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03/28/18: Today my cell phone rang, and the caller ID said it was a call from New York. When I answered, a recorded voice told me that my bank was monitoring my credit and it was so good that I might be able to qualify for zero percent credit. I only needed to press 1 to speak with a live operator. I pressed 1 and was told I was number 22 in the queue. Since Stephie was making dinner, I had time so I waited.
     The queue went down pretty quick, and I was thinking of what to say by the time I was in single digits. Stephie said I should hang up but I said no, I was excited.
     Finally a guy picked up the call and asked how I was. In my most exuberant voice I said, "I'm great! How are you?" He seemed a little taken aback, but replied, "Fine, thanks for asking. Are you looking for information about reducing your credit?" I said, "Yeah, the message said that I could reduce my interest to zero! But I figured that since I have such great credit, you guys should be paying me! Is there any way of getting a negative interest rate?" The guy chuckled and said, "If only, sir. If only." Then he hung up on me.

03/16/18: I know I've complained about the lack of news on the Yahoo "news" page before. I no longer look there when I'm trying to figure out what's going on in the world around me. Unfortunately, because I reach my web mail via the Yahoo site, it dumps me on the so-called "news" page when I log out of e-mail, and I can't help but glance at what Yahoo considers news. The breathless item pictured here appeared today on the first page of the news, so the Yahoo algorithm must this this is important to someone.
     Granted, the item appears to be from the web arm of People magazine so we shouldn't expect hard-hitting journalism, but c'mon. How is this "news" in even the broadest sense of the word? And it warrants an exclamation point at the end of the headline? The fact that I have no idea who Shiri Appleby is really is beside the point.

03/10/18: I was in the car today when I turned on the radio. I usually play podcasts or music from my phone, but I was not going to be in the car long, so I thought I'd just listen to what's now known as "terrestrial radio." As it happens, it was the time of day when all the stations conspire to all play commercials. I went down the line: XRT, WLS, DRV, all were playing commercials. I wasn't in the mood for jazz or classical, so I thought I'd check out the Loop. As much as I complain that I seem to always hear Steve Miller or Bob Seger, there's something comforting about a station that still plays the music I listened to in my first car. So I pressed the button, but I didn't recognize the song that was playing, which was puzzling. I listened for a while, and realized that the lyrics has something of a religious bent to them. I briefly thought it might be a joke, or maybe just a commercial, but the song ended and a voice came on that was definitely not the rock 'n' roll DJ that I was accustomed to. Then they said the station was K-LOVE, and I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. As soon as I got home I checked the 'net and my worst fears were confirmed: 98.7 WLUP was no more.
     I spent the next few minutes reading the new stories about how a Christian broadcaster bought the station and after a week of on-air reminiscences (and a final playing of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell",) a part of my youth was gone.
     It's kind of amazing that I would discover this on the day that it happened. As I wrote above, I don't listen to much radio, and when I do, it's usually NPR. And I haven't really been a loyal Loop listener since the early Eighties, but there was something comforting about being able to tune in and hear AC/DC or Van Halen or a little Ted Nugent, although he's a little hard to listen to these days. Back in the day, I was a big fan. I had the logo shirt. I had a knit cap with the logo. I had both Chicago Rocks albums. I drank the Coho-Cola. I went to Disco Demolition night with my buddies (but no, I never went on the field.) I even attended the first ever Loopfest at the International Amphitheater.
     But as I got older, my tastes changed. I started seeking out different types of music, things the Loop would never play. When Stephie and I got together, she was a huge WXRT fan, and pretty soon that was all I listened to. I didn't care for talk radio, so I never listened to Brandmeier, Matthews, Bonaduce, or god-forbid Mancow. Another station, the Blaze, briefly had a similar format in the early '90s, and we played it in the office. (My co-worker at the time is where I got the phrase "ah-xelent Zah-plin" when some oft-repeated songs by you-know-who are played.)
     And now if the radio is on, it's likely jazz on WDCB or info on BEZ. I do pop on WDRV once in a while to hear the two songs that Steve Miller recorded or all three songs in the Bob Seger canon, or some other songs from my youth, but it's nothing like the Loop was. I know it's still streaming on the web, but that's not the same. Though these days, what is?

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