Friday, July 25, 2014

Read This, Thought of You...

Yesterday's "Poem of the Day" from The American Academy of Poets

Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn, 1960

Years later I’m standing before a roomful of young writers in a 
high school in Texas. I’ve asked them to locate an image in a 
poem we’d just read—their heads at this moment are bowed to 
the page. After some back & forth about the grass & a styrofoam 
cup, a girl raises her hand & asks, Does it matter? I smile—it is as 
if the universe balanced on those three words & we’ve landed in 
the unanswerable. I have to admit that no, it doesn’t, not really, 
matter, if rain is an image or rain is an idea or rain is a sound in 
our heads. But, I whisper, leaning in close, to get through the 
next forty-seven minutes we might have to pretend it does.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Are you sitting down? A State and Federal Government SNAFU...

There are so many extant prefaces that will do, but I choose this one:

"Truth is stranger than fiction."

Yesterday, while playing with the up-and-down controls on my hospital bed, and listening to the "Summer Night" setting on my Homedics Sound Spa with 6 Sounds, Fred brought in the day's bundle of mail.  I almost missed the real challenge to my mental well-being , as we are receiving an inordinate amount of what amounts to Hate Correspondence thanks to my inExecutive Decision to cancel this year's ManorFest due to Personal Insanity.

You know, we paid through our considerable noses to have an unplottable address, so how are all these Haters getting the address to Marlinspike Hall, anyway?  Harrumph.

Unplottability refers to the deliberate concealment of several areas around the world. Unplottable locations are either magically hidden from plain sight or simply removed on maps. Common reasons for unplottability are for individual safety and the protection of certain secrets, particularly within the schools of wizardry.
Anyway -- too tired for more original segues -- about one-third of my way through the interminable gripes, most of the "we-all-have-problems-and-yours-are-nothing-special" sort -- my swollen and painful hand landed on a thick envelope of poor quality, making me cry out:  "Oh shit!  Something from the government!"

And so it was.  Apparently that brief trip to the United States of America, within which is located the land of Atlanta, itself subsumed by the backwardness of the state of Georgia -- a trip via miniature [pink] submarine and Captain Haddock's own wormhole, which originates in Marlinspike Hall's moat -- apparently, that brief trip to see the Board Certified Neurologist Doctor Raymon J Wilensky [RJW] left Fred, myself, the submarine, and all the physical holdings of the Haddock family PLOTTABLE!  How else to explain a thick envelope of poor quality from a division of the State of Georgia, made out to my Americanized moniker?

Eight pages long it was.  

It's title?  An initially agonizing, sharp-intake-of-breath inducing: NOTICE OF DECISION.

I make thousands of important decisions a day.  Still, I rarely issue an eight-page notice detailing them. That'd just be embarrassing. Besides, I have a blog for that!

Okay, to sum it up, it was from something called the "RSM Project Office."  
I went "Oooohhh!"
Then I went "Oooohhh, what the hell is the 'RSM Project Office' and do I have to freaking climb up to the Computer Turret to find out?"  

In case you've forgotten, this is the path from our cushy apartment in one of the Directional Wings off the main digs of the historic Marlinspike Hall, ancestral Manor home of the Haddock family to the modern convenience of wifi, as detailed in an early blog post:

The only way in or out, up or down, the pesky turret is via a thick rope ladder, dyed caution yellow, that extends down (but mostly sideways) out to the Manor Stables -- a remarkable outbuilding that is an alarming replica, as we pointed out in our last post, of the Knoppenburg Manor Stables. The proper term today is "agricultural building." You won't catch me calling it a barn if there are any prying ears about. Of course, the last outsider who dropped by was The Technician Overlord of Our Telecommunications Bundle, which he so wisely decided was best centered in the Hobby Room at the top of the Turret Tower. We had concocted a cover story about the rope bridge ("It's more a bridge than a ladder," Fred just said), which consists of the baldfaced lie that we are a new off season venue for those Cirque du Soleil performers who are fresh out of rehab. So the hefty diameter of that hemp monster, see, is easily explained away as necessary gear for these poor, troubled acrobats.
I'm usually not subject to such heights of embarrassment (heights, and, lately, riches) but I just don't want anyone to think that I have to zig zag my way from one Manor Wing to another, make it to the Grand Ballroom, out the entrance, patterned after Brunelleschi's bronze baptistery doors, over the drawbridge (Provided it is down! Men!), across the moat, down the lane, over the hedge, into the damned agricultural outbuilding, up the custom wheelchair ramp into the hayloft, and then, lickety-split, go hand-over-fist on the rope bridge for a good half mile... all just to get my email.

