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Welcome To The Mosh Pit

Welcome To The Mosh Pit

To share in the bountiful harvest that is Una Cuota, click here.

September 10th, 2013: How can I explain what it feels like to be knocked off a comfortable perch in one fell swoop – and to be buried in the roiling mosh pit below? Not that the perch was all that high or anything – but it provided a decent life, and enough money to care for the kids and to keep the ex-wife at bay…and even though I had despised the job for several years (and of course myself, and everyone around me, which the alcohol abuse only exacerbated), there is nothing like ending up where you started in 1991, working for people who used to work for you (collections, like many other industries, is a very small club, and everyone seems to know everyone else, and there is a lot of movement between companies, up down and laterally), to get you to realize what an absolute fucking failure you have turned out to be.

Yes, I know, that is not the point of this story, and I do need to get on track here, but it’s one more element influencing why I am where I am…I need money, but…I don’t want to be responsible for anyone but me any more…and I don’t have a lot of excess confidence right now…so I foresee a long struggle and so far no one has even agreed to interview me…except for the first company I called, where I know the owner and lots of the other employees…at least I can thank the Lord for that….

(What is with all the …’s here, anyway??)

And now back to the insurance portion of our story!

(Stay on point, Johnny! Geezuz….)

So here I am, the first day on the job, and I have already found out one thing about maintaining health and dental insurance from your previous employer: You can’t!

I mean you could, if you had unlimited amounts of money, and weren’t unemployed, but the fact is the coverage offered through C.O.B.R.A. (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) only provides that the out of work party pay up to “102%” of whatever the entire previous premium was. Since my estranged employer was beneficent enough to pay half of my health and dental premium, this meant that for only $1400 a month I could keep just the health insurance portion of my coverage, and retain a package that had only cost me around $3000-$6000 a year in out-of-pocket expenses for the last several years.

So of course I declined the generous offer and decided to do without for me and the kids.

Adding to the stress level is the news that my new employer doesn’t offer insurance until four full months on the job…which means a launch date of February 2014…and even with the Obamacare provisions against excluding coverage for pre-existing conditions, I find that a neat little loophole in the law has allowed my new employer’s carrier, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, to extend the pre-existing condition exclusion until November of 2014. Why? Because the group contract gets signed each November, and since Obamacare doesn’t take place until January of 2014, the previous contract that does exclude service for pre-existing conditions will be allowed to stay in force until November of 2014.

Get it?

Now the new premium starting in February will be about $750 a month for me and my three wonderful offspring, but remember, my income is about a third of what it was. And the pre-existing clause looms large, for obvious reasons. What will be covered if I do sign up? Meds? I only take about 7 a day, some twice a day, for conditions ranging from hypertension to diabetes to a protein “c” deficiency which makes my blood extra thick and goopy, hence the blood clots four different times over the last seven years or so. (Ever since I got my “promotion” and moved to Phoenix. I can see God winking at me right now. I wanted that job sooooo bad!)

Mandated disclosure: I’m not a fat out-of-control slob. For my age I am pretty hot if I do say so myself, and with a few exceptions here and there I exercise regularly. OK, in between bouts with the Dogfish Ale and Patron Silver I have been known to consume a lot of glazed donuts and fatty stew meat, but that’s only because I miss the sugar and the comfort the alcohol would normally provide. It’s a body chemistry thing, right? So it isn’t just lifestyle, Michelle Obama. Yeah, I see that look.

Since the HR/Benefits people can’t tell me what will be covered or not, I decide to make a call to Blue Cross myself. What follows is my very best recollection of the conversation.

TAMMY: Hello! this is Tammy with Blue Cross/Blue Shield! How may I assist you today?

ME: Ummm…I am eligible for your group insurance coverage in February…and I notice the contract still has an exclusion for pre-existing conditions until November of 2014. So I want to see what will be covered and won’t before I sign up.

TAMMY: Excellent! Can you give me your group name and id number?

ME: Yes, Ma’am. It’s called the Total Fucking Loser Group Insurance Plan through Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The group id is blah blah blah fucking blah 123 comma squiggle I want to kill myself.

TAMMY: (nervously tittering): Well, I am looking at the specifications, and it appears that some pre-existing conditions are covered and some are not. We recently had a claim with your group for a heart-valve replacement and that was covered. After the extremely high deductible and super-enormous co-insurance costs, of course. What health challenges are you currently battling, may I ask?

ME: (Give her the list.)

