The thoughts of a writer.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Oscars...

...bore me

bore 2  (bôr, bōr)
tr.v. bored, bor·ing, bores
To make weary by being dull, repetitive, or tedious: The movie bored us.
One that is wearingly dull, repetitive, or tedious.

[Origin unknown.]
Perhaps there are too many award shows???


Smile Spring is Coming...

Created with a flashlight and an 8 second shutter speed - Kevin J. Curtis


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Room 666

Do you really want to go in there???

"Mark of the Beast"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Explanation of Benefits for Medical Reimbursement

I found out that I still have money in an HSA from when I worked for the school district. I won't mention what school district because they were paranoid about my blog and tried to end my freedom-of-speech with intimidation when I was at the ALC. Anyway, the rules to getting reimbursed seem arbitrary and sometimes I need the Explanation of Benefits (and sometimes not) from the insurance company—even when the amounts paid and owed are already shown on the bills and receipts submitted. After my latest attempt to get reimbursed (the previous attempt went unpaid and had to be resubmitted), I was growing annoyed by the idiotic policies and so I sent this note with my EOB and resubmitted claim.


After only 10 minutes on hold with INSURANCE COMPANY NAME, I was able to get the EOB for the claim that was denied. I hope this is all the documentation necessary to prove I am not trying to falsely get my money from my medical reimbursement account as outlined by SCHOOL DISTRICT NAME. If NAME REMOVED needs to sign-off on this, he does not yet know how to write his name as he is only 2-years-old. I could put him on the phone if needed and he can say the entire alphabet and count to 20 in two languages if that will help. Thanks for processing this claim. If anything else is needed please let me know.

I know you are just following policy regardless of how inconvenient or redundant or ridiculous or asinine it may be. I hope my frustrations were not taken personally—though I would like to give some 'feedback' to the policy makers when/if I find out who they are.



Of course, the response was that I needed to fill out a new form so the date (I used the date from the hospital bill) corresponded to the date on the Explanation of Benefits from the insurance company. What? is that all? change the date? OK!

End Note*
My request to learn who/what group is responsible for the policies has so far gone unanswered. I was told (by HR) it was the "District Insurance Policy," which still does not give me any names of people I can give feedback to. My request for actual names or committees has gone unanswered. Apparently no one is responsible at the school district.

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Minimum Wage Question

If the minimum wage is raised so that dishwashers are making $10 per hour and college graduates are making about the same amount for entry-level jobs, what does that mean to the economy?

Should this be market-driven or artificially set by the government? I think it is a legitimate question since so many incentives/bailouts have failed so miserably.

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My Books So Far

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Winter Storm Makes Roads Dangerous

Not since the Halloween Storm of 1991, have I seen the roads as bad as they were for so long as from Friday through this past weekend. This morning, while better, the roads are still slippery in places where the ice is stuck to the pavement.

Here are two images from Friday afternoon showing the highways and freeways coated with a thick layer of ice. This is also how it looked Saturday morning when I was out.

Hwy 36 East

35E South

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Images After The Snowstorm

Click any photo to enlarge and click "back" to go back.

94 East - DT St. Paul

35E North

36 West - Icy
Ramp from Lexington to W36 - pushing cars

Lexington Ave. N. 

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Snowstorm Has Arrived!

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Free Gas For A Year

Yesterday, I sent this message to SuperAmerica corporate contact.

All of your SuperAmerica stores have signs that say, 'free gas for a year.' I would like to get my free gas. Can I just fill up and leave, or do I need to 'check in?' I am ready to start receiving my free gas as your advertisement states. Also, is there a limit; like 10 gallons per day? I will need to know that.


So far I have received no response.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Now that the weather has gotten warmer, there are already panhandlers at numerous freeway off ramps—begging for money. They all have signs that say they are out-of-work and homeless. Some have children to feed and some say they are veterans. Many are none of those things and are looking for money without working. I've always thought about standing out there with a sign like this one. However, I don't think I would really want to do it—even though it makes me laugh!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Say a Prayer for Mason

My nephew Mason is in the hospital again. It is the fifth day since he went to emergency. Say an extra prayer for him.


Why Are Children's Menus So Bad?

