Just sell me the damn medicine

I hate this nanny state in which we live.

Last Tuesday I started to come down with a cold. It started as a scratchy throat, then my ears plugged, then my nose became stuffed, and then the cough set in. I haven’t been sick in years, but when I get a cold, it always follows that same formula. As a result, I typically treat myself. Cough drops, over the counter cough medicine, and plenty of fluids and rest.

Last week, I picked up some cold medicine from Kroger called “Mucus Relief DM.” This stuff made me feel like a zombie. I was totally out of it. I did some research on the two active ingredients. One is called Guaifenesin, an expectorant. It makes your cough more productive. The other is Dextromethorphan HBr, which suppresses your cough.

In doing my research, I learned that the Dextromethorphan is the ingredient in Robitussen that people abuse (thank you, shady websites for that little gem of knowledge). It makes you drowsy, and apparently makes you hallucinate if taken in high enough quantity. That was enough for me– I was done with it. All I want is a more productive cough, not to suppress the cough.

So today, I bought the exact same medicine from Kroger, but without the Dextromethorphan. Just to be clear– this is over-the-counter medication. It contains NO ephedrine of any kind. To my knowledge, the only active ingredient– Guaifenesin– is not on any sort of “watch” list or anything like that. There are no restrictions on its sale.

So why is it that I had to show my ID to purchase this stuff? I mean, come on– if I can buy the DM variety, which is regularly abused, without ID, then why do I have to show my ID to buy the ingredient that the abusers apparently try to avoid?

It makes no sense. I am an adult. I am sick. I am perfectly capable of determining what medicines I need to take. I do not need to be needlessly harassed by a grocery store just so I can buy some completely-legal, non-abused cough medicine.

A quick discussion with the manager and the pharmacist confirmed that there are no restrictions on this medicine. Kroger, for some reason, decided to police its customers use of over-the-counter, legal medicine, particularly when I bought some (awful) potentially-abused medicine without ID from the very same store just last week.

Why wasn’t I asked for ID for the menthol cough drops that I bought? How about the chicken soup?

Just sell me the damn medicine, Kroger. I’m a big boy. I can make my own decisions.

That is all.

DNC = Does Not Compute

Just got an email from the DNC, sent by “Brad Woodhouse”, their Communications Director. Here’s what it says (bolding theirs, not mine):

Yesterday, Republican Congressman Joe Barton, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued an outrageous personal apology to BP and slammed the President for his efforts to hold them accountable.

Worse, if the GOP wins back the House, Barton is the guy who could be in charge of regulating the oil industry.

I just want to point out a couple of flaws with this logic.

First, Congressional Committees don’t regulate anything. At all. They, via legislation, establish government agencies that are tasked with enforcing regulations that the Congress as a whole must pass and, in most cases, are signed into law by the President. Regulations may also be established by the Executive Branch agency established by Congress, if the Congress assigns that power to the specific agency. The Committee is tasked with overseeing the Executive Branch bureaucracy that actually enforces regulations.

Second, if Mr. Woodhouse’s logic is to be followed, then the blame for the regulation failures fall squarely on the shoulders of Henry Waxman, current Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The blame, still using Mr. Woodhouse’s incorrect logic, would also rest on the shoulders of John Dingell, the Chairman of the committee in 2008 when the permit for the Deepwater Horizon was issued.

In the email, Mr. Woodhouse also stuck out his hand and begged for $5, as most of the DNC email do. Pathetic.

That is all.

Photoworks.com– Incompetent, or enabling spammers?

I own my own domain. As a result, I can create my own email addresses for whatever reason I choose. A lot of times, I will create a special email address to use when conducting business with one specific company. I will often put the name of the company with whom I am doing business right in the address. This allows me to track which companies sell my information.

Waaaay back on January 19, 2004, I registered at Photoaccess.com. The email address I used was photoaccess@mydomain.tld. I ordered from them once, on January 20, 2004.

On March 18, 2005, Photoaccess.com emailed me to let me know that they were now Photoworks.com. They emailed me one more time in 2005 (a week later), and I never heard from them again.