TAMMY: Oh, my goodness! You will be happy to know that no matter what is covered, we have wellness counselors standing by 24 hours a day to assist you!

ME: Great.

TAMMY: Yes! (Clicking away on her computer.) Let’s see…OK…Mmmh hmm….

ME: I am guessing that you don’t know the answer?

TAMMY: Well, to be honest, it isn’t really clear. Each claim will be fully investigated and depending on what you disclosed on your application and how you disclosed it and what the circumstances are of the actual claim itself, well, that will all be weighed and a decision will be forthcoming. Which you can appeal, of course. But like I said, we just paid for that heart valve replacement with your group. So I think your best bet is to be optimistic.

ME: Do you know how long that person has been employed with us, and whether the condition was pre-existing?

TAMMY: I’m sorry, I am not allowed to answer that question. H.I.P.A.A. laws you know. (Long silence.) I am so sorry, sir! (Another silence, then, helpfully): The longest wait you will ever have for any prior conditions will only be one year, sir! And then the Affordable Care Act will kick in to cover you! And your family as well!

ME: Thank you, Tammy.

TAMMY: And Thank you, Sir! I hope you have a wonderful day! We appreciate your business!

***

So It was crystal clear: The only way I was going to get coverage was to either go through Mr. Obama’s “marketplace”, or to maybe turn to one of the subsidized plans offered through the State of Arizona (like A.H.C.C.C.S.- Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System). Little did I know that that process would turn out to be an even tougher ordeal than getting a straight answer from Tammy.

***

Please stay tuned, Amigos! Entrega De Tres is just down the track! You will find all your answers to the following burning questions:

Why does Gabby stay with me, anyway?

Who selects the hold music for Government Agencies?

Why doesn’t anyone ever answer at those Government Agencies?

And, most importantly: Who decides why the music stops after exactly a 45-minute wait time?

***

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God

God

February 20th, 2014: The harsh, frosty tractor beam from atop the CVS pharmacy drive-through beckons me (and my wallet) like a newly-minted friend. I am already smiling – without having visited even one Doctor – because I know those RX’s are gonna be free, Goddamnit, and in my current financial situation, one can’t look too far outside the the small ray of light into the darkness that lurks only yards away, closing in from every direction.

During the time I had been without insurance (for the first time in my adult life), every trip to get pills was like embarking on an African (should we say Kenyan, maybe?) safari with no hat, canteen, or rifle: $600 for Xarelto (even with a Maricopa County Discount Card – free to own, just download!), $600 for Januvia (I stopped taking it), $30-$60 each for most of the other chronic conditions I have dealt with for the last 25 years plus plus plus. That doesn’t even count the mandatory bottle of Coke Zero at checkout!

Add to that an income that had dropped in one day from $$$,$$$ to $$,$$$ (under the halfway point, kiddos), and you begin to envision what a desperate, diabetic, hypertensive, permanently-clotting and ever-inflamed one-car pileup I had become!

But God was on my side. So was my Latina love Gabby, with her calm, sweet, and positive demeanor (“You are a good man, baby, a strong man, a smart man, we will be fine, our time is not God’s time”). And of course so was Barack Obama, his arms outstretched to yours truly with a fully-subsidized (my new income of $$,$$$ was well under the current Affordable Care Act Federal Poverty guideline of $94,200 for a family of four) Obamacare Maricopa Silver PPO of my own!

I won’t tell you there wasn’t some red tape involved – there was a lot actually, (with more to come, probably), and not everyone was onboard. (Picture my ex-wife, fangs bared, snarling at the gates of Socialism, pacing, not willing to settle for one penny or deduction less than currently allotted to her by the county and state judiciary. But fuck her – you can’t be scared about just that bitch when you are broke, busted, and possibly terminally depressed.)

The point is, life goes on after you lose your job, and even the best of us will latch on to the most expedient and least-costly way to survive. Don’t kid yourself about that. And although the following saga may be of limited use to most of you, it is a primer of sorts for all the rest of you soon-to-be-unemployed or under-employed schmucks who didn’t plan for the future, or maybe did, but made some mistakes along the way and didn’t anticipate the always annoying and sometimes debilitating road-closures of life.

Since it is usually best to begin at the beginning, let us hearken back to

September 3, 2013 (evening hours): I’m pretty sure God has me where he wants me. He had to get a little (righteously) pissed to get my attention, but, dammit, he does have it now, what with his knee – heavy, insistent, and massive – pressing urgently against my neck. His breath is raspy yet powerful, and blows forth like a mixture of carbon, cold winter rain, and Lake Superior whitecaps. I briefly consider the efficacy of marketing such an elixir as a unisex cologne, but then he leans into my windpipe just a tad harder, and my brain wants to explode into an infinite number of shattered cortical stars.

