Things That Annoy Me #63

I got this in the mail yesterday.



My birthday was a couple weeks ago and it felt like a card or invitation.  Look at the return address.  I don’t know anyone in El Segundo, Ca but know a lot of people with the surname Thomas.

I opened it and found this.



with this



This was purposefully deceptive.   I will NEVER use DirecTV,  If they are this deceptive with their advertising then how can they be trusted with my billing or other business practices.

When I’m driving my car and ad come on for auto dealerships many they all have disclaimers at the end.  Some have the person speaking very fast and add on oscillating sounds to make it nearly impossible to understand what they are saying.  It is an obviously deceptive practice.  Why would anyone buy a car from a place that is willing to be deceptive.  What make them think that they would be honest in their business practices if they are dishonest in other facets of their business.

Chess and Columbo

I practice guitar, banjo and ukulele for hours every day.  Sometimes I will put onb6d154e733a95e506e38ee1752901b77 the television while I practice.  Especially if I am just playing the same piece over and over.   Usually I will put Netflix on and watch on the TV via my chromecast.  Recently I started watching Columbo again.  I haven’t seen it in nearly forty years and I’m surprised how well it holds up.

To the uninitiated and the young Columbo is a detective series that is the opposite of a who done it.  The murder is shown in the beginning along with the murderer.  Detective comes in much later and the fun is watching him catch the bad guy.  All of his cases are celebrities and people with money.  He is rumpled and obviously not in their social class.  He annoys the hell out of them.  The murderers all think they are smarter than this bumbling detective.  It’s a joy.

This morning I was watching Season 2 Episode 7 called The Most Dangerous Match.  Now I love Coumbo and I love this episode but some things about the chess are hilarious.

At one point the world champion mentions a game between Alekhine and Casablanca played in 1914.  Columbo seems amazed that the world champion can remember the game.  Ha!  Every serious chessplayer that I know can do that.  We can quote hundreds of games.  I can demonstrate The Evergreen Game played in Berlin in 1852 between Adolf Anderssen and Jean Dufresne or The Immortal Game played by Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky on 21 June 1851 in London.   We remember chess games the way emo girls know Hawthorne Heights songs.

Two things made me laugh out loud during the episode.  Both were during a simultaneous exhibition.  The world champion has invited ten players to play against him in the exhibition.  You’d have to assume them to be competent chessplayers but look at this chess set that the woman is using!

photo (5)

This the same $2 chess set that eight year-0ld kids use.  I’ve played in dozens of exhibitions and I’d be embarrassed playing a grandmaster with this set.  I can assume that anyone who would be worthy to play would have a real set.

Then the true howler comes in.  Columbo is harassing the poor chess genius during the exhibition and the world champion loses in two moves!!!

Here is the game:

1. f4 e6
2.g4 Qh4 checkmate!

This is called Fool’s Mate.  This is the Bigfoot of chess games.  It is so bad and obvious that you never see it in the real world.  That a world champion could play this (even under Columbo’s duress) is unbelievable.  I am a pretty good chessplayer but nowhere near a grandmaster.  I wouldn’t make that move if I was drunk, high on meth and had substantial brain damage.

World chess

I loved the episode.   The chess was crap but it usually is on tv.  The real chess game was between Columbo and Grandmaster Emmett Clayton.

One last thing.  The criminals in the show are usually celebrities and/or people with a lot of money.  I doubt if more than 2% of his cases would win a conviction in court.

Fourth Colonoscopy and Time to Breathe

I had my fourth colonoscopy in three months yesterday morning.  There had been a couple spots on my colon that were suspicious.  The surgeon has been scraping away at them trying to get rid of the bad tissue and down to good tissue.  Good news is that he finally got rid of it.  He then said, “It was on the verge of being cancer“.

I’m okay.  I have to have another colonoscopy in two months but I’ve dodged a bullet.  One that my two brothers and assorted relatives haven’t.  I can breathe.