Until today.

Today I received some spam to the account I used only for registration with Photoaccess.com/Photoworks.com. The “company” was trying to sell me “sunroom remodeling,” which is odd since I don’t have a sunroom.

So three things could have happened:

1. Photoworks.com sold/leased my email address to the spammer. I read their privacy policy. If they did sell/lease my information to a third party, they violated their own Privacy Policy, which reads: Your email address and financial information are used by PhotoWorks to conduct business with you and are not rented or sold to any other third party unless you explicitly give us permission to do so. I never explicitly gave them permission to share my information with sunroom remodelers, so if they did share my information, they are incompetent and enabling spammers.

2. Photoworks.com had a security breach, with the end result being that my company-specific email address was revealed to a third party. If this is the case, it is safe to assert that incompetence played a role in this breach of my privacy, unless Photoworks.com considers a breach of their customers’ privacy to be the result of a competent security policy. If incompetence is the cause, and that incompetence enabled a spammer, then Photoworks.com is incompetent and enables spammers.

3. Someone may have randomly guessed that I conducted business with Photoworks.com back in 2004– when they were Photoaccess.com. They may have also randomly guessed that I used the company’s name in the email address used for conducting that business. They then utilized that miracle of random chance to send me spam. That is so unlikely that I suggest it is an impossibility.

So, Photoworks.com– you will never get any business from me again. Ever. And anytime someone asks me where I get my photos printed– something that happens quite a bit considering that I am the free, on-call technology consultant for my entire (large) family– I will respond with…

“Whatever you do, don’t order from Photoworks.com. They are either incompetent, or enabling spammers, or both.”

I’ll forward this post to them and post any response I receive.

That is all.

Sometimes Savannah Sucks

Don’t get me wrong, I love the actual city of Savannah. It’s beautiful here, and I enjoy living among so much history. But man oh man, the people here lately have left me thinking that sometimes Savannah sucks.

Take this morning, for instance. I was driving downtown, which is a big tourist area. I’m on a road with a 25 mph speed limit, traveling the speed limit, and approaching an intersection with a traffic light. I have a green light, and so there is a do not walk signal for people who wish to cross my path. I get half way through the intersection, and some idiot twenty-something and his idiot girlfriend flat-out ignore the lighted sign directing them not to cross. They don’t even look as they stroll casually into the intersection, directly into the path of my vehicle. I apply the brakes and lightly tap my horn as if to say, “Hold up there, buddy– I have the right of way and if you go, there is a chance you’re going to get hit by my car.”

The response? Yeah, this prick gave me the finger. Come on, man– I have the right of way. You do not. You have the pedestrian equivalent of a red light. If you were even minimally observant, you would have seen the traffic signal requiring you to wait for a safe time to pass. If you were even minimally observant, you would have followed your mommy’s teachings and looked both ways before crossing the street. If you were even minimally observant, you would have seen the 2,000 pound chunk of metal and plastic less than twenty-five feet from you, headed straight towards you. Instead, you chose to put your life in my hands. And when I do the right thing and stop to wait for you, I am rewarded by having you give me the finger.

Or how about yesterday in the grocery store. I picked up a pack of buns just a few feet from the end of the aisle, and continued on my way. I got to the end of the aisle and made a right. I’m stopped dead in my tracks by a big fat man who is walking on the left side of the aisle. He was wide enough that I couldn’t go around him with my cart. Yes, that’s right– this man was wide enough that a cart could not pass beside him. He was practically a walking fire hazard. The man said, “Slow down,” as if he controlled the traffic in the grocery store. Well, Mr. Fatman, your excessive fatness had in fact already required me to come to a complete stop. If I was going any slower, I would be going backwards. If he was walking on the appropriate side of the aisle, or if he was only two feet wide instead of three feet wide, there would have been no issue. But alas he was walking on the wrong side of the aisle and was spanning most of that aisle. And he had the nerve to attempt to criticize me for trying to shop.

