by Anura Guruge
by Anura Guruge
Not even close. This pope is an Internet pope. If the Internet had been around when John XXIII reigned people would have gone ga-ga.
This pope, with his feet washing etc., is TRYING to emulate John XXIII.
He does NOT have John’s natural touch.
John, was a legend, especially for what he did for the Jews during WW II, before he became pope. Francis’ track record in Argentina has some major red flags when it comes to human rights!
He is NOT a natural. He is trying to play the part.
On April 27 this year, John will become Pope St. John XXIII. Francis has a long way to go.
Don’t get me wrong. Francis is a decent pope. A trillion times better than the previous German dandy. But lets NOT get carried away.
Francis, for those of us who have to read the chicken entrails daily, is still but words.
John was substance. John was action. By this stage of his papacy, John had called for Vatican II, created cardinals and made major structural changes. In contrast all we get from Francis is contradictory words.
Most popular pope, STILL:
Bl. John XXIII (#262).
by Anura Guruge
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We got a pair of Firestone FR710s for our van yesterday from these folks. It definitely, per their motto, was ‘easy‘ and ‘different‘. I am fairly sure that they were ‘honest‘ too. There definitely were no hidden charges or ‘gotchas’. The ‘balanced and on the vehicle‘ price they quoted me was what I got charged, though they had to do a bit of juggling on the wheels since we were not replacing all 4 tires. I was suitably impressed. It was a competitive price too — but that goes without saying.
It was, in reality, the second time we had been there this week. We had also gone there on Thursday. The front tires on the van were out of balance. I called, got an appointment and took it in. There $8 per tire for balancing is fair. They balanced both front tires but said that they thought I had a shifting belt in one of the tires. Two of the tires were getting close to their limit. The balancing did not cure the vibration. While we were there they had given us, in writing, quotes for three different tires.
I was so aggravated with the van that I was going to ditch it and lease a new van. I spent a fair amount of time checking out leases. New Hampshire auto dealers are so screwed about leases. Deanna really didn’t want two new vehicles. Our KIA Sportage only has 14,000 miles on it after 19 months. We put even less milage on the van.
So I decided just to put two new tires on the van and keep it until June. Of course I checked the prices. I made some calls. Don’t bother with the Walmart Rochester Auto Center! It is basically CLOSED. Period. Move on. I love Walmart. I shop Walmart weekly, in-person or online. Deanna thinks I am a Walmart addict — but, trust me, the Walmart Rochester Auto Center is closed.
After much soul searching I decided to go with the Firestones. I called up Country Tire. I talked to Dan Loring, the Customer Service Advisor. He is the one that I had dealt with. I liked him. He tries hard. He told me that I should put the new tires on the back — though the van is front-wheel drive. He explained why. He called it ‘squirrely’ handling. It kind of made sense. I said ‘OK’. Then I CHECKED on the Web! Yes, I am a professional cynic and paranoid. I don’t even trust myself. He was right. So, that was a thumb’s up for him. [But, for the record, he didn’t know, when I first called him up, that you can have your tires balanced, ON the car. Yes, they don’t have the equipment. They should. I like having my tires balanced on the car. I know I have had it done, on my Yellow Corvette, in Laconia.]
Bottom line, we like these people. We like the café, with one cup of complimentary coffee, and Wi-Fi, they have. It is better than your normal waiting room. Good experience all around.
The place is owned by a Poulin brother, of ‘Dick Poulin Chevrolet‘ in Rochester. Funnily enough after getting the tires balanced we did drive to Dick Poulin to check the leases on a Chrysler. Wasn’t impressed. Won’t be going there again. The sales manager who checked out our van as a trade-in didn’t know how to use the trip counter to get the total milage as opposed to the trip milage that was being displayed! Aaaahhhh! I didn’t wait to hear what he was going to give me for a trade-in. I left in a hurry.
Country Tire does more than tires. We might check them out for other stuff, though we do have a decent mechanic in town who has taken care of us ever since we moved to Alton 2007.