He leaps up/reaches down/hoists me up by my t-shirt. (In one fluid move, dude.) He is of course more muscular than any statue of any deity ever, and you sense the awful and absolute finality with which he could dispatch you – even though, in this case, he’s only trying to make a point.

He is not winded in the least. The tempest has passed…he is calm and magnificent in his bearing. But all the same…
I can tell he’s a little on edge, maybe even perturbed.

“You know, Johnny, I don’t really like to rely on my human attributes unless I have to – they are notoriously unreliable and create a lot of angst and…irritation, if I don’t mind saying so.

“But you are one of my more irritating creations, and it seems to be one of the few ways I can finally get your attention and stop having to minister to you all the time.”

He shoots me a nasty look. His eyes are dark and foreboding, his visage hawklike. My stomach turns into gurgling village-water.

Gabby

Gabby

We are in some sort of Roman gymnasium, maybe first century AD. There are no mats – only the hard cracked marble floor. There is a sense of decay in the abandoned building – big sections of the walls and ceiling have shed chunks of masonry.

“So without belaboring the point, here is why you are here tonight, Mr. John Nampion: You are clinically unable to make a change in your life without being forced, my dear boy.

“And whether you realize it or not, you pray to ME for that change every single day.

“Look at the last seven years of your life, ever since you moved to Phoenix. Divorce, financial ruin, loss of respect from your family, your bosses, your co-workers, even those few people who call themselves your friends. None of them could get you to eliminate or modify even one item in your code of conduct.

“Yet you were miserable. You ate, drank, and rutted yourself (in some very pathetic and disgusting ways, I might add) into oblivion, always hoping for some sort of way out.”

The Lord rocks back and forth on his heels, rhythmic and hypnotizing, then begins dancing in a Sugar-Ray shuffle, up and down on the balls of his feet, lithe yet menacing in his simple cotton Karategi, his arms pop-pop-popping in explosive jabs and uppercuts. Soon he is shadow-boxing his way around the gym, circling closer to me with each whoosh of his fists, his feet smacking and sliding, a whirlwind drum solo on the cold and debris-strewn floor.

He is now within arms reach of me. He stops suddenly, and I know something dramatic is about to happen.

And the God of all creation roareth thus:

“So, tonight, my dear Johnny, you will GET YOUR WAY OUT!”

Obama

Obama

I expect fireworks, or maybe to be immediately kicked from one alternate reality to another.

Instead we just continue to stand there, looking at each other.

“Well?”, I ask.

God stares back at me, quizzical.

“Well, what?”, he rebuts.

“What change is about to happen?”, I ask, resentment creeping into my voice.

It isn’t wise policy to be miffed at Jehovah, but he is making me cranky, after all. I had just lost my job (Operations Manager/Assistant VP of Collections) that very morning – My boss flew down from the home office and immediately fired the few remaining dolts who had lingered for far too long. No severance, no notice, no nothing. 20 years of loyal service smashed on the rocks of a very bad economy – and some stupid corporate decisions, to boot. (I was absolutely blameless.)

So I am in this place, not sleeping like I should be, fretting about my future, wondering what will happen to my kids and what will I do to take care of them, wondering if I had panicked right after getting axed by calling a rival Accounts Receivable Corporation and taking a desk job without even putting out a resume. It was easier than being unemployed – and I knew the owner and my immediate supervisor and many of the employees. Even though they hired me for less than I was making in my second year in the collection business (1992), there is commission and bonus opportunity. And I hear they have a health insurance plan, too.

God isn’t interested in any of that. He feints a quick left jab at my head then laughs, a bit too sardonically, in my opinion.

“You know that saying about change being good, right Johnny?”

I don’t respond. My underwear is sweaty and my t-shirt is a bit too tight in the belly, especially after the Lord of Hosts had yanked on it so profusely.

“Listen, Nampion. Don’t you get peeved with me. Although my main function here is to serve as a device, I am still the Lord Thy God, and I can still appear simultaneously in an infinite number of places and I can still definitely put a world of hurt on you if I so desire. So watch it.

“Over the next several months, and maybe even years, you will find out that life isn’t so easy. You went through the same thing in your teens and 20′s, but you have largely forgotten the lessons of that time.