For the past couple months things have been on hold because of these colonoscopies.  I fast for three days and on the fourth have the procedure then take a few days to recover.  Finally I will be able to put it at the back of my mind.

It’s time to get back to my life.

Memorial Day

My father died in a car accident on Memorial Day 1967.  I was ten years old and he was forty-two.  I thought he had lived a long life.

As a UPS driver the route I had traversed the spot where he died.  I crossed it twice a day for over thirty years and thought about him every time.

He wasn’t much of a father.  He drank and was seldom home.  I spent my youth looking for someone to say one nice thing about him.  I never heard a nice story or one good thing.  The only thing my older sister would say when asked was, “He was never there.”  My brother only spoke once of him to say, “He was the meanest son of a bitch who ever lived.”  My brother and sister have both passed so I’ll never get any more. Oh well.

I know so little about him.  I know he graduated from Eaton High School  He fought in WWII in the South Pacific.  I have a box full of photographs.  I would have loved to ask him about them, opportunities lost. I know where he worked and where he drank.  I would give anything for a conversation that will never happen.



I Needed a Filter on my Gene Pool

As I mentioned in my last post my colonoscopy went well.  I have another one in a few weeks and then one a year for the rest of my life.

Coincidentally my first cousin just had genetic testing.  She had colon cancer, as did her father and brother.  Thankfully she is well now.  Turns out she has Lynch Syndrome or Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer Syndrome (HNPCC). It is a mutation in the MSH2 gene.  It all makes sense now.  Men with Lynch Syndrome have a 60% to 80% lifetime risk of colorectal cancer and women have a 40% to 60% lifetime risk of endometrial cancer.

It’s important that everyone in the family gets genetic testing.  I’ll be in contact and getting the word out.

Lynch Syndrome

An Awareness of Aging

It’s been a few years since I’ve had a colonoscopy.  Work and then retirement, taking care of my brother and then my mom seemed to keep me from thinking about myself.  I finally got around to setting up the colonoscopy.

I hate dealing with doctors and even more with insurance.  I was told I had to pay up front $318 ($100 co-pay and $218 for my %20).  That was acceptable and then I was told that was only if they found something.  If nothing was found then I was responsible for the entire bill.  It was explained to me that if nothing was found then it is considered screening which isn’t covered.  If something is found it is considered diagnostic.  You’d think that my family history would guarantee me the coverage.  My grandfather, uncle, aunt and three cousins have had colon cancer.  I want to be healthy but at the same time wanted them to find a little something.

I began the prep but was incredibly nervous.  I couldn’t figure why at first but then things began to gel.  Things have been going very well for me.  In the past month I’ve placed first in four poker tournaments, second it two, first in my division in a chess tournament and my life is really coming together.

This summer is my fortieth high school reunion and one of my old friends is posting pictures of all of our classmates who have died.  Seeing that and all of the death that I’ve seen in the past couple years has had a profound effect on me.  Like I said, life is going so well I expected the worst.


The prep for the colonoscopy is a lot easier now and it really works.  I think I lost some earwax and a filling.

The procedure went well and they found nine polyps and a flat spot so I have to get another colonoscopy in a month.  From now on I need to have one once a year.

I’m not dying so now I need to double down and get my life in gear.  I no longer have any excuses.





We cut the cord a year or so ago and watch Netflix or Hulu Plus.  Hulu Plus gives you commercials and repeats the same one over and over.  Right now there is a commercial for a show called Endgame.  It’s about a former world chess champion that solves crimes out of his apartment because he is agoraphobic.  I can relate as my mother was agoraphobic.  In the promo on of the actors says, “He can’t go anywhere, he’s an agorafruitcake.” Every time I hear it I get annoyed and each time I get a little more annoyed.  It’s probably the reason that I haven’t watched the show.

I can’t find the same clip on YouTube that I see in the promos but this will suffice.