The New Metlife User Experience

Metlife(in email): Log in to your account to learn all about our new, enhanced user interface, built with you in mind!

Me: Here are my username and password.

Metlife: The data you’ve entered doesn’t match credentials on file.

Me: Tell me my username. I’ve selected all the cars. Here’s my pet’s name, mother’s middle initial, and what I ate for lunch June 6th, 1998.

Metlife: we sent you an email to confirm your identity. Type in the code we sent you.

Me: Here’s the code. What’s my username?

Metlife: Enter your password or reset it.

Me: Here’s my password.

Metlife: The data you’ve entered doesn’t match credentials on file.

Me: No, I’m really sure that’s the password.

Metlife: You’ve been logged out.

Me: Here are my username and password, again.

Metlife: The data you’ve entered doesn’t match credentials on file.

Me: Tell me my username. I’ve selected all the traffic lights. Here’s my paternal grandfather’s service number, shoe size, and favorite Bond movie.

Metlife: we sent you an email to confirm your identity. Type in the code we sent you.

Me: Here’s the code.

Metlife: Enter your password or reset it.

Me: Reset password.

Metlife: I’m sorry, you cannot reuse your previous password.

Me: So that was the right password then? Here are my username and password, again.

Metlife: The data you’ve entered doesn’t match credentials on file.

Me: Reset password

Metlife: OK that’s a good one.

Me: What’s my username?

Metlife: The one you entered in the first place.

Metlife: Also, check out our new, enhanced user interface, built with you in mind!

Me: Well, I suppose you didn’t actually say it was with my convenience or sanity in mind…

Posted in For Facebook, General, Personal, Whimsical | Leave a comment

No More Plastic Shopping Bags: The environment is saved! (Except it isn’t)

As of March first, 2020, “single-use” shopping bags have been banned in New York State, a bold but profoundly stupid measure intended (as usual) to “protect the environment.” As far as I can tell, this is a deeply misguided and politically motivated initiative that is bound to produce far more harm to the environment than it presents.

To me, it looks like this whole mess is predicated on the bone-headed beliefs that a) only plastic shopping bags have environmental impact, and b) plastic shopping bags are discarded immediately upon completion of their first use. Both of those beliefs are false, and in fact badly so. To put it simply, research demonstrates that conventional plastic bags made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) have the smallest per-use environmental impact of all available options for lugging your shopping home.

  • Reusable cloth and plastic shopping bags have hundreds of times the carbon footprint of disposable plastic ones, but only last a few hundred uses, so they produce a generally greater negative impact on global warming in the long run.
  • Cloth bags are fraught with additional problems, like the fact that they are easily contaminated and have been shown to be a breeding ground for bacteria, so they require frequent laundering, producing even more carbon footprint and pollution. “Organically sourced” bags share these problems, plus have significantly higher environmental impact in production due to added inefficiencies in the production phase.
  • Paper shopping bags have a significantly higher per-unit carbon footprint than the plastic ones, rely on fast-growth tree farms which destroy fertile land through monoculture farming (and have decreased CO2 uptake and air quality improvement abilities compared to natural growth forests), and dump acids, chlorine, dioxins, and various organic contaminants into the environment.
  • As many as 77% of “single-use” plastic shopping bags get reused as garbage bags, so now we have to buy plastic garbage bags to replace them (most municipalities require garbage to be placed in plastic), and these truly single-use 4-gallon garbage bags contain (depending on brand) 2-3 times the exact-same material (HDPE) as the shopping bags we have to replace them with. Assuming we were completely naive as to the environmental impacts of the alternatives which must now be employed to transport groceries, in the best result, even if only 33% of plastic shopping bags were being reused in the first place, this measure results in a net wash for pollution and other impacts on the environment.

In other words, literally everything about this ban will result in worse outcomes for the environment, and its sole benefit was to make people feel good about having “done” something. It’s a political morality play intended to win votes while actually doing the opposite of what it claims.

Posted in For Facebook, Personal, Political, Rational | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Dealer

Me, leaving a medical procedure: Just a minor question, Doctor. Is a known side-effect of that new drug wild, intense, hallucinatory, almost entheogenic dreams?

