Wednesday
Oct312018

Bank of Missouri (Debit Card Dilemna)

     I maintain a small balance checking account/debit card at the Bank of Missouri in Branson (BofM.  I have never written a check on the account, but a few times each month I do use the debit card for local purchases.  Normally about once a month I open the BofM App on my phone and deposit a check on another account into the BofM account.  It has worked fine for a few years.

     About 10 days ago, the BofM debit card was rejected at McDonalds.  When I checked the BofM App, I discovered that the <$1 balance had resulted from as many as fifty posted debits during the prior week each for $4.  The post detail indicated that all debits were pursuant to "pre-authorization by the business "Square", a Company with a SanFrancisco number and address.  The number which I tried was telephony answered and ultimately advised that it was only accessible by internet invitation to existing Square customers.  The BofM customer service representative explained that Square was a company that processed debit payments via an attachment to smart phones and that BofM had no way of knowing the name of the utilizing Square customer. 

     I filled out a dispute report on 10/23, the day following my discovery.  On 10/31, I received a call from a BofM representative who advised that she was investigating the dispute.  She asked that I provide information about other bank account that I owned, and repetively asked if any of such accounts were linked to my BofM account.  I answered definitively no.  When I inquired as to when the dispute would be resolved, Karen, the representative said "as soon as they had all of the facts". 

    I told Karen that the bank should stipulate a time limit on such resolutions, in that it could well be that the BofM customer's situation might be endangering.  In today's culture, "we are working on it" is not very helpful.  A date specific is much better.  Surprisingly and perhaps revealing when I pressed this issue, Karen said that the disputed funds had been credited to my account on 10/30, with the stipulation that when, as, and if warranted, the amount would again be debited.  My quick takeaway is that BofM should not honor derivitive payments without end user information, but what do I know.

     What I do know is that Karen should have related the, already effected,  temporary resolution up front, and managed the communication more as a neighbor and less as a FBI wannabe. 

     All things considered....the BofM response was responsible and appropriate...... the customer service.....it needs some work.

Friday
Oct262018

Simulacra

     Simulacra are not a recently discovered human ploy.  Purposely creating reality distortions is at least as old as socialization.  Some distortions are artful, (Picasso), some are dystrophic, (The Matrix), and some are intentional disseminated constructs designed to implement reality change, (Trumpism). In his Sophist, Plato speaks of two kinds of image making. The first is a faithful reproduction, attempted to copy precisely the "original". The second is intentionally distorted in order to make the copy appear correct to viewers.

     This may have sufficed for Plato's readers, living in a more stable "original", but today we have lost all pretence of there being an "original"As I have said in previous posts, we are now only able to intuit among competing narratives/simulacra. Accordingly, we are socially interacting from as many different motives as there are spinning narratives.  Seemingly we have chosen against strong, laser like, coherence, and further, even chosen against chaotic divergence.....no,  we favor flat out turbulence.  Hold on, it's gonna be a bumpy ride!

     Sam Harris says that humanity was pretty much fucked up until the Enlightenment when "reason" gained a foothold against the magic that dominated the ancient brain. I think he would conclude that today's turbulence can be held in check and managed into optimum coherence with a concerted adherence to the art of reason.

     Jordan Peterson believes that the need for a higher level of coherence is not possible with help only from a "reason compass".  He argues that today's extreme divergence can only be harnessed by a social consensus that the archetypical stories of the species contain bedrock narratives that have been validated by evolution to be life sustaining, and accordingly should be socially revered and adhered.... with or without the support of reason based arguments.

     Personally, I am just pleased that there is still some social consensus that "red means stop and green means go".  Sadly,  I don't trust either the primitive right, nor the effete left.

    

        

Friday
Oct122018

Goat Cheese for Millenial Marks

     Everyone pretty much knows who buys "goat cheese".  I do not, but Shirley apparently does, often.  After her recent visit, I ate the left-over and admittadely it was a nice rare taste. I noted that the plastic sleeve packaging offered that this was not just ordinary goat cheese, but was "gmo-ge" certified by "nsfnongmo.org".

     Who knows where the "genetically modifed organisms/genetically engineered" attributes that were certified, to not be present, might have, if offered by a less hip cheese company, have been present.  Perhaps engineered bacteria in the pasturizing process, or maybe the milk  optionally would have been from a "gm goat".  Who knows, but what probably is true is that those who buy goat cheese  likely pay a 30% premiem for something purported to be gmo certified.

     Likely they could have gotten another dollar if they would have advertised "gluten free".  Deceptive representations, coding subtle appeals to tribal identities, abound in today's upside-down culture.  There is nothing we can do about it....so smile... or just say "Cheese".

Friday
Oct122018

My "Science" Definition

     A selectable human state of mind where attention is directed to observations and related replica-table    predictions about universe phenomena  and  how they change.  To the extent possible  the state accepts nothing as derivatively true that does not build on a previously replica table fact and/or relationships. 

Saturday
Oct062018

So Long Rachel.....thanks!

     At 70+, prior to 2015, I had a minimal cable news habit occasionally watching Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett.  However, as the 2016 election came into focus, I discovered Rachel Maddow's unique and highly informative style.   Since that time I have been there virtually every weekday evening.  Most days her comprehensive "thread narratives' have informed my conversations with family and friends. 

     As the 2016 election results came to be, I felt badly for my loss, but even worse for Rachel's loss.  So much heavy lifting to come up short.  But then a "do over".  The Russian/Special Council saga brought renewed enthusiasm to her "deep inquiry" talent.  Unfortunately as this story has aged and become  brittle, even impassioned Rachel has had difficulty in "selling relevance".  It does not look promising.  Thanks to some welcome interludes to ventilate over "border kids" and "botched disaster responses" there was some relief from the nightly need to make interesting what by any reasonable standard was of little consequence. 

    More recently Rachel, like everyone, felt compelled to wade into the Kavanaugh debacle.  I can't imagine that she didn't know how that story would end.  No doubt her professionalism and legitimate liberal inclinations provided the energy for her calling play by play on  this latest loosing battle.

    Surely there will be more tyrannies. and most likely Rachel will continue to offer reasoned commentary on, what the trend would suggest is,  the "decline and fall" of the American Experience.  Personally, I can't continue to be a spectator in this Sisyphean drama where the rewards go to the self aggrandizing, crafty and deceitful and Rachel keeps rolling the rock up the hill.  I think I will switch over to Judge Judy and finish up with a laugh. #rachelmaddow