When I was a child, my parents found that I was never satisfied with a meal from the children's menu when they took me to a restaurant. Mostly this was because there was no salad. I have always liked salad, even as a child. Now that I have my own child, I am dismayed by the children's Menu at pretty much every restaurant. They are filled with uninteresting, not particularly nutritious food choices. Apparently children mostly eat macaroni and cheese, hotdogs, and other foods that I don't normally feed my child. These foods while lacking as a healthy diet, also wouldn't cost me $7 if I made it at home. I can buy an entire box of macaroni and cheese for under $1 on sale. At the restaurant my child is getting a small portion of that for $5 to $8. Since my son is two-years-old, my wife and I can usually feed him some of what we are having. I imagine soon that will be unacceptable both on the restaurant side and ours--as he begins to eat more as he gets older. In fact, once at a Ruby Tuesday the waitress made several remarks about how it is so nice when the children are small because you don't need to spend money to buy them a meal. After she repeated this four or five times it made me feel like I might not want to eat at that restaurant--as the implication was we were feeding our (at that time he was closer to one-year-old) child without paying for it.

So because of this, I will look at Ruby Tuesday's Children's Menu first. There are primarily McDonald's type fare on it. This means everything comes with French fries. The online menu does allow substitution of the fries and also a salad bar option. I did not notice these on the kid's menu when I was recently at Ruby Tuesdays, but perhaps it was on there amidst the pictures and puzzles. The online menu also has no prices.

The Olive Garden's Children's Menu has prices if you pick your local restaurant. For $7 you can get a small portion of spaghetti. Notice it is $5.79 until you "add a protein." Then they add $1.25 for that meatball (or other choice). The best thing is probably the chicken fingers with spaghetti and marina sauce. This is $5.99 and has no vegetable. Why would a child need a vegetable? Why would they want salad when they were kids (like I did)? Red Lobster's kid's menu has a single meat item (or Mac & cheese) and choice of orange wedges or broccoli. Salad is available but costs another $1.

I could continue with more restaurants and perhaps less expensive ones, but it could become a very lengthy blog entry. I did notice that Perkins kid's menu talked about substitutions but didn't give prices or tell what was available--except that pancakes were pictured. Pancakes and a side sounds pretty boring to me. When I feed my son, I like to give him a variety of foods. Huh? More than two things you say? Yes! I encourage him to eat and to try lots of different kinds of food! Sometimes what he didn't want yesterday, he will eat today!

Personally, I think if restaurants are going to charge $6 to $8 for a children's meal, they ought to provide a little variety. A drink and a cookie doesn't count either. I would like to see some fresh and nutritious food choices. Otherwise, I will limit the amount of occasions that I use restaurants to feed my child. I can and do make much more nutritious food for far less money--and I provide variety and creativity that is lacking at pretty much every restaurant I've been to.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

In Case You Haven't Looked Outside...

More Snow!


How To Talk Like An Australian Hunter

It's always fun to listen to an Australian hunter from the Outback. In the USA, we probably have seen one of these guys on TV saying something like in the video below.

If you want to talk like this, it is best to find a good hat to set the mood. It can get pretty hot and dusty in the Outback.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Full Moon

Driving in the car, I like to ask my son what color the traffic lights are and then I tell him that green means "go" and red means "stop." We talk about all sorts of things like that. So when I pointed out the big, beautiful full moon to him, he commented on it being round and yellow. Since it was low on the horizon, the moon soon disappeared behind the buildings of downtown St. Paul. That's when my two-year-old said that we would "see another moon!" I told him that I was pretty sure Earth only has one moon. Boy was I wrong! Another mile or so up the road and it turns out he was right!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! My wife has planned ours. We will be babysitting our two nephews that evening. It wasn’t what I had in mind and I really didn’t expect it; though I probably should have. Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

-11 degrees and getting warmer!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Computer Programming Jobs

Contact me if you are looking for a programming job in the Twin Cities.

At the German Restaurant

My son enjoyed lunch and the music at the Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter yesterday.

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Fair, Non-Politically Motivated Score Given at Olympics!

Just kidding!

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Friday, February 07, 2014

Do you want to open a Target Credit Card?

I was at Target and the cashier asked if I wanted to open a Target charge card. I said, "no I don't--haven't you heard?" She started laughing and said "they" told her she has to ask everyone...

No hard feelings Target, but if I bought an ice cream cone and it blew up all over my shirt, if the ice cream guy asked me if I wanted to buy another one I would say 'no' to him too.

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CuTRis Found Guilty by Turkish Internet Law

CuTRis Found Guilty by Turkish Internet Law
UnAssociated Press
February 7, 2014

CuTRis has been found guilty under a new Turkish Internet Law for posting pictures of turkeys on the Internet and claiming that they are Turkish government officials. Apparently this was against the law.


Turkish Internet Law

Like Syria, Iran, China, North Korea and others, Turkey has joined the list of countries who are both blocking and monitoring use of the Internet. Freedom of Speech is a scary thing for any government that wants to exert control over its citizens. By blocking news, information and outside ideas, that control is easier to maintain. By monitoring who is accessing what kind of sites, people can be watched and possibly arrested at the discretion of the government leadership. Except for use in fighting terrorism and exploitation of vulnerable individuals, I can see few legitimate reasons to do this. Most often it is to secure power for a regime's political and/or religious doctrine.


