Goodbye AARP

Longtime readers may recall my many blog posts about the AARP. It started with irritation over them contacting me, to amusement over them continuing to lower the price of membership, to my eventual acceptance of a really low five-year membership package. I took their offer mainly to get in on all their special discounts.

My five years is ending. Not once did I jump at their offers, and their discounts turned out to not be much of a deal. Further, they irritated me with regular mailings that held no interest. However, the most infuriating is their political activity in which they assume that since I’m a member I agree with their political opinions. I do not, and I resent them implying I do.

So when my membership renewal notice came, I replied, telling them I would not renew, to immediately cancel my membership, and to cease all communication with me. I doubt they will follow my wishes.

As I give them more time to comply with my instructions, I continue to receive “final renewal notices,” and they continue to annoy me.

Goodbye AARP; please leave me alone.

AARP

Last week I groused about a decided lack of discounts from AARP.  A day later, as I opened their latest missive, I thought that was about to change, but I was wrong.

They were offering “valuable life insurance information” for me.

Through AARP, I can have $50,000 dollars of term life, for a rate of “just” $51.04 a month, which is $612.48 per year.  That is an effective rate of $12.25 per thousand dollars of insurance per year.  But wait, there’s more.  The footnote says that the rate increases over time.  How nice.

Actually, I already have life insurance.  The coverage is for much more and the annual cost is about half.  The effective rate for my existing policy is only $1.04 per thousand or about a twelfth the cost of AARP’s offer.  Plus, my rate is locked in for several years.

If this is the kind of discount I can expect through AARP, I’ll need to rethink the “value” of my membership — because I am yet to see any.

Birthday Celebration

Monday was my bride’s birthday.  It will be inadvisable for me to tell you how old she is, but suffice it to say it was a milestone event.  Though she normally relishes her birthday festivities, her enthusiasm was a bit subdued this year.  Even so, we managed to stretch it over several days.

A coworker was shocked — and in a certain amount of incredulous disbelief — that my bride could now qualify for her own AARP card.

He related that he was once a member, but was disinclined to re-up.  Eventually he was called by AARP about this matter.  In the course of conversation, he averred that he disagreed with some of AARP’s stances on various social issues. The AARP rep, said, “Oh, you’re one of those people.”  That’s one membership that won’t be salvaged.

I enrolled in AARP for the promised discounts — which have yet to materialize — and in spite of the political positions they espouse on various issues.

But I just know they have lobbyists running around the Capital, telling our elected officials that I (and their millions of other members) support their stand on positions X, Y, and Z — even though we all don’t.

Perhaps membership was too big of sacrifice for me to make after all.

Let’s Play Tag — In Cyberspace

I have been blogging since January 2008 and have made 315 entries to date — no wait, 316.  To organize these entries, I have concocted 30 topic categories, adding each post to at least one category, usually more.  This allows readers interested in the topics of, say, Computers and the Internet to read related posts, while skipping the Family or Movie Review musings.  This entry, for example, will be placed in the category of “Blogging,” for which there are now 24 entries.

I have recently begun adding “tags” to words that often find themselves in my posts, but which do not rise to “category” status.  So far, I have six words or themes that I have tagged:

  • Google, a company I love; 23 entries.
  • Microsoft, a company that I love and love to criticize; 21 entries.  (Five entries are tagged with both Goggle and Microsoft.)
  • Netflix, my fav; 13 entries
  • USPS, 10 entries (there are 61 posts that use the work “mail,” but I’ve yet to tag them).
  • AARP, 9 entries
  • NEA, 5 entries.

Of course, this post will have to be tagged with all six!

If any of these tags interest you, click on the above links and check them out.

Enjoy!

The AARP Magazine and Newsletter

It seems that my favorite target for criticism in this blog is the AARP.  To review, I had resisted joining because even though my driver’s license says that chronologically I’m old enough, mentally I’m not there yet.  In fact, I’m a long ways off.  But when they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse — on their fourth of fifth try — I succumbed to the prospect of receiving the discounted product and services they promised.

Still, I dreaded receiving their magazine and newsletter.  (As I recall, there are three versions of their magazine slanted towards different age demographics: 50 to 60, 60 to 70, and 70 plus.)  My first copy arrived last week and it was worse than I feared.  Eight of the ten articles promoted on the front cover focused on the negative: essentially medical issues and money — or the lack there of.  Gee, talk about depressing.  There’s too much life ahead of me to focus on the negative or fixate about its end.  I don’t want to submit to negative thinking, which I why I don’t read or watch the news and seldom listen to the news.

By the way, of the two articles that where not negative, one was an interesting account about Dolly Parton and the other was a fluff piece “interviewing” a dog show champion.  So, after thumbing through it, I was unimpressed and I tossed it aside.

A few days later, their newsletter arrived.  Its content had a similar percentage of negative dribble — only more depressing.  It joined its partner in the trash.

I’m not planning to read any of the subsequent issues — maybe when I’m older.

They Made Me An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

Every time I blog about the AARP at least one person tells me, “You really should join — at least for the discounts.”

AARP’s fourth or fifth offer — with each one getting better — was down to $39.95 for 5 years.  So, I succumbed.  I doubt if they would have gone any lower, because two days later I received a new offer — for much less favorable terms.

I guess you can say that I sold out.  I am now an AARP member, albeit reluctantly.  However, I’m not a card-carrying member — they spelled my name wrong, so I’m awaiting a new card.  As soon as I can, I’ll sign up my bride, too.  I’m sure that she’ll just love being a member ahead of her time.

Though it shames me to admit I joined, I thought I needed to come clean and tell you the truth.

Still, I don’t think that I’m old.

