Archive for the ‘Career’ category

Episode 39: Most Overcharged

July 16th, 2013

Simon and @UnckelMike are mad. They’re mad because they’ve been dicked around by insurance companies, healthcare providers and the shadowy “boss” of all things medical, The Chargemaster. If you’re not mad, too, then you’re not paying attention!

“The health care market is not a market at all. It’s a crapshoot. Everyone fares differently based on circumstances they can neither control nor predict. They may have no insurance. They may have insurance, but their employer chooses their insurance plan and it may have a payout limit or not cover a drug or treatment they need. They may or may not be old enough to be on Medicare or, given the different standards of the 50 states, be poor enough to be on Medicaid. If they’re not protected by Medicare or protected only partially by private insurance with high co-pays, they have little visibility into pricing, let alone control of it. They have little choice of hospitals or the services they are billed for, even if they somehow knew the prices before they got billed for the services. They have no idea what their bills mean, and those who maintain the chargemasters couldn’t explain them if they wanted to. How much of the bills they end up paying may depend on the generosity of the hospital or on whether they happen to get the help of a billing advocate. They have no choice of the drugs that they have to buy or the lab tests or CT scans that they have to get, and they would not know what to do if they did have a choice. They are powerless buyers in a sellers’ market where the only consistent fact is the profit of the sellers.”

Check this out before you pay for a scan or procedure in your town!

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Episode 30: Most Heart Conditions!

May 7th, 2013

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We always knew @UnckelMike had heart–but a malformed one that kept him from dying from a heart attack? Find out all the details in this must-listen episode!

Also, Scott the Movie Guy returns with reviews of the season finale of The Walking Dead and Tom Cruise’s new sci-fi blockbuster Oblivion.

You can subscribe to us on iTunes–just search “Simon’s Groove.” Your ratings and reviews are welcome!

Follow Simon and Uncle Mike on Twitter: @SimonsGroove and @UnckelMike.heART

And by the way, we have a Facebook page now, too. Like us!


Want to advertise on the Groove? $3 for 30 seconds-not too shabby! Contact
@SimonsGroove or email us for details.

Thoughts on How to Keep Busy During Unemployment

April 12th, 2013

Unemployed? Not sure what to do with yourself? Check out this story on (link below).–Simon

“But I won’t get paid,” you might think. True, but when you’re unemployed and looking for work, especially for an extended period of time, filling a hole on your resume is just as important as filling an empty wallet.

Ask a local organization that interests you about volunteering, but make sure what you do is in line with what you were doing professionally. “Don’t just say, ‘I’d like to help,’ go in and say, ‘Hey I can do X, Y and Z, and I’d rather do that than work in your warehouse,’” says Tami Cannizzaro, the blogger behind Tales of the Terminated: A Humorous Look at Life After a Layoff. You can keep you skills sharp and maybe learn a few more.

“It’s not so much what you did, but that you did something,” says Cannizzaro who was inspired to start her blog, also now a book, after being laid off from her corporate public relations job. Plus, there’s always a chance you could end up earning more than just another bullet point on your resume. When Cannizzaro’s architect-husband was laid off, he told the church he volunteered at that he had more time to contribute. After adding a little more responsibility to his existing workload, says Cannizzaro, “They ended up paying him to do each month what we were already doing.”

via How to Keep Busy During Unemployment and Get a Job – iVillage.

Get Your Groove On!

March 9th, 2013

Fiverr-gig-SIMONSGROOVE-tk5-1Welcome to the official homepage of the Simon’s Groove Podcast!

Simon’s Groove is what happens when two former radio talk show hosts retake the mic for a raucous weekly show filled with chat about current events, pop culture and more. Simon’s Groove feature interviews, music, movie reviews and corny jokes, too.

Most shows post on Tuesday afternoons, with an occasional supplemental show popping up when you least expect it. Join us and get your groove on!

Visit our showpage: click here.

Check us out (and please review us) on iTunes: click here.

Visit our Facebook page by clicking here.

Kickstart Yourself!

