Doggy Home Hospice

Hello, readers. Let’s take a moment to look at an unhappy event in my life. Hopefully you’ll learn something that can help your pets, your wallet, and yourself.

If you’re in metroDetroit, I strongly recommend Crossroads Vet Hospice should you ever need this service. Dr. Ellen is wonderful to work with, and every staff person and recommended provider has been clinically outstanding, and very caring. Their website is

Why is my little man, Jr, the Jack Russell Terror, in home hospice?

Well, as some of you may recall, Meadowbrook Veterinary Clinic wrenched my little boy’s back almost exactly two years ago and never accepted responsibility for doing so, or offered to fix it, provide care, or even grant a refund request. This is why I will never recommend them or Breckinridge, their sister clinic. Both practices are all the same people, and owned by the same veterinarian. Yes, Meadowbrook was excellent when Dr. Christlieb ran things, but Dr. Osborne’s record is quite inconsistent, and opinions are polarized … you either love him or hate him.

Please, I beg of you, verify your intended vet with multiple reliable sources before taking your fur baby anywhere. I’d really hate to see anyone else’s little loved one in a similar situation just because of a doctor’s hubris.

Which brings us to today.

My little boy has been a very happy and healthy boy for the past two years except for one thing. His wrenched back. Unfortunately some of these months were not happy, though, due to his pain levels while trying to figure out why he suddenly lost the ability to control his back end.

I have spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to get his spine in the best possible shape, but at 19, his little body is busy keeping everything else going. And is doing quite well! Other than this issue and an ear infection, he’s quite healthy for a dog, and especially for an elder gent.

Even so, now he’s in home hospice, with comfort care only.

As long as he eats his pain medications, he’s still that happy and healthy boy we’ve loved for so very long. It’s heartbreaking to know his life is shortened due to Meadowbrook‘s carelessness.

For folks concerned about legalities:

  • First, note that something is only deemed libel if it isn’t true. I cry almost daily wishing this story and Dr. Osborne’s practices’ role in it were untrue.
  • Second, other than being a client, I have almost no affiliation with Crossroads. I only found out after becoming a client that Dr. Ellen’s husband is a former work colleague.
  • Lastly, Crossroads isn’t aware of this post, and to the best of my knowledge, no one is receiving any remuneration or perks for this recommendation. Selling eMail Addresses Now!

Yep. There’s a government shutdown. Meaning they need money somehow for those still getting paid, like the f’idiots who got us into this mess.

And apparently one way to do that is to sell off the WhiteHouse email distribution list.

How do I know this? Because I’m on it. In fact, I have an email address and name exclusively used for this list.

And it just started getting spammed today, 2019.01.14.

Yep. The government is in business, selling your information, just like any other big corporation.

Oh, goody.

And, here’s a STILT … Stupid Thing I Learned Today.

It’s been the 14th for 21 hours now, and WordPress put tomorrow’s date on this post. I guess their servers are in the ocean now? Because I’m on the east coast, so 9pm here is dinnertime on the west coast.


Why Actors are Crazy People

What is Crazy

Ever see someone have conversations or react to something you can’t see? For a lot of people, that’s the definition of “crazy” … behaving as if something in your head is physically real to the rest of the world.

Green Screens

Did you see a movie recently? Maybe with lots of special effects, such as Jurassic World or Dr. Strange?

Wasn’t it amazing how the actors fit into the effects? That’s called green screening.

The actor does a lot of their work in surrounded by giant fluorescent green things, such as walls, floors, or might even be wearing it (like removing Wonder Woman’s baby bump).

This means that the actor is responding to things that aren’t there.

They’re in love with a giant fishman, terrified by a velociraptor, or mesmerized by a hatching coming out of a pure silver egg.

Actors are Crazy

This means that, yes, actors are crazy people.

Why? Because they have to imagine something that isn’t there, and behave as if it was. They have to be shocked when a monster’s tendril rips them off screen. They have to see the velociraptor biting at then even though nothing is there.

