Friday, June 5, 2020

Black Codes (from the Underground)

As a failed trumpet player (although not as bad as I was at baseball; sorry on both counts, Virgil), I was in awe of Wynton Marsalis when I first heard him. He was one of the first celebrities I met in person, back in the mid-80s (below). Ellis Marsalis (his father) and Marcus Roberts (who played with Wynton for several years) was the first concert (and first "date") Anne and I went on in 1992.

Black Codes
is an incredible album that will always have a special place in my memory. 

Monday, June 1, 2020

Friday, May 29, 2020

Reposting: Post-Racial Society

I hear over and over that a majority of Republicans think that "reverse discrimination" [sic] is a bigger problem than racism. My question: Would you rather have your child or grandchild treated like the average white child or the average black child? (Even ignoring the racial wealth gap - "The median family wealth for white people is $171,000, compared with just $17,600 for black people.")

Here's a graph of treatment by police (further explanation):

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Serious Question

Yes, I don't believe free will exists

That said, every day brings a new low. The latest is that the former host of Celebrity Apprentice retweeted a video saying “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” 

People are, of course, defending this. But even the Republican Party of New Mexico said: “The Republican Party of New Mexico wants to state for the record that any statements, whether in jest or serious about harming another individual are just plain wrong.”

So here is my question: Is it unreasonable to refuse to associate with anyone (in the U.S.) who won't vote against Trump in November? 

Serious question.

PS: In "predict the future" satire: Trump Demands That Republican Convention Move from North Carolina to Moscow

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

More United

Someone saw how United Airlines is trying to rob us and posted this story:

That reminds me of our experience flying to Bolivia last year. On the way down, we missed a connection in Panama, but eventually arrived several hours late.* On the way back, I was able to check-in and get a seat assignment, but my wife was not. She called the United helpline, where the agent told her that since she had missed the connection, the rest of her itinerary had been canceled. She explained that that made no sense, since the two of us were traveling together on the same itinerary, and mine wasn't canceled. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Compare and Contrast

Also see this short vid, explanation here.

Trader Joe's

Every week, I would go to Basha's (our local grocery store), Whole Foods (next to the library), and Trader Joe's. Now I go to Bashas once a month right when it opens. I miss Trader Joe's.

They have a new patty right with their hummus! Mmmm...hummus....

Saturday, May 23, 2020

United Airlines: How Not to Win Friends and Influence People

As you well know, Anne and I were supposed to fly to Germany in early May. We had purchased the ticket on October 19, 2019, through (AAA Bank of America Visa). After many many flight changes, in early April, our flight from Denver to Frankfurt was canceled outright.

After much searching, I found a place on the United website to put in for a refund, which I did. It said I would receive my refund in seven business days. After waiting more than seven business days and hearing nothing, I called. After a long hold (understandable) and attempts to get me to take travel credit instead (again, understandable), I was told my refund was approved for both tickets and I would be receiving a credit back on my credit card for the full amount of the purchase (the correct full amount of the credit quoted to me).

Again after more than seven business days of further silence, I called again. When I eventually talked with an agent, I was assured, in absolute certainty, that the refund was approved, but I had to wait longer before I received the credit. This is not so understandable - they were able to charge my credit card instantaneously when I bought the ticket.

Yesterday, I received an email that said "We've processed the refund today." I was relieved, even though it had taken something like six weeks after they had canceled our flight.

Today, when there was still no credit on our credit card, I happened to look at the email from yesterday, and down at the bottom I saw it was for half of the purchase price. I went to their refunds page, and the refund for Anne's ticket had been denied!

Just to repeat, this was the same reservation, the same purchase, the same confirmation number (if you happen to read United: JCE2ZZ), the same canceled flight, the same request for a refund. The ticket numbers were sequential (-98 and -99).

I called again and the agent had no hypothesis for why this would have happened. She said she would put it through again (again for United: Case Number 159026321996846), but again, I would have to "seven to ten business days" to hear back one way or another.

As readers know, I love flying and love planes. I'm willing to put up with a lot. (The last time I flew United, the flight was so delayed I was stranded overnight. These things happen.) But this seems like a deliberate attempt to make me actively dislike a company I would have spent thousands of dollars with in the future.

UPDATE: Thanks for your suggestion. If I don't get the rest of the refund this time, I'm going to my credit card company.

See also: Why is it so hard to get a flight refund?

Photo from United Airlines is Trying to Steal My Money.

Friday, May 22, 2020

One Wing

I hear there is a new Wilco song out - one of my fav bands. To prep, here is One Wing:

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


And I post this having gone through that phase myself at ~16 like most upper-middle-class white dudes do.