Yes, Dearest Readers, I did ["have to freaking climb up to the Computer Turret..."].  Because the (800) number listed for said RSM Project Office is One Of Those Maniacal Menu-Operated Weapons Of Governmental War Attrition Tactics. Also, as Our Beloved Milanese Nightingale, the Bianca Castafiore, recently discovered, we only have functional cell phones whilst leaning at a 70 degree angle out one of the turret's bow-and-arrow openings, necessitating that Sven Feingold stop his important topiary shaping to come up and hang on to our telephoning ankles for the love of God, and also for His Sake.

See? Either way, these "RSM Project Office"  arseholes from Atlanta, Georgia, necessitated the arduous journey to the Computer Turret.  Yesterday being Monday, that meant that my huffing and puffing and slip-sliding through the intervening barn, now renovated as the Carny Rehab Facility, meaning that, yes, red-faced, sweaty moi would be interrupting a post-weekend Group Therapy Session of pissed-off carnies. And why are they pissed off?  It would have been a great weekend for them, full of gainful employment and illicit drug transactions, had ManorFest 2014 gone off as scheduled.  And who cancelled ManorFest 2014 due to "personal insanity"?  That's right, moi again!

Anyway -- I made it to the Computer Turret, though more than disheveled, Sven batting off the intrepid acrobats with a police-grade head crusher and the occasional zap of a Taser.  He held my ankles as I plunged out the window and dialed the useless Georgia government phone number... then returned, using the stairs, this time, to his appointed duties.  We need to petition the Captain for a raise, or supplemental gratuities, or something, on behalf of Sven.  Just the fact that he's keeping The Castafiore occupied ought to be worth considerable "executive bonus" points to Archibald Haddock, y' know?

Okay, so I was stuck with email to shoot through the moat algae and out the other end of the wormhole to Atlanta, Georgia Land.

I wrote the email produced below, though for purposes of transparency and The Fair Reporting Act As It Applies To Blogs About Fictive [shut UP!] Lives, the last paragraph was added after 5 emails were returned as "undeliverable," except 1 reply from "customer service."

Please read this email in its entirety, paying attention to the details,
wherein lie many of the pertinent details. 
My name is, for your purposes, L. Ryan and today I received the "RSM Project Office"'s
denial of my "request for benefits." 
It's a fascinating document, for primarily two reasons. 
*One: I did not request Medicaid benefits. That must have been a glitch inthe ACA Marketplace application I completed in October 2013, as I would
never deign to bother the Great State of Georgia and its forward-looking
policies toward health care. I don't have that kind of time to waste. 
*Two: At the end of the document, I was intrigued to discover that Ireceive SSI benefits in the amount of $331.57. Why "intrigued"? Because I
don't receive SSI benefits.

If you'd please squelch the errant SSI payments I supposedly receive, I'dbe forever grateful. 
If, however, I somehow deserve that money... oh
please, send me a check that covers the last 14 years of our lives,
non-taxable, and that doesn't deprive me of the rest of my [private disability] "benefits." 
If someone has, by chance, been collecting SSI in my name? Well, it'sprobably your job to deflect that bit of larceny back to the federal
government. I've done my part as an [expatriate] citizen and submitted a fraud report,
just moments ago.  Having no "company" name to supply, I used the
"RSM Project Office" name and address as the fraudulent party.