But Actors aren’t Crazy

What this means to me is that actors learn how to be what you & I usually think of as “crazy” behavior.

The difference, however, is that they are purposefully reacting to things that aren’t there, and they’re doing it on demand. Over and over, sometimes dozens of takes.

And yet it has to be fresh and slightly different every time. It has to feel real every time.

But Their Insane Pay

Well, yeah. They have to insane, on cue, over and over and over.

Ok, maybe $5 million is a bit over the top. But it’s hard work. Let’s look at Jurassic World. Almost none of that was real. Almost all of it was drawn in or added by computer later. The actors had very little to physically work with.

Chris Pratt didn’t physically fight a pteranodon. Bryce Howard wasn’t almost eaten by a velociraptor while driving an emergency vehicle.


He rolled around on cement, surrounded by some set work, and the rest (most of it) was bright green. She sat in a seat with a grey wall behind her, and a person with a raptor head stood nearby.

Wonder Woman wore bright green so her costume could be painted on. After all, the actress was pregnant, not the character.

And so on.

So Yeah, Actors are Crazy

They train hard to look hot, pretend to be something they’re not, and repeatedly respond to things that don’t exist.

And Yeah, We’re Crazy

Why do movie people make so much? Because we pay them to. And we enjoy paying it. For the chance to escape our daily grind, and get sucked into the world they’ve all created for us.

So who’s crazy now?

Is it the person who gets $3 million for two years work, getting in the best shape of their lives, and has people doting on them, catering to their every whim?

Or the people who pay $15 to sit in a dark room with a outlet hundred people they don’t know for three hours to watch the final spectacle?

Or just maybe, it’s the people who pay the money and gripe about the prices being nuts. If you think the prices are insane, don’t go. But if you go, you’re inherently saying it’s worth it to you.

So if you go, and whine about it, then you’re the crazy one because you’re responding to something you purposely did that you said was nuts.

And you probably enjoyed it. And more importantly, you’ll probably do it again.

Now that’s just crazy.

How to Decide Whether to Use Fulfilled By Amazon or Store and Ship Inventory Myself

Buying FBA

As a shopper, I love buying used items. For starters, this saves me money. It also feels good to know I’m helping out another “little guy” seller like myself.

Then one day I got something that was very different than described. The listing said it was in very good condition, but it was closer to acceptable. And there’s a huge difference. For example, very good means there’s no writing or highlighting, the cover looks great, and so on. Acceptable, however, means it’s usable but it’s about to fall apart or is a total mess.

Turns out FBA items, meaning those a small seller sends to Amazon to store and ship, relies on all sellers correctly identifying the condition.

Fulfilled by Amazon for used items also means that Amazon puts all of them in a single warehouse location and picks any of them off the shelf when one is sold.

In other words, you might not get the used item from the seller you think you’re buying from.

As a buyer, it’s great to get used items as part of my Prime shipping. After all, buying a used book in great condition for $8 when a new one is $14 is a pretty good deal.

If the seller ships it themselves, I don’t get to take advantage of the combined shipping. Now the $8 also requires $4 shipping, making the total $12. Suddenly spending an extra $2 to know I’m really getting a new book seems like a good idea.

Selling FBA

As a seller, however, my reputation is on the line every time Amazon sends out someone else’s inventory.

It’s also a lot of work to sell using FBA. In addition to assessing the quality, now I have to bag it in a way that Amazon finds acceptable, and add a label so the picking equipment sends the right thing to the buyer. It also means I have to box it all up to send to Amazon, including a packing slip of exactly what’s in each box. And finally, I have to pay Amazon a monthly fee to store each unsold item.

Which basically gives me two options. One, I can control what the customer actually gets, and the costs of storing and shipping. Or two, I can ship a bunch of stuff to Amazon, pay them to store and ship it, and l hope the customer gets something similar to what is listed.

On the other hand, though, it’s more likely to sell if the buyer can take advantage of Prime shipping. And even if it doesn’t sell for a while, it’s out of my house right away.

