Monday, February 29, 2016

Another Reason to Dump Trump

There's no need here to list the myriad reasons not to back Donald Trump as a presidential nominee. Others are taking care of that--he's a racist, blowhard, liar, male supremist, etc., etc., etc. However, in a list of little-known facts about The Donald, one characteristic appeared that the geezer had not heard of.

Trump claims he has never had a drink of an alcoholic beverage in any form.

This to some is a damning indictment, one which perhaps helped sink Mitt Romney in his unsuccessful 2012 campaign.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Robotic Robbery

If you've eaten out lately at a casual restaurant such as Applebee's or Olive Garden, an electronic gadget probably was a guest at your table. Language on its small screen cheerfully invites you to play a game, order extra items, or speedily pay your bill.

At first we thought the machines might be a tricky way for management to replace waiters and waitresses. But no, they don't allow you to order your main course, just add-ons. And at Applebee's, the server arrives at your table to slide your credit or gift card at bill paying time.

That automatic bill printer may deliver unwelcome surprises

We've learned that the little machines actually are kin to the infamous "one-armed bandits" familiar to casino patrons who enter with high hopes and leave with lighter pocketbooks. Our first hint was when we accepted the invitation to play a computer game on the device. It was fun, but our bill came with a surprise $1.99 charge included for the game. We don't do the games anymore.

We usually tip 15 percent at restaurants, and go to 20 for extra-good service. When an image of your bill pops up at Applebee's as your server stands at your table, it automatically shows a 20 percent tip. The server then points to the total and advises you may push buttons to increase or decrease the amount. It's hard to imagine a customer mean enough to go for a decrease with the server watching you make the adjustment. Although tempted once, I've been unable to bring myself to retreat to my 15 percent comfort level.

The advent of robotic service at some of our favorite places so far has been only slightly annoying. We must remember that progress has its price. Let's hope this is not the start of bigger cost increases as technology advances.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Time to Analyze the Situation and Fix Blame

With Republican and Democratic Party candidates for president of the U.S. filling the news with exaggerations, pie-in-the-sky proposals, insults to just about everybody, and downright lies, it seems time to take a more objective view of important trends and place blame for the situations that are making America "ungreat."

* Latest data show unemployment has dropped to 4.9 percent, lowest in eight years, while average pay increased modestly.

* Some 30 million Americans whose lives would have been ruined by a major illness a few years ago now have insurance that allows them to live without fear of being unable to pay for a health disaster.

* Over the past six years, American military deaths in Mideast conflicts have fallen from several a day to several a year.

* Violent crime rates continue to decline in the U.S., a trend that began about 40 years ago.

* Expert observers tell us more illegal residents left the country than entered it in the past few years.

* The geezer just filled up the family sedan with gas at $1.35 per gallon, half the price paid just a couple of years ago. Most predictions are that prices will remain stable or go lower at least through next year.

George W. Bush has been out of office for more than six years, so it no longer is reasonable or fashionable to blame these tragedies on him. There's only one thing to do. We should follow the example of our less-enlightened candidates for president and blame it all on Barack Obama's poor leadership.