The Pharmacy Time Machine

A member called me and said “My doctor authorized me to get three pills a day. WHY am I only being sent two pills a day?”

I asked for the prescription number. It dated back to 2010.  This happened in 2014.

“It must be an old bottle,” she said. “But why am I only getting two a day? My prescription says three a day.”

I asked her when the last time was that she got medicine from us.

“I’m expecting it any day now,” she said. “You’re supposed to be sending it. I have the prescription right here.”

“Have you sent it in yet?”

“No. But it says three a day.”

Okay, let me get this straight. The last bottle this person has from us dates from four years ago. We have to have the prescription, of course, before we can send medicine.

She isn’t asking me why we haven’t sent the medicine yet, she’s asking me why her bottle, now, says two a day. So she’s asking me in effect why her prescription, that she is holding in her hand and hasn’t sent in, doesn’t change the bottle that she got four years ago to read “three a day.”

I politely told her she had to send in her prescription and we would be happy to send her three a day.

“Oh,” she said, as if it was a new idea. She was not elderly. She was a working professional. Who apparently thinks I have a time machine.

More Strands of White Hair

The other day, someone called in who wanted to know the price of a med.  Fine, that’s what I do.  (That’s what I… That’s what I…)  Then I asked her what it was.  She said “It’s new.”  I said “Okay, great, and if you can give me the name I can look the price up.”   She said “It’s probably not even covered.  My plan doesn’t cover new medications.”  I offered to check just to make sure.  Turned out she didn’t even know the name of the thing.  Before you think I’m making fun of some lovely creaky old lady who mmight be confused, know this frightening fact… this was a practicing nurse in her fifties.

Then a doctor’s office called.  They wanted to send us an electronic prescription.  I told them that it would work better to find us using our fax number as a serach term because it is unique, unlike our name.  This took about four increasingly simple explanations to get across.

We aren’t immune either.  I could have strangled a fellow rep who didn’t know what a benefits office was.  For folks who don’t work with insurance, the benefits office is the place that provides the benefits – like HR at a company if you work there, for example.  This agent had been though a six week training and had at least a few months on the floor and still didn’t know this extremely basic fact.  They thought we, the pharmacy, were the benefits office.  I sure wanted to give them a wall to wall coaching session!  The capper came when I closed out the call.  I said to this agent “is there anything else I can help you with?”  They said, and I quote, “you’re welcome, no problem!” and hung up.

Here’s one more that just happened.  A person callied, mid forties, wanting a refill.  He seemed pretty on the ball… at first.  Not heavily medicated, on just one or two things.  Problem: he called to refill when he had one pill left.  He knows we’re mail order.  He should also know why mail is associated with snails.  Next problem: This med is meant to be taken once a day.  His bottle said no refills.  That means you allow a little extra time for the doctor to get back to us.  Yes, the refills can be seen on the label.  Next problem:  He hadn’t ordered this med since LAST YEAR, August 4th.  I write this on April 13th.

I had to know what was up.  I asked “you should have run out months ago, have you been filling this locally?”  He said “but you sent ninety pills…”

Yes.  We sent ninety pills.  Charitably speaking, 250 days ago!

Don’t be him.

Famous Nostrils of Ancient Egypt


In reading translations of some old papyri, discovered in the 1800s, I found something that made me absolutely crack up laughing.  Apparently, at some point at least, it was considered polite to heap good wishes upon a ruler’s nostril.

You read that right.

His nostril!

For example, in the Adventures of Sanehat (which is a pretty good story, by the way), the main character writes this to the King Keper-ka-ra:

“Thou, the Good God, Lord of both Lands, Loved of Ra, Favourite of Mentu, the lord of Thebes, and of Amen, lord of thrones of the lands, of Sebek, Ra, Horus, Hathor, Atmu, and of his fellow-gods, of Sopdu, Neferbiu, Samsetu, Horus, lord of the east, and of the royal uraeus which rules on thy head, of the chief gods of the waters, of Min, Horus of the desert, Urrit, mistress of Punt, Nut, Harnekht, Ra, all the gods of the land of Egypt, and of the isles of the sea. May they give life and peace to thy nostril, may they load thee with their gifts, may they give to thee eternity without end, everlastingness without bound.”

Later, in the same letter, he says:

“O thou who art beloved of Ra, of Horus, and of Hathor; Mentu, lord of Thebes, desires that thy august nostril should live for ever.

Still later, in another scene, the God-King’s children say “May the goddess Nub give life to thy nostril; May the mistress of the stars favour thee, when thou sailest south and north.”