“I am not doing this to you, you have requested it, and I do believe in honoring requests when they have some value.

Subsidized

Subsidized

“You must be careful to avoid a doctrinaire world-view, because many of the things that you are about to experience will clash with your conservative beliefs. That does not mean that those beliefs have no value – it just means there is more than one way to experience the world and the events that flow through it.

“So you will have to be fair – very fair. You will get to see life through the eyes of the least of mine. And ultimately it will empower you, and make you a better person. Especially when it comes to your kids. You have done an untold amount of damage there, but you will find a way to make it right.”

There is an awkward silence – at least on my end. He winks at me and is suddenly dressed like a really bad tourist – he has a powder blue shirt on, wrinkled and untucked, collar all hackneyed, with about a hundred white whales spewing an unknown grayish liquid from their blowholes. His brown stiff cargo shorts are turned a bit to the side, and appear to be unwashed. The Nikon hanging from his neck is definitely legit, and is missing the lens cover. Dirty brown deck shoes, no socks, and a Rasta hat over a suddenly straight and unkempt lump of brown hair (no beard! Weak ;-) jaw!) finishes out the ensemble. Oh, yeah – Ray Bans. Don’t ask me why. They are way too good for the rest of him.

“OK, Johnny. See ya. Gotta catch the Tufesa to Sinaloa. One of the Cartel boys down there has been talking to my Son, and is about to pay for it. I’m gonna hang with him until the end comes.

“So goodbye – for now. You can always ring me up on the Blackberry – but keep those minutes to a minimum, my friend!”

Bet you can’t wait for instalación de dos!

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Here is the link to the real post: ‘Chemtrails,’ Ron Paul, and the Cost of Conspiracy in Arizona

Please peruse it, enjoy it, and comment profusely…the finished product reads exactly as it should (due to Mr. Swindle’s exacting editing skills)…nothing needs to be added, and nothing needs to be taken away….

But there is, in most posts, stuff that ends up on the cutting room floor that is kind of fun and witty, and you sort of enjoy it – almost like the rough heel of the bread smeared with butter and honey…it isn’t good enough for the discerning reader, but it does have its charms, and you would really prefer to keep it out of the trash can, at least for awhile.

So here is a peek at the original postscript before it gets consigned, once and for all, into the rusty, clanky, and offensively scented garbage receptacles – no, over there – in the right-hand sideyard of the mind….

***

About 30 miles southwest of Sedona, just below the summit of Mingus Mountain,  four Paulite Acolytes fan out, awaiting the impending carnage. 

It is dark all around. The SORPS (Soldiers of R. Paul) are united only by their black stealthy clothing, walkie-talkies, and sense of outrage. They communicate fluently via a series of Aboriginal tongue clicks – because you never can tell who might be listening.

They know, as only a few others do, that there is a secret underground U.S. Military base in the nearby town of Cottonwood; it is from here that the nearly-silent helicopters and jets come, issuing forth night after night, to slowly annihilate the reasoning abilities of John and Jane Doe, Americans. 

The Mission, as always, is not to interfere (How un-Dr. Paul-like that would be!), but to collect data – to accumulate and amalgamate enough evidence to bring the rotten-to-the-core Military-Industrial Complex to its knees once and for all.

Although the duty is dangerous (think about it, people!), there is a sense of honor and Esprit de corps among the volunteers – they know that any night could be the tipping point in the battle against the Huns of War.

A slight vibration is felt from within the mountain and out in the surrounding sky; it is almost unnoticeable, but our  veteran spotters know it like their own heartbeats – the Cavalry is coming! The clicks escalate – the enemy will be here soon – but what an honor, to be here, in this time and place, during the battle for the collective soul of human-kind!

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For the second time in the last couple of years, I have the opportunity to thank David Swindle for helping me out with my writing career.

He gave me a shot at NewsRealBlog back when I first started flinging my thoughts into cyberspace, and even though I didn’t usually get a ton of views, he continued to let me post there, and gave me lots of good advice.

Now he’s given me a chance to make a name for myself at Pajamas Media Lifestyle. My first post apparently did fairly well, lots of comments, and he is guiding me through my second, which is having more problems than one of those Obama-backed solar-powered start-up companies.

Oh, well – David is a good man, and a very patient individual. I hope I won’t end up embarrassing him too much.

Click the link to to get to the story – John Nampion vs. the Hometown Community Homeowners Association.

Hope you like it.

· · · ·

Time for the obligatory monthly post here on nampion.com.

