John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Credit Card Fraud

jyb_musingsI was just notified I have been–again–a victim of credit card fraud.

Someone in NY manually charged some product from Nevada that costs 99 cents.

I thought it was kinda pitiful. If I had met the man on the street and he’d told me about the 99 cents and that he was about to commit a major crime for it, I might have given him the money myself. Especially if it would have meant he would have left my credit card alone and I wouldn’t have to go through getting a new one. Heck, that would be worth maybe $1.50 to me. Just to avoid the hassle.

If you are out there and thinking of stealing my credit card information to buy something less than $1.50 (like this last guy), talk to me first. Let’s see if we can’t work something out. If you are interested in more than that, we are going to be negotiating for a while and I am not willing to be shaken down for more than, ohhh, $2. Tops!!

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: The New News Channel — A Proposal

jyb_musingsI am at a point in my life where I want a different kind of news station. One that currently doesn’t exist. One that is neither liberal nor conservative. One that is neither substantive nor opinionated. One that neither reports the real news nor comments on it. One that neither leaves me informed nor angry. One that has anchors and reporters that are neither beautiful nor all that interesting. Nor loud or charming.

I want a new news station that is presented by ordinary looking people who are slightly overweight, middle-aged and have kind yet forgettable facial features. And who don’t read the news but just talk to us the way we talk to each other when we aren’t on the news. Instead of reporting on emergencies or potential military or health crisis, I would prefer the new news channel focuses more on things like recipes and sales at local hardware stores and live coverage of people renovating a room in their house or washing their car (or hair). Maybe something about a couple divorcing in our community and what others are saying about them. Something on calories but not too much emphasis on health and none on beauty beyond stories of how limited cosmetic surgery can sometimes be successful but usually isn’t necessary. A nice regular feature story about some local business or organization that is doing better than expected and doing some good for the community too. Nothing about disease except how cures are progressing–and regular reports about people in our community who are feeling better than they were last week when they thought they were coming down with something. Nothing about war except noting we don’t have any near our neighborhood as of this afternoon. Not much on the weather except noting fair and mild days and maybe a brief comment about how it “could be worse” during a bad weather spell. Not many commercials unless they are really clever and not repeated over and over. You know the ones I am talking about –that are almost like an art form.

Not a lot of culture reporting but enough to be able to keep up in conversations with viewers’ younger bosses to let them know we know about the same cultural current events information that they do and a lot more history. A daily report on trends in meditation practices. Election results can be reported but only after 2am and at least a year after they occurred–and the reports have to have the German Chicken Song theme playing in the background to keep viewers from taking them too seriously and spending hours the next day writing about the elections on Facebook.

I would like for the news to start with someone who reminds us of Walter Cronkite meets Fred Rogers (of Mr Rogers Neighborhood). With about an 80-20 split favoring Rogers. And close with someone reminding us of a likable and sincere version of Martha Stewart (I like her voice) meets Fred Rogers –with a similar 80-20 split favoring Rogers. And in between a long list of nondescript female and male reporters who remind us of Fred Rogers meets Fred Rogers. And maybe opening with a song and partial undressing like in the original Mr Rogers Neighborhood. But nothing racy. Just shoes and a jacket. Just shoes if the guy looks a lot like Cronkite.

As for the close, it doesn’t really matter. The main thing is that it ends with the sense that nothing that happened that day in the news really matters that much—except what each of us did in our own lives. And that that is really the only “news” worth knowing or thinking about today. And pan to a miniature train choo-chooing as the credits roll.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Cancelling a Concert Tour

jyb_musingsI have some idea now what it feels like to cancel a concert tour.

The past week I have been listening to Pearl Jam every morning.

It has become too exhausting for me to tap into my inner Eddie Vedder every morning for an entire week.

This morning I decided I needed to take a break from listening to Pearl Jam due to exhaustion.

I am going to listen to Paul Simon instead. Who is smaller and has a much softer persona to tap into than Eddie Vedder. I am not cancelling the entire Pearl Jam tour, so to speak. I just need a few days of Paul Simon to rest and recuperate.

I may be ready to listen to Pearl Jam again as early as next week — especially if I focus on listening to Simon’s later works, which are akin to eating chicken soup. And may help restore my voice which has become a little scratchy from the Pearl Jam singing this past week.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: First Thoughts

jyb_musingsThey say go with your first thought on things.

I was never sure what that meant until this morning.

On my way to meet someone for an early morning business meeting, I got an email from someone else that he couldn’t make our meeting — a meeting I had set for the exact same time and completely forgotten about –because he had “something unexpected come up at work.”

1) My first thought was, “Oh wow! Thank you, God! That would have been humiliating. I wrote an email response telling him “No problem,” and that we could reschedule.

2) My second thought was I should put a little hint of disappointment in my response email to make him feel guilty for cancelling at the last minute.

3) My third thought was “Wonder who the heck he is meeting with who is so important that he had to cancel a meeting with me” –that I had admittedly forgotten and couldn’t make myself because I was meeting with someone else too.

4) My fourth thought was, “Maybe you should just email the response from your first thought and keep the rest to yourself.”

So, always go with your first thought. And if you can’t do that hold off until the fourth thought. And don’t dwell on the second and third.

A good rule of thumb is that genuine gratitude is always better than false indignation.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Credit Card Fraud

jyb_musingsI was just notified I have been–again–a victim of credit card fraud.