Then again, if I hold onto it, it can also be listed on eBay or sold during a garage sale.

So how do I decide?

  1. Can it be listed on Amazon? For example, this platform does better with items that have an ISBN or UPC.
  2. Have I already read / heard / watched it? If no, I hold onto it to buy myself some time to enjoy the item before it sells.
  3. Will I make money selling it FBA? For example, is the average listing price $0.01 (which happens!)? Keep in mind, I have to pay for a bag and a label, and take the time to put it in the bag, print the label, and put the label on the item, and so on. How much am I really going to make? If it’s under $10, I hold onto it.
  4. Does it take up a lot of space? After all, FBA for used items isn’t just for books. One time I sold an amplifier. In this case, getting the floor space back made a lot of sense. If it’s small, I probably hold onto it.
  5. Can and will I list or sell it some other way, such as eBay, Etsy, or a garage sale? If so, I’ll hold onto it.
  6. Can I build a reputation and gain repeat customers? Quite frankly, using FBA for used items doesn’t work that way. The only folks who can get an Amazon storefront are “real” sellers with a physically shoppable location. Meaning I can’t have one. So the real question is, will this item help me build a reputation and gain repeat customers? The truth is that most items with an ISBN or UPC are so commonly available that a lot of buyers don’t really care who’s selling it. But if it will help my online brand, so to speak, then yes, l’ll hold onto it.
  7. Is it likely to sell without the draw of “free” shipping? This one’s a bit trickier because it has to be viewed from the customer’s side of the equation. Will the buyer still save enough getting it through me personally, even with the added shipping costs? If so, I hold onto it.

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why I might hold on to the inventory instead of sending it in.

But there are two big reasons that override a lot of these answers. First, this is the best time of year to sell stuff, and customers might not even look at items listed on the site that don’t use Prime shipping. Second, I’ll be recovering from spinal surgery until January or February of 2019, making it harder for me to process items that sell.

In essence, then, the only question that matters is the first. If I’ve already enjoyed it and/or no longer have a use for it, off it goes.

Assuming I have time to get things out before the surgery, that is. Which I very well might not because that’s in eight days.

#1 Reason Why I Stopped Offloading iThing Apps

I first became aware of the “offload unused apps” feature in Apple’s iPhone X, on iOS 11.

It sounded nifty, so I turned it on. After all, I tend to fill up my phones with important things like dog pictures. Besides, the app will automatically reload when I want it again!

Except when it won’t.

See, the app only reloads if it’s still in the App Store. If you happen to occasionally use a “legacy” app, meaning one that’s made for an older version of the operating system that never got updated, well, you’re just sol. Because eventually, the App Store will stop carrying it because, well, it it’s not current.

Same thing if the publisher falls out of favor with Apple or goes out of business.

Meaning the app might still work fine, but no one can buy or install it anymore. And if nobody can install it, then you can’t reload it. After all, reloading is basically just re-installing it.

Trouble is, the icon will stay on your home screen, and then you just can’t use it because it’s no longer available. And nobody warns you, like, “oh, hey, this app your phone automatically off-loaded won’t be available after Thursday, so download now if you might ever want it again!”

Nope. You tap the icon to use it, and blam, you see, “this app is no longer available,” instead. That’s it.

So now I keep everything, even if it’s never been opened, because if I thought it was worth trying, then it might be worth using someday, even if I haven’t, yet.

Kinda sounds like this feature is causing me to do exactly the opposite of what Apple intended, which was to remove things rarely used to make room for frequently used or fresher stuff, and more importantly, apps containing code that’ll slow down my shiny new phone.

Yep, now I’m a digital pack rat because I have to be. Before this, apps hung around because I was too lazy, er busy to remove them.

Thank you, Apple, for giving me justification to hoard it all!

In all seriousness, though. Finding out how many things are just hanging around has helped me become more conscious of what’s actually used. Before this feature, all apps were on all devices. Now, however, I know which are used on the iPhone, the iPad, or the iPad Pro, and can consciously decide which device(s) to keep it on.