I laughed so hard when I saw this.  However, I can kind of think of why this would be a blessing.  The nostril is where the breath comes in, after all, so it could be considered holy for that reason – the ancient Egyptians were very symbolicly minded.  Also, since I live in a desert, I can relate to the truly titanic nose boulders that form when you combine dry air and blowing dust.   Wishing someone a lively, peaceful nostril starts sounding pretty good to me.

Also, this could be as simple as “hey, I’m glad you’re still breathing, I hope the gods keep it that way!” with the breath being synonymous with life.  Either way, it’s hilarious.

The Egyptian Nose story doesn’t end here.  Tutankhamun had a professional nose picker.  His wage was three head of cattle, plus food and lodging.  Not too bad pay for digging out the boy king’s nose gold.

So, when you really want to show some monarch (like your boss) some respect, wish them a happy nostril!



Egyptian Tales, First Series, IVth To XIIth Dynasty Translated From The Papyri, Second Edition, by W. M. Flinders Petrie (1899)

The Book of Bad Habits, By Frank C. Hawkins, Greta L. B. Laube, MD (2010)


The Adult Book Store

Someday, I want to run a place called “The Adult Book Store.”  When you come in, you would find a comfortable, friendly environment, filled with resources of all kinds.  There would be advice on picking out real estate, books on home repair, financial planning, cooking, raising children, home defense, history, gardening, brewing, vinting, health, and self improvement.

I’d have good books on tape CD like Tom Clancy, Robert Heinlein, L. Neill Smith and many others, as well as the most immortal classics.  I might even stock adult coloring books.  Maybe I’d have books on art and poetry and handicrafts.  Maybe I’d have music or good classic movies.  Everything an adult could need would be in my bookstore.

I’d probably have porn, too.

Is Bill O’Reilly predicting the next Jaffa invasion? 

Photo used under Creative Commons.  I don’t own it.


After all, he’s asking Donald Trump how he intends to employ black voters with tattoos on their foreheads.  He acts like this is a common condition of underemployed black men!

I don’t know if you’ve seen anyone with a forehead tattoo, let alone a black person with a forehead tattoo, anywhere except on Stargate.  I sure haven’t.  I’ve seen people with facial tattoos of other kinds on cheek, temple, neck, once in a blue moon the chin, but never on the forehead.   In fact, I can’t think of any other group of people who regularly have forehead tattoos!

So, I have to ask, is there something Bill O’Reilly knows that we don’t?  Are there groups of Jaffa, secretly living and working in our midst, or maybe not working because they can’t find jobs with their facial disfigurement?  Is that why they go to work for Goa’uld System Lords, because they can’t find work elsewhere?  I’d always thought the System Lord gave them the tattoo, but perhaps it’s the other way around?

Maybe Obama, who looks suspiciously like the System Lord Apophis, will decide to build a giant pyramid in DC as a public works project and also to land his starship on, and use all those Jaffa to guard it as we human slaves work on it?


apophis and obama
Whatever the case may be, shel kek nem ron.

The Magic Color Changing Rock

So I acquired this nice chunk of quartz recently. Lots of small crystals, some pyrite bits, and an intriguing shape. It has tinges of delicate green and very faint purple, with a darker green on the bottom shading into the white.  Difficult to see in a photo, but here it is, modeling this bracelet:


Quartz, right?

Or so I thought.

I took it outside to get a better look, and was startled to find that nearly the whole thing was tinted with purple! Maybe a few light hints of green. The rock looked completely different!

I went back inside.




What the heck?
It’s not unknown for certain minerals to look different under different kinds of light, but this is the most obvious case of it I’ve seen outside a rocks and minerals study lab.

Looking it up online, I found Alexandrite, which does show green under artificial light and turns purplish under natural light – looks like my mystery is solved!

Wait… not so fast there, either.

Alexandrite is actually green under natural light but goes purple under artificial light, which is backwards from my mystery rock. So what exactly do I have anyway? Do I have Etirdnaxela?

After even more research, I was finally able to solve the mystery.  It’s fluorite!  Two things tell me that.  One, the color change works the right way.  And two, there’s a great big cubic structure in the rock – that’s what the big corner in the rock is!

So I tested it with a UV flashlight – and it fluoresced bright pinkish purple!  That clinched it.  The thing is fluorite!

A very odd question at work…

Yesterday, something rather surreal happened.  It made me laugh, but it also really made me think.

I work at a mail order pharmacy, one of the really big ones in the US.  I think we serve a third of the US population or something like that.  Anyway, I’m the one who tells you why things aren’t covered, helps you get things covered, helps you with your bill, tracks orders, solves mysteries.  My friend is one of our answer gals, the people we call when we can’t figure something out.  Usually those questions involve solving problems with insurance, or figuring out technical difficulties.  That’s all just a little background so you understand the story.