Someone in NY manually charged some product from Nevada that costs 99 cents.

I thought it was kinda pitiful. If I had met the man on the street and he’d told me about the 99 cents and that he was about to commit a major crime for it, I might have given him the money myself. Especially if it would have meant he would have left my credit card alone and I wouldn’t have to go through getting a new one. Heck, that would be worth maybe $1.50 to me. Just to avoid the hassle.

If you are out there and thinking of stealing my credit card information to buy something less than $1.50 (like this last guy), talk to me first. Let’s see if we can’t work something out. If you are interested in more than that, we are going to be negotiating for a while and I am not willing to be shaken down for more than, ohhh, $2. Tops!!

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Better than Gingko!

jyb_musingsMemory supplements may or may not help improve mmemory. But I have discovered a way to make you feel again like your mind is a steel trap.

Going off a prescription medication that has listed as a side effect “Memory.” It wasn’t clear from the side effect list if “memory” was affected negatively or positively as a possible side effect. Turns out it is negative. Fortunately, however, “Not caring about having memory loss” was NOT another side effect. So, my doctor took me off it.

It’s nice having the memory again of a 51 year old rather than a 91 year old. Like taking off ankle weights after wearing them all day, I feel like I can mentally run and jump again like never before. I feel ready to re-memorize all the books of the Bible, memorize the alphabet backwards (just for the heck of it), and learn a new language on Rosetta Stone in one day (but probably not today).

I probably won’t do any of these things. In fact, I am sure I won’t. But it is nice to have the thought that I might and could. Even better than the results I had with Gingko which I bought several years ago but admittedly never gave a full chance. (Full disclosure: I couldn’t remember where I put the bottle.)

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Intersex Communication

jyb_musingsGetting advice from my wife on the differences in how men and women communicate.

Rebecca suggests if you are mad at someone to just to ignore them. But I worry that the other person (the person you are mad at and ignoring) isn’t aware that my silence means I am mad at them.

I asked if it was possible to follow up with an email explaining my anger strategy.

Rebecca said only if it is a guy you are mad at.

I prefer communicating like a male. It keeps me from having to track down old email addresses, if nothing else.

===

t’s your loss, Honey.

My wife is working on something in our bedroom and asked me if I had time to help by doing her a favor….. I explained that I had a pile of busywork to finish and couldn’t help right now. Rebecca understood and I went back to my office in our home.

But before getting down to work, I saw I had left a basketball in the office from earlier. Feeling fidgety, I picked up the ball and tried to spin it on my finger, like I used to as a boy. I was a little rusty at first… but by the third try it was the ball spinning equivalent of riding a bicycle. You don’t forget how to do it.¬†

This was exciting to me.

So I took the ball and walked into our bedroom where Rebecca was working away and I started tossing the ball up and down while pacing casually and trying to think of how to bring up the topic most naturally, “Would you like to see me spin a basketball on my finger?”

But before I could ask anything, Rebecca looked up at me and said, “What are you doing in here? I am busy now and I thought you told me you had work to do.”

“I do.” I said. “Have work to do.” I paused and acted like I had been working and was confused how I ended up back in our bedroom holding a basketball. I looked at her and thought one last time about asking her if she wanted to see me spin the basketball on my finger.

“What do you want?” Rebecca asked. “Seriously? Are you just going to stand there? I really have a lot to do now.”

I just shrugged and said, “I have a lot to do too.” And mumbled under my breath “Probably even more than you” as I slinked out of the room with my basketball.

And back in my office I made a decision. I am never showing Rebecca how I can spin a basketball on my finger. Never. Ever. Even if she begs me to.

Unless she begs a whole lot. Over and over and over again. Then maybe.

But tonight, it’s her loss.

Lauren Mayer: Music Hath Charms To Soothe The Defeated Political Party

While I have the utmost respect for this site’s bipartisanship, readers know my views skew quite left. ¬†However, I like to think that humor and music have bipartisan appeal – I grew up in Orange County (the red state in the middle of California . . . . cue rim shot), and even my most rabidly rightwing classmates will tell me they enjoy my videos, even if they know I’m totally wrong about everything.

So in that spirit, this week’s song, while still partisan, is an effort to please everyone. ¬†Republicans can gloat over the political mistakes by Democrats I cite, Democrats can appreciate the strategic advice going forward, apolitical types can enjoy the bouncy catchy tune, and everyone can laugh at this middle-aged suburban Jewish mother imitating an adorabale pop star who is only 20.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Life as Dress Rehearsal?

jyb_musingsSomething very thought provoking just occured to me.

What if life really is just a dress rehearsal? If so, how many “live” performances are we talking about and will we be expected to perform in all of them? And what kinds of snacks will be offered at intermission?

Could we maybe do just one full performance and just do some informal Q & A on the other nights?

I mean, we aren’t even finished with the dress rehearsal yet and it is hard sometimes to stay focused and remember my lines. I am not even sure we need an ending that ties up all the lose ends. Too many loose ends to keep track of anyway. Just go with a Sopranos type ending and wrap it.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Bugs

bugsParking next to this truck this morning while eating my breakfast made me think about some things.

First, staring at gigntic bugs while eating is a terrific way to suppress your appetite.

jyb_musingsSecond, although I am a Democrat, I am OK with outright killing these insects rather than just capturing and imprisoning them in hopes of eventually reforming them and returning them to society.

Especially the giant one on the left that I felt like was staring at me during breakfast.

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