Recently, I was with a 20-something friend and I caught myself just before uttering the laughable phrase, “someone our age.”  Another friend — a few decades my junior — admitted to no longer liking the music he listed to in college because he’s getting older, yet I still do listen to it.  The truth is that I prefer hanging with the Millennial generation over “old” people in their fifties.  It’s just that sometimes Gen-Y doesn’t want to hang out with me.

Although I may not think that I am old, apparently, I look like it.

Idiotic Political Mailings

Even though the US Presidential election is still five weeks away, we are already getting an irritating amount election related mail, none of which is from the actual candidates themselves.

First, we have received three pieces from the Michigan Republican party (MIGOP) about obtaining an absentee ballot.  They’ve been arriving on a weekly basis, so we’re soon due for another.

If that’s not perplexing enough, the NEA has now mailed five pieces in support of Obama.  Actually, to be correct, the first four were in support of Obama, with the most recent one, in criticism of McCain.  These have been arriving in pairs, with the second of each set, being nearly identical and arriving a day or two after the first.  That means that tomorrow we should receive another anti-McCain missive from the NEA.

It makes some sense that the MIGOP is sending political mailings, though the absentee ballot ploy is a head-scratcher.  Unless they’re working with the AARP who thinks that I’m getting old and MIGOP assumes that it will be a hardship for me to make it to the polls.

However, NEA’s involvement is a bit of a stretch.  They must have money to burn, if they can send me two mailings a week every week or so.  If you’re an educator, this is how your dues are being wasted.  What is more amusing is that the hard-line rhetoric used in the NEA mailings have actually served to decrease my opinion of Obama.  Perhaps I should fear him as much as some Republicans warn.  So I guess the NEA is educating me — though not in the way they expected.

I have more to say about the NEA, but I’ll save that rant for another day.

Birthday and Anniversary Celebration

Over the weekend, my bride celebrated her birthday.  I won’t tell you how old she is, but be aware that she doesn’t yet fit AARP’s target demographic.  Next year that will change.  Until then, I am the one they are steadfastly pursuing.  Their most recent membership offer (the fourth, as I recall) was for five years at only $39.95.  It sounds like a good deal, but mentally I’m not yet ready to make the plunge.  So I will wait — until I feel old.

Anyway, we managed to celebrate her birthday all weekend long.  On Monday we went to bd’s Mongolian Barbecue in recognition of our anniversary — which was five months ago!

Although we seldom party on our actual anniversary date, we’ve never been this tardy, but as long as it’s within six months, it’s all good.  If we wait longer than a half a year, then it technically it becomes an advance celebration for next year.

I’m not sure how that would fly with my bride, but fortunately, I won’t have to find out — at least, not this year.

The Diligent Marketing Efforts of the AARP

I’ve scratched my head when the AARP first contacted me (Who Told The AARP About My Birthday?) and then ranted a bit more a week later (AARP Revisited).

The AARP has now sent me three temporary membership cards and increasingly enticing offers to join.  As I recall, the last one was five years for about 50 bucks.  I was tempted, given that I would then be able to receive AARP discounts and what not.  But before I plunked down my hard-earned cash, I opted to check out their magazine and newsletter. Unfortunately, they depressed me.  The articles were for — well, old people.  Reading them made me feel decrepit.  I’m not old, merely middle-aged.  And even then I don’t always act like it.

I thought about joining and simply pitching their periodicals, but that would make me feel guilty — both for not reading them and for needlessly contributing to landfill waste.  So, I am still not a card-carrying member of the AARP.  Maybe when I grow up I will change my mind.  Besides, if I join, then I’ll have one less thing to blog about.

Regardless, they have now set their sights on my bride.  Even though she is more than a year shy of meeting their age requirements I guess it is a case of “guilt by association” — or more correctly “guilt by marriage.”  Sorry, dear.

In the past, an anonymous commenter from the AARP (I’m calling him or her “Terry”) has provided feedback on these musings.  I hope “Terry” will post a comment this time.  Or perhaps AARP considers me a lost cause.

My Top Ten Blog Entries (Plus One)

I’ve been blogging for six months now, posting 120 entries.  It’s been a learning experience and an enjoyable endeavor.  I’m still not writing as quickly as I would like or as accurately — seemingly every post requires an edit or two.

Weekly readership has grown to about 700, which should prove to my incredulous wife that people — aside from family — are actually reading my blog.  I receive about one posted comment per three entries — and about twice as many email responses.  Doing a bit of interpolation on the stats, there have been about 13,000 times that posts have been read so far.

My top ten entries are an interesting collection:

  1. Goodbye Bobby Fischer – Jan 22 – 862 reads
  2. New Postage Rates – May 9 – 679 reads
  3. AARP Revisited – Jan 30 – 560 reads
  4. Who Told AARP About My Birthday? – Jan 24 – 264 reads
  5. Do you have Vista? – Feb 8 – 261 reads
  6. Shall I Bring a Soda or Leave It Be? – Jan 14 – 251 reads
  7. “Achieve Incredible Weight Loss Results” – Feb 22 – 246 reads
  8. Senator Jon Tester – Feb 5 – 226 reads
  9. An Engaging Situation – Mar 11 – 194 reads
  10. The Christmas Five – Jan 18 –  and The Movie Maven – Feb 27 – tied at 180 reads

I assumed after a post had been online for a while, that interest would die off, but that is not the case.  Older entries continue to be read, well past the date they were posted.

I’m also getting a feel for what isn’t read as much.  I ponder if I should steer towards topics that have the potential for greater appeal or stick with the eclectic topics that spark my interest.

In any regard, blogging is one way of extending publishing to the Internet.  Yes, my magazines have websites, but blogging takes it to the next level.  So whether it is in print or online, I am a dedicated publisher.