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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
I am reminded of the observation put forth by a very well know lyricist and composer pair well over 100 years ago:

"Don't the days seem lank and long when all goes right and nothing goes wrong
And isn't your life extremely flat when you've nothing whatever to grumble at"

or, as my grandmother used to say:

" I can carry anyone else's troubles to the top of the hill easily but I can barely carry my own down"

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
Joined
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3,404 Posts
Tamiya tricks: I recently visited a hobby shop that was running a "going out of business" sale (all too common these days) and stocked up on some jars of Tamiya acrylics in the colors I use for driver painting and details. When I added them to my paint rack, a multi-step wood construction with jar-sized recesses, I was astonished to note that while they looked just like my older ones, they were about half-sized!

My complaint: Mfrs who put through stealth price increases by reducing content.

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
One of the consequences of a recent domestic re-alignment was the sale of my house and a move (solo) to an apartment. There are both +'s and -'s. On the negative side, my shop space is significantly smaller (my small mill with 3 axis DRO the major casualty) but, on the other hand, I no longer have 3000 sq. meters of lawn and garden to look after, resulting in more time to spend in the smaller workshop.

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
Another modern corporate outrage: As a result of many years of business travel, I have a vast store of "frequent flyer" miles (mostly on United). When my daughter and her friend started to discuss a London holiday, I offered to use some of these for their tickets. Seeking to make things as simple as possible, I suggested that I simply transfer the requisite awards to her account and take myself out of the loop. As I worked through the on-line process, I was suddenly informed that the desired transfer carried a "fee" of $1200 - almost the cost of two round-trip tickets! Naturally, we have reverted to Plan A - I will book their travel.

There really can't be much cost in changing two numbers in the UAL data base. The only explanation is pure greed - they do it because they can!

EM

(former United customer)
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
TBH, I'm not the sort of person who goes to the doctor willingly. The symptoms I have have been on-going since before Christmas. I'm fairly certain (my wife has been a nurse for over 40 years, and agrees with me) that some form of surgery will be required. The thing is, you can't get a referral to the local surgical department until your GP has satisfied him (or her) self that he can do nothing to resolve the symptoms.
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The last time I had something similar it took over a year from the first GP consultation to actually (after 2 cancellations) having the surgery done.
And this is one of the systems that is routinely held up as a model that we (USA) should emulate. FWIW, I grew up in a physician's family, spent my entire career in health care (teaching in med school, anti-viral research, diagnostics R&D and, in my last role before retirement, assessing opportunities in health care world-wide). Standards and practices vary widely - and I am speaking only of the "developed" world. Looking at the science and availability, if I were destined to be ill and could choose where, my first choice would be the USA - my second? - Australia

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
Well you missed good one?

As a second or first choice? Go on holiday to NZ. Accidental injuries there are free for tourists.

As an aside my parents are 92 and 86 receptively. I've never heard them complain about the service from the NHS. My father was on a six month replacement hip list but decided he may not live another six months so he got the same surgeon to do it privately. That was a few years ago,
NZ is one of the places that I (regrettably) did not visit.

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
But it's daft to compare a system that is being seriously undermined, and underfunded, with a system that costs twice as much. Especially when the American system seems to exclude 24 million people.
Raw numbers can be misleading. There may be 24 mm without health insurance but this does not mean they are without health care. A very large number use the hospital emergency room as a primary health care provider - inefficient, absurdly expensive but they are looked after, in many cases, in some of the best facilities in the world. We also have demographic and cultural issues - seeing to a bullet riddled drug gang member in intensive care is very expensive! Add to that a layer of PC driven foolishness (sex change surgery for prison inmates) and an out-of-control legal system that fills late night television ads for ambulance chasing lawyers. We have a very large population of illegal aliens. What is my responsibility to them?

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
I just "bought" my daughter and her friend a couple of round trip tickets to Heathrow for a summer holiday. I used some accumulated frequent flyer miles (there were some very cheap RT tickets available also) It was all very smooth until the final totting up. The UK departure tax is about half the cost of a purchased ticket!

Terminal 5 is very nice and all that but really?

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
I don't know about the situation in other places but here, in the US, the university system has been essentially destroyed by by the demand that no one should ever be made to feel bad by anything. If a scheduled speaker is likely to offer views with which you disagree, riot to prevent them from speaking. If you are male, any contact with a female better be accompanied by an explicit, notarized contract covering all possible permutations of the relationship. If the outcome of an election distresses you, a mourning sanctuary will be provided where you can eat cookies and be attended by a phalanx of grief counselors.

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
Definitely a grump today.

. The tape. which in theory is supposed to mask the bit it covers....you know, why it's called masking tape.....has let loads of paint through (not around the edges) and the windows are now blotchy blue! Even carefully using a bud with turps on it hasn't left them totally clear.
I have successfully dealt with misted overspray on cleared molded parts by careful application of plastic polishing compound.

