60.54 we just debited to my account?

Clerk: I can refund that amount in cash. The system won't let me credit debit accounts. (Hands over $60.54 in cash.)

I deposited the $60.00 at the ATM the next morning.

All's well that ends well, but I keep having the nagging feeling that this shouldn't have been so danged complicated!

Kudos, by the way, to the pharmacy clerk for working with me to iron this out.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Current Hits

Yep, it's time for another troll through the bidget bins. And, lookie here! It's my favorite label -HIT RECORDS!

Here's an interesting one; TWENTY-SIX songs on one LP! How'd they do it? By creating two weird cuts that excerpt 30 second snippets from 14 different songs, that's how! The other 12 are full-length versions. The question is: WHY?

I wonder if this collection of Country & Western tunes is the same weird medley deal, as described above? (I don't have this one, but the other HIT RECORDS C&W cuts I have heard are, predictably, top-notch!)

Their "Current Hits" series is a favorite of mine. They made an effort to do some interesting, albeit, low-budget, cover designs. Here are but two volumes.

I just bought this one off of eBay, so I don't know if this is 20 full-length hits, or what. HIT put out a whole series of LPs that simply showed the song titles with no attempt to create illustrations or other graphics. Some are even more austere than this!


I can only imagine what those NASHVILLE session cats sounded like in their attempts to ape the "Lizard King!" Was there any indecent exposure involved..?


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Generic Food

All this talk about "recession" has me thinking about the early 1980s.

One of the products of that time period was "generic food." You know, you have premium-priced "name brand" products, e.g. Peter Pan Peanut Butter, and budget-priced "store brand" products, e.g. Great Value Peanut Butter. Well this was a category beneath "store brand!"

Initially, the packaging was solid black printing on a yellow background, like the can of "Beer" pictured, here. It kind of depended on which store you went to. Some had black printing on stark white labels, as shown below.

You had to pick and choose as to which items were "ok" to buy as a generic. Paper towels and spaghetti sauce stand out in my memory as being really crappy; I'd have to go with the store brands on these.

Canned vegetables, coffee, coffee filters, pasta, laundry detergent, shampoo and glass cleaner were all products I'd gleefully grab off the generic shelf.

My favorite part about the genric food craze was opening my kitchen cupboard and seeing that all the labels matched! It was so cool; kind of like living in a never-ending "Brand-X" commercial.

And, oh yes, I would buy a case of long-neck generic bottled beer ($3.99 a case, folks!) for my monthly film parties. It was nice and watery - just the way I like it!