Thursday, February 06, 2014

Toothpaste Danger!

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is warning airlines of the threat of explosives in toothpaste tubes—especially on flights to the Olympics in Sochi. This is ridiculous! I don't mean the warning. I mean that a tube of American toothpaste in a country like Russia could likely fetch a price on the Black Market, that could probably sell for enough to buy ten explosives on the same Black Market! Why would any terrorist waste his time trying to smuggle explosives on an airplane? It really makes no sense at all. I certainly hope that modern terrorists are smart enough to figure that out!

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Commissioner Burpay

I think I mentioned before that I watch the old Batman series with my two-year-old son. He likes the theme song. I was asking him if he could say the different names of the characters like Robin and Chief O'Hara. He can say the names pretty well! Then I asked him if he could say, "Commissioner Gordon." Now I am pretty sure I have heard him say, "Gordon" before, but he has a toy train named, Gordon, that he has always called (we don't know why), "Burpay." So when asked if he could say, "Commissioner Gordon," he promptly replied, "Commissioner Burpay." That was good for a laugh, as it was not what we were expecting!

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Tuesday, February 04, 2014


Click for "Let Her Go"


Realistic Serving Size

The bag of snacks you're eating says, "about 6 servings." Realistically, you now know that you can multiply the calories, fat and sodium (listed on the label) by 6 because you are probably going to eat it all. In fact, if you split up the contents into 6 even portions, it would not satisfy you and 5 of your friends.


Facebook is 10-Years-Old

What were you doing 10 years ago? Probably not wasting 8 hours per month on Facebook like you are today...


Monday, February 03, 2014

Bastardly Robs a Bank!

By the time Bastardly realized that all his money was used up, he was out of booze and didn't have enough to buy a pizza! His wife, Jena Sequa, was normally ill tempered and now with no money, and no drugs, she was downright impossible! Bastardly had by this time, reached the only logical decision to reclaim his wealth and lifestyle. He would rob a bank! Bastardly knew little about bank robbery. In fact, he knew little about anything at all. He decided to go out for a walk to think. Thinking was not something that Bastardly was very good at.

One thing that Bastardly did have going for him, was that he was lucky. For some reason, in spite of his low intelligence and desire to spend his life in a drunken stupor, Bastardly somehow always had enough money—until now. As he tried to think, he was suddenly amused by one of his own farts. As he laughed out loud, he noticed a strange looking dude nearby. The dude waved a stringy arm at him. Bastardly thought the guy must be an alien—but from what country he wasn't sure. Perhaps he was Jamaican. If so, he probably had weed! Bastardly eagerly tried to strike up a conversation. He soon realized, however, that the dude who called himself, "Unglip," could not speak English. That didn't matter to Bastardly, though. He motioned for the dude to follow him home. There he introduced the Jamaican dude to Jena Sequa, and then he grabbed his car keys and motioned for the dude to follow. Once they were driving, Bastardly remembered that he still didn't have any money. So, he decided to see if his new friend would help him rob the bank. It was nighttime, so the bank was closed. Bastardly parked in back and looked for a secret passageway to get inside. He saw none—when all-of-a-sudden, his new friend blew a snot wad on the wall of the building and it melted away! Quickly Bastardly ran inside. There were alarms going off—but he really wanted to get inside the vault! Bastardly pointed at the vault and then his nose. His friend understood! The dude blew another snot wad and it melted the vault door! Bastardly ran inside and grabbed a couple of bags of money and then he ran outside and jumped in his car. The dude was with him; but unfortunately the cops were now after them! Bastardly stomped on the gas and tried to get away but that damn cop car was fast! Then the dude pulled out a funny looking gun! It must have been a Jamaican model! The dude fired at the cop car and it evaporated! Wow! That is cool thought Bastardly!

So then he drove back home and invited his friend to come inside. He broke out his last couple of beers that he was saving. Now that he had two bags full of money he could always get more! Bastardly decided to give the dude some of the money—which he took and stuffed under his hat. Then the guy needed to go to the toilet but he never came back! Bastardly suddenly realized that the Jamaican dude was the coolest dude he had ever met. Why cheapen the experience by wondering where he went? So Bastardly got really drunk and fell asleep on his bags of money.

By Kevin J. Curtis

Click HERE to see Unglip's version of this story.

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Super Bowl 48: Boy Was I Wrong!

Boy was I wrong that Denver might win! I thought I was watching the Vikings! The Broncos folded up from the start. Hats off to Seattle. It is nice to see a team that never won before take the championship game. I still think Peyton Manning is a class act. Now we go the rest of the winter with no football...

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