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
Those familiar with sailing dinghy racing will recognise the term: "hiking." It involves sitting on the rail and leaning far back to get one's weight as far outboard as possible to help keep the boat upright and, in the extreme, avoid capsize. Some years ago I raced a Thistle class boat - 17' long with a 24' mast and an all-up weight of 500 lbs. It was, in the terms of the sport, "tender." One of the participants in the club had, as a crewmember, an attractive young lass whose construction helped move her weight well outboard. She also always wore white bathing suits which were invariably wetted by the spray. Passing that boat required making difficult choices!

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
Really in a fit tonight , picked up my new car today, well truck , 5.7 liter Hemi had 6 kilometers on it, really happy with it but I can't help but notice it now has 165 kilometers on it I hate it when the mileage goes up But with 400 hp I guess it's going to go up, just not sure how fast.
In the middle 50's my daily driver was a 1951 Chrysler Imperial Convertible - the first of the "Hemi" V-8s (~5.4 L) - the car itself was formidable: 18' long and 5500 lbs. I was driving it on the New Jersey Turnpike-just opened and more or less unrestricted speed. If I looked carefully I could see the fuel gauge move!
 

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Al Schwartz
Joined
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3,404 Posts
"Oh, don't the days seem lank and long

when all goes right and nothing goes wrong

And isn't your life extremely flat

when you've nothing whatever to grumble at"

My solution for clutter:

1. Divorce

2.Sell house

3.Move to 2 bedroom apartment

4.Photo table with lighting + eBay account

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
Joined
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3,404 Posts
For many years part of my business and scientific responsibility was assessing opportunities, acquisitions and market directions in health care on a world wide basis. My travels were extensive, not exhaustive, covering Europe, UK, North America and the Pacific rim. In the process, I developed opinions about the nature of health care in the countries I visited. There are significant differences from country to country. Based on these observations, my choice of "where to be" were I to fall ill, ended up with (despite many criticisms and some bogus statistics) USA #1, Australia #2 and France #3. Note that this is for generalized "illness" and would change for specific cases e.g infectious disease #1-France.

While much is made of the differences in social policy and economic factors related to health care, there are also real differences in tradition, training and prevalent spectra of disease among the various counties.

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
I can remember when cars needed a chassis lubrication ( 12-20 grease points) and an oil change every 1000 miles, new spark plugs and ignition points at 10,000 and doing a valve job at 20,000 miles was not uncommon. Trading in a car after 3 years was routine and that car, with 30-40,000 miles on it had already had 2 sets of tires! What is a poor manufacturer, dealer, service garage to do? And, if you think things are bad now, just wait. Current cars are all being sold with touch screen displays to control everything but the accelerator and brakes. They are touted to offer "features and benefits" Features: you now need to take your eyes off the road to control functions that you once could simply by identifying various knobs and switches by feel. Benefits: Cost savings to the manufacturer - it's cheaper to procure and install a single electronic module that a multitude of knobs, rheostats, switches and sliders - further benefit big replacement job when a touch screen goes off or a chip fails.

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
Stuart, you have my sympathies. One (of the many) bones of contention between me and my (ex) wife was the difference in our attitude toward telephones. I view a telephone as a servant to be used at my convenience, not a master to summon me. I can contentedly allow a phone to ring when I am at dinner. #1 there is an answering machine or, failing that, #2, if the matter is of importance, the caller will try again. This was not her response. While I appreciate the convenience of a cell phone, I do so on a limited basis. The one I use is a simple "flip" phone that fits nicely in a pocket. I do not use it to play games, watch videos, publish messages etc.

Could you wrap your car in RF shielding material?

Odd coincidence - my ex also suffers from RLS but is medicated.

Al
 

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Al Schwartz
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3,404 Posts
My current car has an emergency spare. For me, that is an absolute minimum requirement. I simply will not buy a car without a spare. If that means I will be driving this or a similar older car forever, so be it.

I think there are two drivers behind this trend: Increasingly restrictive fuel consumption goals are forcing manufacturers to look for eight savings everywhere and, of course, elimination of a component is a profit opportunity.

In the same vein, I am certain that the sourcing and installation of a touch screen, widely touted as a feature, is far cheaper as a manufacturing process than the procurement, wiring and separate installation of an array of mechanical and electromechanical controls for heating, AC, radio tuning and volume, CD or tape controls etc. Of course, in addition to necessitating looking away from the road instead of making adjustments by feel, replacement of the whole (expensive) assembly instead of a single malfunctioning switch is a highly profitable service opportunity.

The last vehicle that I owned that had a real wheel and tire as spare was a 2003 Toyota Sequoia. While it had its faults that led to eventual replacement - bulk, fuel consumption (13 mpg average at best) and the need to remove and store the heavy 3rd row seats to use the full capacity, it gave up nothing in fit and finish compared to the '94 Mercedes wagon that it replaced.

EM
 

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Al Schwartz
Joined
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3,404 Posts
I guess my view is tempered by the unfortunate fact that should I be able to fold myself into the Mazda, I would need an engine hoist to get out! OTOH, in 1963 I did cross the US with wife in a 3 litre Healey with a full sized spare occupying most of the boot but, to be honest, it was fitted with a luggage rack.

EM
 
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