Great Success [NOT 12/12/22]

Hi, friends!

How did your Monday go? Let’s talk success. Great success. Any success.

What have you succeeded in lately?

My dumb self bought a pack of Christmas stamps at Costco a few years ago. I send out about 25 Christmas cards a year, and I thought it was a 50 pack when the nice worker asked me if I needed stamps. NOPE. Turns out it was 5 books of stamps, each with 20 stamps. I finally used up the last one of those writing my Christmas cards out over the weekend! I’m disproportionately excited about this, what can I say, I live a simple life.



    • When New York still had subway tokens (and they did up until the mid-90s) they used to announce fare increases in advance and this caused stampedes at the token windows (you had to buy them from a person behind bullet-proof glass; there were no vending machines. The point of the public sector in New York is to provide maximum employment and minimal efficiency.) They would ration the tokens, one 10-pack per customer, but you could just buy one at your entrance station, buy one at your destination, do this in reverse, or, as I did, you might pass any number of subway stations on a walk along an east-west street, like 14th Street in my case, and pop in at each one and if the lines weren’t too long start collecting your packs.

      My friends and I used to make a game of this, sort of like that short-lived craze where you’d collect Pokemons somehow with your phone or something? I never got that and never knew anyone lame enough to actually participate so I don’t know how it worked. Anyway, come the day of the fare hike we would report our hauls. The numbers used to reach into the hundreds. Like it does with everything modern technology ruined this and we now have MetroCards and now “tap-n-go” systems. I’m sure those can be hacked, it’s the MTA after all, but it was so much fun amassing token hoards.

        • Oh yes. And there was one station I knew of, I forget which one, which had this floor-to-ceiling metal revolving door/barrier, these are common, if you’ve ever been to New York you’ve seen them. There was a guy there who, if you gave him a dollar, stuck a penknife into the token slot to release the lock and you could go through. I forget what the fare was, maybe $1.25? Then we elected Giuliani and almost all of this stuff went away. It’s back though, with a vengeance, and not in a fun way, but in a “crazy homeless person with umpteen priors will push you onto the subway tracks” kind of way.

  1. I don’t write out a lot of checks (even I have embraced 21st-century online payment systems) but I need to every so often. Problem is, I keep forgetting where I put put the books they come in, so I’ll load one set into my checkbook and forget where I put the other four from the pack. So then I order more. Today I had a follow-up medical appointment and I was told to bring my self-discharge papers from my “Escape From New York” adventure last weekend. While rummaging around looking for that I managed to unearth all these checks and realized I have enough to last me for the next, oh, 300 years or so. Luckily there are no overlaps so they’ll all be honored. Did you know that if you wrote out check 1546 in 1993 and then, because you’ve haphazardly reordered, write out another check 1546 from the same account in 2022 it won’t be honored?

    • We’re getting random bills from my wife’s surgery and I’m writing all the checks, since they’re not on autopay. It’s just crazy how the US system works, since they all seem to bounce around as credits and debits appear. 

      So we’ll get checks written back to us for amounts like $21.71, and then new bills will arrive for $101.17, and eventually things stop.

      But the libertarian fantasy that people can actually go shopping for health care and choose the most economical price/quality option is nuts. Nobody knows what things cost.

      • Oh, tell me about it. My 2022 medical bills folder is bulging and it’s still doesn’t add up to enough to allow me to deduct anything from my taxes. Despite my check bonanza I don’t have any postage stamps, and the mail service in my neighborhood is a city-wide scandal anyway, so I spend hours on the phone until I get through to a human in a billing department so I can pay a bill by credit card for–here, let me grab a recent one–$16.72.

        I did get a big one at the beginning of this year for something like $1800. When I called to pay that one I said, “Could I set up some kind of payment system and pay this off gradually?” Yes, and it’s interest-free! So on the 13th of every month (that will be tomorrow) I call a direct number I was given and pay a little less than $100. They granted me an 18-month interest-free loan. With inflation at historic highs compared to the last 40 years that bill shrinks in real terms with every passing month. That’s a way to keep health care costs down.

    • The checks thing VERY much depends on your bank, Cousin Matty!😉💖

      If you still bank at a place from a tiny-little-podunk-y town, they WILL still honor those checks because, “Those numbers are really more for YOU, the customer, to keep track–we use the routing numbers, and just go by the amount in your account, as to whether or not they’re cashable.”

      The lead cashier at my hometown branch was the one who told me that–she’s known my family longer than *I’ve* known my family (went to High School with my Aunties😉)… and she told it to me, when I asked about whether or not I needed to update my address, for writing out my rent checks, when we moved into this building three years ago😁

  2. I saw this fantastic old Sesame Street bit.

    And to balance that out with the necessary anti-Twitter drumbeat, Musk got booed savagely at a Chappelle show. These dummies are so insulated from the real world.

  3. Hey I could use some gift suggestions! I got a senior at one of the local nursing homes and I need to get him a few small gifts. He was described as a music lover who also likes trivia and comics. Calls himself a hippy but is a devout Catholic.

    I found a music trivia desk calendar, which seemed like a fun start. But if folks have ideas, please let me know. I’ve got about $20-30 left in the budget for him. 🙂

    • …do you know what kind of comics…like comic books or comic strips?

      …if it’s strips an omnibus of peanuts or a.n. otter classic strip might go down well

      …if it’s “serious” comics…persepolis (marjane satrapi) or march (about selma by john lewis though someone else did the comics – was a trilogy but may be available as a single volume)…or if he’s that kind of hippy maybe some robert crumb or the fabulous furry freak brothers (with or without fat freddy’s cat) or something…maus is probably a bit of a downer for a christmas present…but there’s always V for vendetta

      …or if not maybe you could get them hooked on saga…or love & rockets…or…I’m just going to back away muttering to myself about how I’ve clearly forgotten some much better suggestion, now

      • Unfortunately I got no details beyond “likes comics” which is… pretty useless to be honest. I mean maybe he likes Peanuts. Maybe he likes Frank Miller work. Maybe he likes Spiderman. SO DIFFERENT.

        • …very true…even “hippy comics” is potentially a minefield so I was sort of listing the first things that sprang to mind

          …there’s a thing by a guy called chris ware called “jimmy corrigan: the smartest kid in the world” which iirc was sort of interesting as an object, if that makes sense…like the dust jacket folded out to poster-size & had a bunch of stuff on it

          …dave mckean (the guy who did the original covers for the sandman comics) did a short run called cages that’s sort of art-house meta & looks good

          …but if you don’t know if they’d actually like it I don’t know if it’s worth it to find out?

      • Speaking of Saga… Are you up to date? I’ve been waiting for them to finish so that I can binge on them. But I haven’t kept tabs on it. Going to look it up now and see where they are at.

        Edited to add that Volume 10 (comprised of books #55-60) is now available. The series picks up again in January. I know what I’m getting myself for Xmas.

  4. Yeah, I got nothing.  Marry above your pay grade & have good swimmers.  Good thing I didn’t have a son, that would be my advice.  My girls are that high bar every guy should shoot for.  I guess I can brag about that.

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