Funnily enough this place is build on what used to be one of our favorite local, ‘cottage industries’ in the area. It was a small bungalow that sold ‘fancy’ garden furniture from the yard. In 2007 we stopped to get a Canadian swing — on wheels. The place was run by a lovely, ‘older’ gentleman. The brother-in-law of the lady who owned the house and business. Very, very nice. Though I was ready to pay by credit card for it, and I think it was in the $600 range, he told me to apply for the GE Finance no-interest for 12 months deal. I knew I would get that, I am a total sucker for any and all 0% deals — and I get 3 to 4 offers a week. We applied. He had to call it in. It was taking a few minutes. He goes into the house and comes back with a bunch of bananas! Yes, of course, the kids were with us. The bananas were for all of us. I was beyond impressed. That was masterful. We used to stop by. Never bought another expensive piece from him, but we would invariably buy some, unneeded but cute, decoration. Only because we liked him! We were sorry to see the house, the business and the gentleman go. But, we have Country Tire in its place. Maybe the good Karma lingers.
by Anura Guruge
>> Thanks to N.H. Insurance Dept.
>> I get Membership # — Jan. 6, 2014.
>> I report Anthem to Attorney General
>> — Jan. 4, 2014.
>> Anthem lies about payment
>> — Jan. 3, 2014.
>> Finally enrolled — Dec. 27, 2013.
++++ Search ‘Anthem’ for my new woes with damn ‘Anthem’ >>>>
I checked again.
Logged onto my account at Anthem.com to see if I can print a Temporary ID Card. NO, I can’t. Still not working.
From what I gather Anthem as yet to get back to the the New Hampshire Insurance Department to explain why this is NOT working after they had led them to believe that it was — and that that is what New Hampshire consumers should be doing. Part of the reason I am checking, a few times a day, is for the Department. I have promised them that I will let them know as soon as I can print a Temporary Card. They want to know. They have been excellent.
Today is January 10, 2014. The supposed deadline by which we needed to have paid our premiums in order to have ACA healthcare coverage as of January 1, 2014. As far as I know there is no real deadline anymore! They are saying 5 day extension BUT we know that that too will have to be extended.
Well, Anthem has yet to charge my credit card for the payment I paid on December 27, 2013. That was EXACTLY 2 weeks ago, i.e., 14 days. I have heard that it is taking Anthem 17 days! This is crazy. It is so sad. Thanks to the NH Insurance Department I have stopped worrying about it. Plus I have a working member ID — as my Anthem.com account testifies.
I feel bad for those that are still struggling with Anthem — not just in NH, but around the country.
Amazes me that Anthem can so successfully GAG the media from talking about it.
I will, however, keep on plugging along.
by Anura Guruge
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I try to watch as many job reports as I can, every Thursday for the ‘weekly unemployed’ and ‘first’ Friday of each month ‘for the household’. Given that I watch CNBC first thing in the morning this is not too hard to do. I was looking forward to today’s jobs number. I know that for a week experts were calling, unanimously, for a 200,000(+) number. I was skeptical, but was willing to go along. Unlike the experts, who now have so much egg on face, I have refused to put ANY credence on the ADP number — which comes out on the Wednesday before the Friday’s job number. I don’t trust ADP. I think they make up that number. Yet, again the experts have had to admit that the ADP number let them astray.
I don’t get these experts. For 20 years or so I was a self-employed expert — on IBM networks, IBM mainframes and enterprise networking. I was out there weekly, if not daily, making prognostications and claims. Of course I never got it all right, BUT I can’t ever remember being wrong to the scale that these experts are, month in, month out.
Just seconds before the 8:30 am jobs number today, CNBC, in their boastful way, predicted that the experts were calling for a 200,000+ number. Then the Hampton Pearson read out the number. 74,000. Though Hampton (who I like for his gravitas) was continuing you could feel the STUNNED silence in the studio. It was just like the day after Obama’s reelection. The CNBC talking heads had yet again been caught with their pants down playing with their privates on air. I just laughed.
I knew, viscerally, that the low number wasn’t bad for the market! Bad number, less tapering. So, I was cool. Yes, the Dow has gone down a bit right now but I am not at all concerned about the trajectory.
I, given that I am no longer a Republican, feel bad for the unemployed. It has to suck. The drop in the participation rate bothers me GREATLY. I should be included in that. I gave up trying to look for work 5 or 6 years ago. But, I was ‘OK’. I had some savings and knew how to play the market to generate income from the savings I had. So we got by. Plus I had the nerve to stay in the market, fully invested, right through the crisis. It was painful, especially since I manually track my performance, by hand, and write it in a log so that I have a record, each night.
Anyhow, this post was mainly about how stupid the so called economic experts can be. To get a key number wrong by a factor of three does take some perverse genius. And there is no shame. It is a joke.
Well, I am laughing too. This is all good. I will ONLY give you two pieces of advice. 1/ Get INTO the market, if you are not already in. 2/ Use the market to generate INCOME.