My friend, let’s call her Jean, came over during an impromptu break to tell me that one of my fellow reps had called her, very worried.   Ah, but what was the rather inexperienced rep worried about?  That’s the question.  Jean said that the rep had asked where to see how long the Masons had been involved with our company.

Full stop.

The Masons?




Turns out the member who had called in was something of a conspiracy theorist, and wanted to know how long the Masons had been involved with us, and the rep who took the call had not only thought it was a serious question but actually thought it would be somewhere in our databases and resources.

That would have been interesting enough.  The really funny part, at least to me, is that the rep kept hounding Jean about where this information could be found, and who should she call to get it, and also insisting it should be available in our resources.  Jean ended up telling her to give the member to Corporate, which is a perfect solution – they are paid more than us, let them handle a strange question like this.  The member was satisfied, Jean was satisfied, and even our rep was satisfied.

Then I started thinking about this.  What kind of a person calls up in the first place and asks a front line customer service representative about this type of thing?  It’s not like we have it listed in “SOP 66.6, Masonic and Illuminati Connections to the Mail Order Pharmacy,” and flagged as “business confidential, do not discuss.”

Logically, a bottom level worker wouldn’t know about it, and a top level corporate officer might, but they’d never tell.  This is the kind of thing you’d go to Wikileaks or Above Top Secret, or less reputable sources, to find!

I, being a smart ass, offered a different potential solution – we could look up the founding date of our company and just give her that.

Funny and Strange Animal Names



When I was little, maybe five or so, my folks wanted to get me a kitten. We found a nice little tortoise shell cat. When we were naming her, I had heard about a cat someone had named Ketchup. Wanting to be TOTALLY original, I decided to name her Mustard. I really liked Yoda too at the time (having only seen him on a library poster and heard of him from Star Wars books and the Star Wars radio program) so I decided to give her that name as a middle name. So it was that this cat was named Mustard Yoda Plassman. Shortly, her name was changed to Tractor Breath for her loud purr.

Then there’s the guinea pig (from the previous post) named Cosima Kix Butts Wagner.

And then there’s the cat who was named Will Tweedy but his nick name eventually morphed into Goozit.

And my floofy calico, named Cassiopeia Dawn, who is now either called Mouse or Nezumi (Japanese for Mouse). Oddly enough, she responds better to the Japanese version.

I named my first real pet, a goldfish, “Otis Spoffard.” Only I called it “Otis Spotford” because I didn’t read the name right. I named my green vine snake “Egon Spengler.” And my first guinea pig was “Amelia Earhart.”

Orion Midnight, my inimitable black furred buddy, was called Rat for his odd “raa” meow.

Usually we start with a fairly nice name but end up with all kinds of crazy nicknames. I think that’s fairly common.

Oddly enough, when Orion died, Mouse would sometimes meow like he did. She knew what happened to him as she was there, but it was plain she missed him. It was like she was using his signature meow as his name.

What kind of odd names have you found for your animal friends?

Apparently, I’m a daredevil.



I didn’t know this before, but apparently I’m incredibly brave!  I throw myself in the face of danger all the time.  Yes, it’s true.  I knowingly, and willingly, eat uncooked sprouts!

I’ll give you a minute for your heartrate to drop.  I don’t want to cause an MI, here.  But there’s more.  I also… eat eggs with runny yolks.  And I drive a car without side impact airbags so it’s not built a mile off the ground and still has decent visibility.

Not only that… but for my next death-defying act, I do all my own braking and shifting.  Every last bit!  By all the propaganda, I should be dead by now.

I think I’m going to need to be fitted for a spandex outfit.  What color do you think my cape should be?

Exercising with a Cat


Those pretty exercise videos and slideshows didn’t prepare me for exercising with a cat in the house.  She really wants to be an integral part of my workout routine, often getting in my way at critical moments. I call it ‘agility training.’

Sometimes she joins in by doing yoga, but usually she’s winding around my feet, mostly wanting to be between me and my exercise bands, me and the wall, me and my weights

Someone needs to write a special guide to exercises for people with cats, so I’ll start.  Here are two of my favorites:


Find a clear place on the floor where the cat is not currently sleeping.

Lie down on your back by putting your arms by your sides.

Now bend your knees and raise your hips while maintain your back straight and keeping your feet on the floor. Let the hips be in a straight line with your shoulders and knees.

Hold it there for 30 seconds or until cat walks under your back.

Gently lower your hips back to the initial position.

Kettlebell deadlift:

Wait till the cat is otherwise occupied with catnip, mouse, or nap.

Stand with feet shoulder width apart, toes slightly turned out.

Bell should be placed between your feet or slightly behind ankles, not near cat.

Inhale through your nose, reach around the cat for the bell.

Keep a neutral spine with eyes on the horizon.

Press through floor and stand up.

Watch for cat before setting bell down again…