Or how about the complete idiots who keep turning down one-way streets? Two days in a row this week, I have been presented by vehicles whose drivers, while trying to get to the post office, prefer to try to save thirty seconds of driving by going the wrong way down a one-way street instead of going around the block and approaching from the proper direction. One was a couple in a car, sitting right in front of the federal courthouse, waiting until they felt it was safe to recklessly drive the wrong way down the one way. Not that their behavior was excusable, but the other vehicle that did the same thing the day before had even less of an excuse. It was a huge post office truck. Shouldn’t an employee of the post office know that there is an alley behind the post office that allows safe passage to the loading area? Shouldn’t an employee of the post office know that they could go around the block and approach the post office while traveling the proper way down the one-way? Apparently not. Either the driver was an idiot, or I stumbled upon the one quasi-government postal employee who was so concerned with government waste that a thirty-second trip around the block was not a reasonable trade off with general public safety.

Or how about the tourists who stand out in front of Paula Deen’s restaurant, the Lady and Sons? These folks line up starting at about 8:30AM to put in their name to eat at Paula’s buffet. I appreciate that they are here as tourists, but that doesn’t mean that everyone here is a tourist. On an average day, there is a hundred or more people lined up on the public sidewalk. This herd, apparently, takes the old adage of safety in numbers very seriously, for they walk back and forth across the public roadway– speed limit 25 MPH– like they are grazing. Come on folks– don’t make me hit you or your kids with my car. I really don’t want to. But if it wasn’t for me paying much more attention than them, I would have already hit numerous tourists. I hope it never happens, but it is inevitable that a tourist will eventually be killed while carelessly wandering in the road while waiting in front of the Lady and Sons.

Or how about Paula Deen and her staff, who are seemingly perfectly content in disregarding the safety of their patrons by encouraging people to line up on the sidewalk, directly adjacent to traffic, without offering warning signs directing people to stay out of the road, or a rope line preventing physical access to the road. I have an idea. Granted, I am not in the restaurant business, but in the past I distinctly recall that most restaurants take reservations over the phone. Not Paula and company– they let you line up like cattle waiting for the slaughter, effectively closing the sidewalk for anyone trying to pass her restaurant in their vein attempt to get from point A to point B. I guess public safety takes a back seat to Paula’s desire to sell souvenirs to tourists.

Or how about the City of Savannah itself? They have allowed Georgia Power– the company who has let our downtown literally ignite TWICE due to poor infrastructure– to close down a ton of roads while working, making it difficult for locals to conduct business. This is nothing new for the city. They closed down a number of roads and local businesses for several years while they built an ill-conceived underground parking garage, less than a half-mile from the river (yes, it flooded, so they had to implement a pumping system). There are still damaged buildings and roadways directly adjacent to the parking garage, with the damage having been caused by the digging of the hole for the parking garage. Once the parking garage was complete– well behind schedule– they closed down the easiest access road to that parking garage for over a month so they could put a Christmas tree that was literally in the middle of the street. We have dozens and dozens of public parks, most capable of holding a Christmas tree. Why close down the road? And they didn’t even do a good job decorating the tree, only putting lights on the upper left quadrant of the tree.

Back to Georgia Power, though. At one point last week, they had closed down the two main one-way streets headed into and out of downtown, which made getting around a huge inconvenience. There are at least a half dozen lane closures– most without detour signs or people guiding traffic around the closed lanes (as required by law)– at any given time. Add to that the fact that Georgia Power vehicles are taking up at least a dozen prime parking spots in a downtown area that is severely lacking in parking (and quickly dying as a result), and we have a miserable situation for people trying to patronize downtown businesses. And I don’t even want to get started on the quality of the work done by Georgia Power itself. I’ll just say that after they tear up roads and complete their work, the patch job they do are visually unappealing and likely of substandard quality. It kills me to see how crappy of a job these guys do with the money they collect via the excessive energy rates they charge me.

Anyway, I could go on and on, even more so than I already have. I, however, am sick, and need to sleep today. I’ll finish this post by reiterating my original point: Sometimes Savannah Sucks.

That is all.