Turns out I don’t watch movies on the iPhone all that much. But I do stream them from the iPhone to the Apple TV. Why? Because it turns out homesharing from the 27″ iMac being used as a media server isn’t really working out that well. Even though all the settings match the help articles, it doesn’t really share content with any of the other devices.

I was vaguely aware of this before. Now, however, I’m reminded a couple times a week that this is an issue. Sounds weird, but it’s true. Now that I’m aware of how apps can get lost, I’m aware of how all my content is (or isn’t) available. And is or isn’t used.

Which basically means I’m suddenly aware of how even physical media availability and organization has been allowed to remain in disarray (at best). Since Apple introduced this offloading feature, I’ve been motivated to offload things not being used in real life, too.

Except. I can find the CD but not the case. Or worse, the case but not the CD. And let’s face it, garage sale shoppers would rather by a caseless disc than a discless case.

Alright then, I can sell the excess books I’m not using. Chances are that the pages are still in the binding. And they are! Yay!

So the book gets listed on amazon. And it sells. Like, right away. And it has to ship within two business days. But, uh, I haven’t read it, yet. And it’s 400 pages long. And it’s about blockchain.

If you know what blockchain is, you probably realize that reading a tome about it in two days makes it hard to comprehend, and harder to retain. If you don’t know what blockchain is or how it works, imagine learning how to read in Sanskrit then read a how-to-manual. In two days.

Ok, it’s not quite that intense. The point is, it’s not like reading See Spot Run.

So what is the point? It’s quite simple, really.

The number one reason why I don’t let the iPhone X offload apps is I’m not going to let some little piece of electronics remind me of just how many books I’ve purchased but not read, or music I’ve purchased but not heard, and so on.

Having the phone automatically clean out unused apps reminds me that my home is just one ginormous rabbit hole of stuff that’s taking forever to cleanup because each piece of paper takes me to another piece of paper that leads to another bookcase of things, and … nevermind.

In other words, yay, the iPhone can automatically clean up the clutter but I can’t. And so off the feature goes.

Oh, and it stops me from reloading stuff when it’s wanted again because the code is no longer in the App Store.

Ok, so that’s two reasons why I stopped using the new Offload Unused Apps feature in iOS 11 and 12.

Two Reasons Why I Don’t Trust Amazon Anymore

Amazon used to be my go-to place to buy just about everything. Until things started getting strange about a year ago.

Suddenly I went from being one of the top 2000 reviewers to having all of my reviews pulled. Without notice. And nobody could or would tell me why. In fact, no one even told me this happened. I found out by writing a review and getting an error message when trying to post it.

It took a couple of months, but I could post reviews again. Of course all the prior reviews were gone, but hey. Note that they never told me this was cleared up, so I didn’t know for months.

My good standing in this Community lasted only a couple of months after that, and then the same thing happened. Again without notice or explanation. See below for the one and only review at this time, and the error message:

Know what else happens when you can’t leave reviews? You can’t ask questions, either. You read that correctly. When your account is in this inexplicable bad standing status, you can’t leave reviews, ask questions, or provide page feedback. Basic things, such as “The listing title says five, the description says four, and yet six appear in the picture. How many actually come in an order?”

Apparently that’s not something a customer needs to know.

So how did I get kicked out of what Amazon calls the Community? Twice? Seriously, not a clue. Here’s a link to their guidelines. I’ll add a PDF as to what they were at the time of this article once personally identifiable information has been removed

The call-center people obviously use English as a second language, have no idea what is being asked, and about an hour into the call, each one says this has to go to a special team that handles these things who’ll get back to me in a few business days.

I’ve been through similar phone calls at least five times, and have yet to hear from this special team.