I sat up here knitting apple and banana cozies, answering the occasional frantic email from family members, most perturbed, though, by the missing emails, and the cold-as-ice family sentiment poseurs -- figuring that SIX emails to the Department of Human Services should jolt some bureaucrat into a reply.  Yes, I mentioned in one of the [...] deleted segments that I am the Queen of Gullibility.  I am, I swear.  The thing is, once you screw with me, I don't forget you, ever, and, unfortunately, the organization for which you work is also tainted with your evilness, even if you have cozies on your rusty toaster and your 1970's avocado Salad Shooter.

Apple and Banana Cozy by BeadlesandPins at

[Oh, damn.  Fred just dropped a bottle of chardonnay. What a technological breakthrough, live blogging! Now, had I knit a chardonnay cozy, might that bottle remain intact?  We'll never know.]

Oatmeal Cable Knit Wine Cozy, $12,

[Kind of disturbing, huh, this "cozy" craze?]

Well, anyway... This is the text of my email to the federal government Social Security Fraud Tip Thingy:

I was notified by letter yesterday from the "RSM Project Office" of the State of Georgia DFCS department of their decision regarding two things, an application for Medicaid coverage and my monthly SSI income. 
The small problems I have with this notification are mostly covered by these facts:
1.  I never applied for Medicaid -- unless the ACA Marketplace submitted the request in my name, something I explicitly asked not be done.
Either someone out there is receiving that amount in my name or the "RSM Project Office" just sits around making up stuff to foil anything to do with President Obama's landmark legislation.   
I consider either possibility equally probable. 
This is not a joke, despite my attitude.  I have no idea how long "I" have been receiving this imaginary money, but should I, indeed, prove eligible for its receipt, please forward it to my sad bank account, with interest.  In lieu of that, please find and arrest the person/entity who is enjoying that government benefit in my name. 
Do I really believe that a division of Georgia's government has stolen SSI funds from the good and decent Federal government?  No.  But I do believe they are ignorant enough and blinded by political animus to overlook an obvious bit of fraud.  I've asked them to report it... I doubt that they will. 
Ah, those of you out there who just love State and Federal SNAFUs are waiting, breath-bated, for the one response that DID come!  Well, here you go, and look, Fred just found another bottle of chardonnay, duct-taped under the kitchen table by Bianca "Wile E. Coyote" Castafiore.  Just in time.

On Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 2:35 PM, <> wrote:

Good afternoon,
Your request has been forwarded to the DFCS Fair Hearing Unit for review and response.
Have a great day.

© 2013 L. Ryan

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

some ordinals... but not others...

let's see.

first, great thoughts of flaming balls of courage (in the southern style) to miss kate mcrae and her lovely family out in california, land of all possibilities, ocean, sky, sand, and forest.

she's had a neurological scare, and i suppose that any neurological symptoms suddenly showing up in a brain cancer survivor makes one want to redefine "scary" and scream "bleeeeccckkkkkkk!"  just guessing.

so she has an mri and all that stuff coming up so that we can dismiss scary and stop yelling  "bleeeeccckkkkkkk!" -- thereby rendering us all much more acceptable to be around.

second, great thoughts of flaming balls of freaking courage, pain relief, and waves upon wave of energetic laughter, even of the cosmic sort, to our brother-unit el profeso obstinado, the former grader boob.

no, grader boob is not dead, deceased, but he is kinda gone. on a temporary basis.  he recently penned the humorous observation:  "I was asked to come in for an interview to one of the full-time spots I applied for months ago. The universe has a sense of humor."

it's simply that, due to a cancer invasion, el profeso obstinado has knocked off the hours he usually dedicates to red-penning and instructive, encouraging marginalia.  there is also the small detail that such activity would be even less compensated than usual.

let's see, i've pulled off a "first," and a "second," and without much difficulty, i could add a third, fourth, and fifth.  but i'm not feeling ordinal.

© 2013 L. Ryan