Frank Facts and Reviews

Volume XVIII, No. 30

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This was one of the most frustrating weeks in a long time for me. On Monday, I was almost the victim of some sort of Scam Operation! An unknown phone caller, assuring me that he was a representative of Medicare, said he just wanted to make certain I was getting all of the benefits to which I am entitled. Now, let me add that he had awakened me from a deep sleep, and I was still pretty drowsy. I answered several questions, and did not hesitate when he asked me for my checking account number. The moment the number was out of my mouth, I realized what a fool I had been! I quickly hung up (noticing that his number and place of the call---Beaumont, Texas, were on my caller ID.

Grabbing my check book, I got in my car and drove straight to my bank. I had to cancel any checks they might get that day, There wasn’t a single car taking up the parking lot, so I relaxed and parked. Imagine how confused I felt when I knew the bank was closed! I checked my watch: it was well after 9:00, but I could not figure out why they were closed at that date! Will somebody please tell me when Columbus Day became a national holiday?

Still ignorant as to why the bank was on vacation, I drove to my next door neighbor’s house, and had him call the Better Business Bureau, to see if they could give me any advice. Then we called the district attorney. Nobody was working!

Later, that same day, my friend, Darren O’Donnell, called to tell me he had contacted a branch of Compass Bank (my carrier) and had alerted them to my predicament. He had taken care of everything! It certainly helps to have great friends! I went to my branch office on Tuesday, had them close out the old account (which I had over 20 years) and issue me a new number.

But my week of nightmares was not over yet: I was involved in a fender-bender on Thursday. But that can wait till next weekend!

Growing old is not pretty!


Cat Naps Quotes

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”

Irish Proverb



The Road to Ginger

       Every year, one of our bridge group from the Tuesday Methodist Church Game asks us to buy tickets to participate in an all-day program that is held in the ABBA Temple. There are tables for Bridge, but most of the people are playing other games. I have been to several of these fund raisers, and find them rather tiresome; so, when Janet and I traveled the route she had jotted down, when she called the woman who raised cats about our coming out to get a look at her fresh litter of Persian kittens, we found (to our amazement) that it was very near this landmark!

       “Well, this just has to be the right place---wouldn’t you think?” My friend observed.

       She had driven closer to the mail box, which had the woman’s name on it. We were both impressed at the decorations all over the mailbox, as well as the house to which it so obviously belonged. Cat motifs abounded! Even for my tastes, it seemed a bit too much,

       “Well, I should certainly hope so!” I agreed.

       On the porch, we waited after ringing the doorbell. Did it, too, have a cat’s face? I honestly think it might have, but I have forgotten many things about the experience, including the name of the cat owners. I thought I would be able to find it among the papers that I got with the adoption of Ginger, but there, too, it is missing.

       When the door was opened, the young woman who invited us in told us that, “Mother will be right with you.”

       The house was lovely, and so was the daughter.

       We were led into a spacious room and sat down to wait.

       Before long, the mother appeared, holding a basket-full of adorable little dirty-white kittens. I was told, later, that the color was called “Burnished Silver”. I had risen as soon as woman had entered the room, and

now that she was closer to me, I could see that one of the babies in the basket was not the same color as all of the others. That one was Burnished Gold, I was informed. 

       All of the “white” cats, except one, was male: the lone “gold” kitty was also a female. Over the years, I had loved cats and it seemed to matter very little whether they were male or female. As a matter of fact, I was infamous for name cats the wrong name, and they didn’t seem to mind. Both of my Judys were tom cats: the first one (while I still lived with my parents) would return home after being gone for three or four days, during which time I worried myself sick about “her’. Then “she” would come back, looking like the wrath of God: at least one of her ears would look half chewed off, and would have to be taken to a vet, so he could drain the puss from her swollen toes! It was the vet that informed me that Judy was a male, and not having been neutered, was out “Tom-catting” when he disappeared like that. But Daddy was adamant. I could keep the cat, and the cat could stay in the house as long as we stayed up; but one we went to bed. Judy had to go outside. This handsome creature lived until I went to Michigan State to finish my PhD; and then Mama wrote me that “She” had stopped eating, and that she was worried about Judy. Mama loved my pets almost as much as I did. When I received the letter, I phoned Mama immediately, to tell he all Judy needed was a pill for stomach works (which I kept in the family medicine chest). Mama began crying as soon as she realized who was calling, “Honey,: Mama said, “Judy died this morning.” I felt, literally, as if the world would never be the same for me. George, too, was very fond of that very special cat, and had written me (that last year of her life) that Judy had just walked past the open door to his bedroom, looking as if she were searching for me. He wrote that her lower jaw dropped as she sat at the screen door at the front of the hall, and seemed to be moaning my name.

       That Judy was the first of the extra special loves of my life.

       But, at that moment my concerns were with this little ugly pug nosed unnamed pure-bred. I had to admit (later, to Janet) that I was very disappointed in the little snub nose all of the Persians had. I knew. Then, that Chipper (the most perfect cat I ever saw) was definitely not Persian, but was probably an American Domestic, just as all of my best pets had been.

       Still, I was determined to stick with my original intention to buy one of the little Persians, in spite of their pug noses!

       The breeder and I came to an agreement on the price, and she informed me then and there that I would not be able to take the kitten with me for about six more weeks! Her routine was to part with the cat only after it had all of its shots. Of course, I was impatient to take the kitty with me that day, but I knew argument would get me nowhere.