Doctor: Why, yes. Have you had one?

Me (on the inside): No, I was just validating your medical degree!
Out Loud: Yes, several times a night, all weekend.

Doctor: Did you enjoy them?

Me (on the inside): What kind of doctor are you, again?
Out Loud: Well, they aren’t *bad* dreams, but they’re waking me up a lot in the night.

Doctor: Oh, that’s too bad.

Me: …..

Posted in Family, For Facebook, General, Personal, Whimsical | Leave a comment

Another Revolting Development at RPI

RPI – Top Twenty Worst School

My heart swelled with pride today, to see my beloved Alma Mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, finally recognized in a major top-twenty list


Magazine ‘Money Inc’, the creator of the prestigious list, ignored academics, cost, and quality of education entirely in their consideration of RPI’s ranking, seeing them as inconsequential compared to the student experience of the school, including “poorly written policies which have been used by the administration to quell free speech”, punishing students for speaking out in the media, and general incompetence at even explaining how what they were doing is legal (“the administration has gone so far as to claim “eminent domain” to prevent students from passing out buttons or flyers on campus sidewalks.”)

That’s right, we made it to the top-twenty worst schools *SPECIFICALLY* because of the administration’s heavy-handed, even ILLEGAL suppression of students’ rights to free speech.

How are the trustees not embarrassed to the point of resignation by the nightmare they have allowed to unfold at RPI? I’m embarrassed to be an alumnus, and it’s not even my friggin’ fault!

Posted in For Facebook, Geeky, General, Personal, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Secret Battle

Last night, just before going to bed, I set our robotic vacuum to clean our downstairs rooms while we slept. Judging by the carnage I found in the living room at 6:30AM, I believe this is what happened:

Midway through cleaning the floor, having labored mightily, our robotic vacuum cleaner decided it had earned the privilege of taking a rest on our couch. No one having ever specifically told it this was not possible, and its mind made up, it made a beeline for the couch, along the way ignoring any obstacles.

In doing so, it became entangled in two plushies and a large sheet of coloring paper. Undaunted, our little hero went for broke, ignoring its new entourage and continuing its quest as best it could. As it went, its cargo upended a number of toys that had been leaned against a chair by our five-year-old while he was “cleaning” to prepare for the robot’s activities. This resulted in a light saber and a wrapping paper tube joining the entourage, pointing forward like knight’s lances

After arriving at the couch, it bravely took the challenge head-on, attempting to trundle directly up the side. This seems to have worked for a while, until its wheels caught the blanket that was lying on the couch. Tirelessly, it reeled the entire blanket off the couch, somehow causing the tail end to flip over the light-saber and wrapping paper tube, and trapping itself in a tent of its own making.

At this point, the robot must have panicked and made a last scramble to try to surmount its goal. This was unsuccessful. It must have managed to get it’s flat little chassis nearly perpendicular to the ground before learning twin lessons about gravity and friction, to wit: A) With gravity stubbornly refusing, as it will, to change directions such that the couch would become its new down, B) Its wheels had no force pressing them against their new driving surface, which decreased their friction with that surface to approximately nothing.

I’m not sure, at this point, if its battery died suddenly, causing it to jounce sideward, or if its continuing struggles caused it to tilt slightly, but at any rate, our tiny protagonist next discovered not only that round things roll, but also that its entire back end is approximately circular. It proceeded to roll sideways off the pile of blanket it was now situated atop and across the face of the couch, and then tumble into the crevice between the couch and our son’s Disney desk, twisting the blanket and toys around it as it went.

And so, in the early morning light, my befuddled brain saw a weird twisted nest-thing sprouting out of that crevice, encrusted with stuffed animals and paper and with a turned-on light-saber thrusting right out of the middle. On examination, I discovered the now-dead robot swaddled in the middle, toys and paper jammed in its brushes. I was non-plussed, to say the least…

Posted in Family, For Facebook, Personal, Uncategorized, Whimsical | Leave a comment
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