Yeah, I know, I am not only really good at this writing stuff, but my output is Bunyanesque…right?

I actually did do this post on August 10th, but my dear friend and editor-at-large “B” quashed it on the grounds that…well, it doesn’t matter.

(Don’t worry, B, they can’t see it.)

I am feverishly re-wording, of course, and hope to have the sanitized version out sometime in November.

Maybe I (lots of Narcissism here, I know, sorry, it’s really all about me these days) could increase my posting frequency by doing a daily or weekly grab-bag of stuff ala my childhood hero Earl Wilson:

“Poor David Letterman…he’s had his troubles, without a doubt, but this Muslim thing, it’s just over the top, isn’t it?

“His Hollywood friends have rallied to his defense by taking a long and anonymous moment of silence.”

Of course Earl would never limit himself to a rehash of current doings in the Entertainment Industry:

“After 2.5 years of resisting the advice of his family, aides, and the American people, our fearless Toiler-in-Chief has decided to take a much-needed respite on Martha’s Vineyard.

“Despite entreaties to ‘get off the grid’, his Huzzah will limit the sun and sailing to Saturday afternoon, and will begin a series of 11-hour daily brainstorming sessions that evening, culminating with a strategy meeting on bus deployment and neighborhood reconnaissance with loyal ally Maxine Waters next Thursday.

“Aren’t we glad he’s on ‘our’ side?”

It’s a really fresh yet Art-Deco way to approach the events of the day. I’m actually thinking about doing it, when I finally get around to blogging again.

“Greetings, Gotham! Appearing tonight, and tonight only, at the world-renowned Ethel Barrymore Theater on Manhattan’s Great White Way, is our fearless, pugnacious, and righteous Leader-for-life, Barack Hussein Obama, in rash, anyway?

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On April 7th, I posted up a video from the David Horowitz Freedom Center entitled “The Palestinian Wall of Lies”. Today I happened to click on it and it said:

“This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by MSA UCSD.”

One Google search and it’s obvious who the culprit is:

The Muslim Student’s Association at the University of California-San Diego.

Now I doubt they picked on Nampion.com: It’s such a minor site that I don’t think even my sainted Mumsie knows about it.

So they probably got a court injunction to stop the video from being seen. Funny thing is, it’s still available on YouTube. ClickIslamists and their cohorts on the left. I’ve said it before in these pages and I’ll say it again:

What are they so damn afraid of?

· · · · · ·

The Mighty Shepherd with one of the early prototypes

Nampion’s public service buy/sell/hold tip of the week:

BUY JihJong Toys. The little-known company just released its 1st product line last week, and my cousin, the fearless Jack Harmon, was there for the roll-out:

(more…)

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Since the artery in charge of bringing fresh and creative ideas to my brain is still on some sort of extended Federal leave, I have decided to take my friend Shannon up on her offer to give me an easy and fixed subject to write about. She views it as remedial assistance in its purest form.

So what is on my blogging schedule for tonight?

Why of course! A post about Gnomes.

My tall and cheeky associate derives great mirth from reminding me of my, er, shortcomings ; and if I am forced to actually write about them, well, so much the better!

(more…)

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Listen up, peoples: That chart you see above has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with Nampion’s SEXUAL CONFIDENCE – he is a roving, tigerish legend in suburban bedrooms from Ahwatukee to Avondale – and those are just the towns on the MAP.

Just sayin’.**

He will admit, however, that his belief in his writing skills is at an all-time low…he just doesn’t seem to have it…his, er, blogging instrument is little more than a dull and flaccid pencil, suitable for grocery lists (“eight-count bag hot dog buns, large box original Cheez-its, two packages of brats, soda, Ding-Dongs, commercial-grade bottle Ketel One….”), note-writing (“Dear Mr. Antwerp: My daughter will not be attending phy-ed class today due to a large, wartish spot on her left thumb-knuckle, which started small but then grew in intensity and magnitude until….”), refrigerator stickies (“Hands OFF the Kalamata olives, you three, or you will ALL DIE!!!), and maybe the occasional jotting down of a unique thought (“She was a dark and slippery wind through my mind”), but not much else.

(more…)

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Yup….And really, who else could it be? The Norwegians? (Oops, they were Muslims, too. So sorry!) The three fat guys in Kingman who still worship at the altar of Timmy McVeigh?

Of course not. It is the Muslims, you idiot, which is why Chairman Peter T. King (R, NY) and the House Committee on Homeland Security began hearings on Thursday. (more…)

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