       As Janet and I were standing in the opened front door, it was suggested that as soon as I decided what name I would choose, to let her know. She said she would begin calling the kitten by that name, and by the time I got her to my house, she would be used to her new name. It sounded logical, but Ginger seems totally oblivious to what I call her. She has an open mind; anything I want to call her- makes no difference to her!

(To be continued)





Kudos for Social Security

       There are not too many things I despise more than having to call somebody to report that their product, which I pay for, is not working. Invariably, the usual first thing I get is the news that today is one of the busiest they have experienced in a long time, and that my call is very important to them---so, although the delay will be long, please do not hang up on them. They will take my call in the order in which it was given. And then the “Music” begins. Only once in all of my years of being “put on hold” have I heard anything but “A” (for awful) sounds, posturing as music. That was long ago, when no less than AT&T had me glaring at my out-of-commision telephone, as I listening to a Mozart Piano Concerto on the other end. I even thanked them (when I finally got a word with an actual human being) for the courtesy they had shown me.

       Usually, the trash that interrupts their never-ending barrage of “commercials” ranges anywhere from Bluegrass (fast becoming my most hated genre) to acid rock.

       Oh, well, if you are a part of MY generation, this torture that must be endured, doesn’t need to be described by me,

       Imagine my surprise---and then slack jawed disbelief, when I had to call my local Social Security office to inform them that I had changed my bank account number, in order for them to know where to send my next SS checks, and  here’s exactly what happened (and I am not making this up).

       A recorded voice asks me, “What is your name?” and I answered, “Francis Imbragulio.” And then, instead of the usual follow-up to this disclosure, I was asked if my phone number was (and they quoted my almost-50 year old number. Then said, if it were correct, please press ONE). I hit the ONE and waited for the music and helpful hints (such as the fact that I could be conducting this entire procedure “On line”) but none such was forthcoming. I almost fainted when I was told to hang up my phone, and that I would be called in the order of which my call had been received!      

       I was stunned beyond belief! And then I got suspicious. I had never had any occasion to telephone SS, so felt almost certain this was entirely too easy! “Oh, well,” I rationalized; “What have I got to lose but three or four hours?” Having directed this query to Ginger (who was rolling around on her back at my feet) and looked adoringly at me and laughed in my face. I could almost hear her thoughts: “SUCKER!”

       I walked into the den and turned on my TV and began watching something I had recorded from the night before. I had barely gotten “into it” when the phone rang. I picked it up to answer it, and I heard a man’s voice, asking if this was (and then I heard my own recorded voice saying) Francis Imbragulio, and if it were he, to please press ONE on the phone or say, “One”. I was being served after less than ten minutes! The man could not have been nicer, he took care of the check transfer and asked only a few questions that were necessary.

       Before I hung up my phone, I felt compelled to tell him (just as I had thanked that long-ago AT&T worker, for the Mozart) how grateful I was that Social Security was the greatest service in the world. I said that just the way the new system used my pronunciation of my one name, had saved several wasted minutes as he tried to figure out not only how to spell it, but also, how to pronounce it.

       My next question for all of you, is, why the heck can’t every other company use as much common sense, and stop wasting the small amount of time many of us have left in this flawed old world of ours?



Movie Trivia Quiz #55

1.                   Boom Town had four of Metro’s biggest stars in one giant bore (as I remember it) Hedy Lamarr and Claudette Colbert were the females, who were the boys?

2.                   Lana Turner and Judy Garland were in what big musical of 1941?

3.                   The Haunting was one of the greatest Ghost Stories ever filmed. Can you name one of the pair of outstanding actresses who were in this masterpiece of terror?

4,          Born Free was a true tale of what kind of animal? Her name              was Elsa.

5.          Song of Love was supposedly a film biography of what 19th century composer of symphonies, concertos, songs and piano virtuoso works? He was portrayed by Paul Henried, with Katherine Hepburn as his wife.

           6.         Who portrayed Brahms in the above question?

7.              What actor played Benito Mussolini in Chaplain’s The Great Dictator?

8.               What actress was Joan of Arc in Shaw’s Saint Joan?

9,            Call Me Madam featured Ethel Merman as what society icon?

10.   In Old Chicago had which stars who had also appeared in Alexander’s Ragtime Band?



Answers to Movie Trivia Quiz #54

1. A Face in the Crowd was Andy Griffith’s breakthrough role in 1957. Long before the Mayberry days.

2.        Brigadoon was the name of the village where Gene Kelly found Cyd Charisse, only to have her disappear for 100 years that night.

3.     Humphrey Bogart was the tough male star of the Treasure of the Sierra             Madre.

4.     Malcolm McDonald was the star of A Clockwork Orange.

5.     Nancy Kelly played the mother of Patty McCormack,

the little devil-child, in The Bad Seed.

6.  Helen Keller was the basis for the film The Miracle Worker.

7.     Angels with Dirty Faces was the first film since Dead End for this teenaged group: The Dead End Kids.

8.     William Powell reprised his role as Florenze Ziegfeld in Ziegfeld Follies.

9.     What actress was

10. Marilyn Monroe sang “We’re Having a Heat Wave” in There’s No Business Like Show Business.





Sunday, October 14, 2012