Yes, everyone I’ve spoken with has apologized for the inconvenience. They’ve all been very polite. And none have been provided the training or knowledge-base articles regarding this issue. It’s greatly appreciated that the company hires conscientious call-center reps. It’s also very unfair to these reps to not give them the information they need to do their jobs, which is to help the customer.

I get that Amazon wants to maintain the civility and integrity of the Community. This is why I know the rules, and follow them to the letter. I’ve never gotten into a flame war, belittled anyone, or uploaded inappropriate pictures or videos. And all reviews, good and bad, honestly describe my experience with each product.

This means that Amazon is pulling honest reviews down without notice or explanation. Which to me means the Community’s integrity is broken. I can no longer trust the product reviews and ratings because I don’t know how many others have been pulled, or more importantly, what they said.

You know what else this means? Amazon is now the shopping destination of last resort instead of being my first choice. Which means less revenue for them. Granted, I’m only one customer and they have hundreds of millions.

That being said, Facebook thought they were invincible, too. Then they violated user trust too many times. In the past year, they have significantly fewer active users, and those that still use the platform are on there less frequently and for shorter time periods.

Goodbye, Amazon. It was nice while it lasted. I was an early adopter, and now it looks like I’m an early abandoner, too. If you don’t have the integrity to ask first, keep me in the loop as to why or how you think things went wrong, and don’t offer a viable action to clear my name, then let’s just say I don’t need your mind games and shenanigans in my life.

Amazon says it wants a sense of Community and open conversations to enhance trust in their platform. Too bad this is absolutely the wrong way to do any of those things.

Plane Advice

A friend recently asked for travel advice, specifically for air travel. I suggested he take the train 😜


  • The only things to take are you, the clothes you’re wearing, and one small piece of luggage and one personal item such as a purse, computer case, or briefcase. See invasive search and pissing off everyone behind you if take a backpack.
  • If you check anything, assume it will be opened and taken apart, stuff may disappear, it’ll be poorly repacked, and that’s just too bad.
  • Have your ticket and ID ready, and expect to be grilled on the information so they can verify it’s you.
  • If you see a teeny pre-check symbol on the boarding pass, use that shit.


  • Expect to be searched.
  • Expect to be invasively searched if you’re wearing a beanie or baseball cap, or if one of the TSA peeps is having a bad day, thinks you have an attitude or are medicated, wants to date you, you’ve used any personal products with powder, hand-sanitizer, or lotion or your luggage and/or personal item has any residual powder, hand-sanitizer, or lotion on it from prior use, or you have dandruff.
  • Expect to open your luggage and personal item, turn on electronic devices, that you’ll have to re-pack everything, and that everyone behind you will be pissed if you take too long.
  • Assume that the TSA will confiscate anything you bring, they don’t have to give you a reason, there is no recourse, and you’ll never get it back. If you whinge about it, see attitude (and invasive search).
  • Be comfortable with the idea that the TSA sees everything in their little X-ray device. Every curve, line, body part, hair follicle,  tumor, kidney stone, and fat molecule.
  • if you have cancer or kidney stones, see invasive search, but they won’t tell you or your medical provider(s).
  • See invasive search if your wear a tampon or feminine napkin (ladies), or Depends guard (males).
  • Don’t wear shoes with metal (see invasive search), or that will take you more than a few seconds to remove and put back on (see pissing off everyone behind you).
  • When they say empty your pockets, they mean it.
  • See invasive search if any pocket has lingering lint (see x-ray machine) or you put any lint in their tray.
  • If you wear cargo pants, see both invasive search and pissing off everyone behind you.
  • Make everything easy to recognize as yours so another passenger doesn’t accidentally snag it because the bags, electronics, wallets, and plastic bins look a lot alike.
  • Don’t bother taking personal hygiene products. The TSA hates them (no matter what their web-site says), the hotel will provide them, if asked, or you can buy some on the other side of the trip. 
  • No food or water will pass TSA screening, and expect that you cannot take anything purchased post-screening onto the plane.

If you’re traveling outside the USA, have another place to go if you’re not allowed back in.

Oh! And have fun!