March 7th, 2013

In this special supplemental episode, @SimonsGroove and @UnckelMike share an interview with crowdfunding advocate and speaker J. Alexander Greenwood, author of the top-selling Kickstarter Success Secrets. (Interview courtesy of Audio Dust Jacket Radio.) He’s just launched a new seminar on the topic–read all about it here.

You can subscribe to us on iTunes–just search “Simon’s Groove.” Your ratings and reviews are welcome!

Follow Simon and Uncle Mike on Twitter: @SimonsGroove and @UnckelMike.

And by the way, we have a Facebook page now, too.

Want to advertise on the Groove? $3 for 30 seconds-not too shabby! Contact @SimonsGroove or email us for details.

Must Be Santa!

December 24th, 2012

Merry Christmas from Simon, @UnckelMike and the gang at Simon’s Groove!

Writer’s Digest Competition: Did It Move The Goal Posts?

October 15th, 2012

I’ve entered a fair number of writing competitions in my career, even won a few. Generally I enter competitions that don’t have an entry fee (too much potential for scammers); but the Writer’s Digest competitions have been an exception. Due to WD‘s generally good reputation, I trust them and value the rewards for winning or placing in one of their competitions.

However, they have an irritating trend of stating a deadline for a competition, then extending it. This moving of the goal posts has happened to me twice.

Most recently I plonked down $20 and entered the Writer’s Digest Horror Competition. (Blurb: The Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards Horror Competition is now accepting entries. Winners will be listed in the May/June 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest.)

There are some spiffy rewards for winners–including good exposure, so why not? So, I busted my butt to write a new story to meet the original deadline of September 14. Well, a few days ago they announced an Extended Deadline:  October 31.

That immediately sent a message that they did not get enough entries and extended the deadline to make bank. It bugs me that I played by the rules, but now I’m being put on hold in an effort to attract stragglers who don’t know how to make a deadline–thus lessening my chances of winning.

So, I sent an email:

From: Simon <>
Date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 2:53 PM
To: YourStoryContest <YourStoryContest(at)>
Subject: WD Short Story competition



I’d like to register a complaint about your extension of the deadline for your short story competition. This is the second time in recent memory I have played by the rules, paid my entry fee and entered your competition before the deadline–only to see you extend that deadline to accommodate latecomers.

I believe you should judge from the entries you receive according to your stated rules and deadline. If there is a smaller pool than you anticipated, so be it. This strikes me as unfair and unethical.

I would appreciate a response to this email.


Simon Jones

A few days later, I received this response:

Dear Simon,

Thank you for your recent email regarding our competitions and their deadlines. While we do occasionally extend a deadline for various administrative reasons, we can assure you that all entries are given the same degree of careful consideration and that our competitions are judged with fairness and integrity across the board.

That said, we certainly respect your position, and appreciate your continued diligence in participating in our competitions. As a show of good faith, we’d be happy to refund your entry fee. We do hope you will continue to participate in future WD offerings, and wish you the best of luck in this and all your creative endeavors.



Tim deBord

Competitions Business Director

F+W Media


A polite, acceptable response from WD–offering to refund my money.

Now, I’m sure some people reading this may think I’m being a whiner, but at the very least can’t Writer’s Digest see that their deadline extension practice looks kind of shabby to those of us who play by their rules? It’s not good public relations, and it shakes my confidence in the credibility of their competition. Perhaps if they made latecomers pay a higher entry fee, say double it for the privilege of being late? Nah. That would virtually ensure nobody entered and WD would make no money on the contest.

Did I accept the refund? No. I worked hard on my story and would like to see how it does. (And no, Simon Jones is not the name attached to it. I’m crazy, but not stupid). However, I probably won’t enter any more of Writer’s Digest‘s competitions.

What do you think? Am I wrong? Too sensitive? Or did I pick up on something Writer’s Digest should consider in promoting future contests?

The comments section awaits and will remain open indefinitely. I promise the deadline won’t change!

The Groove Returning?

August 10th, 2010

I think it’s coming back slowly. I went to the doctor yesterday.

My blood pressure was normal for the first time in months.

A good sign for the return of the groove…

Simon Says

July 18th, 2010

  • Hot dogs: any combination of mustard, relish, onions, chili and cheese. Never ketchup or avocado or any other cute bullshit.
  • If you sign up for a website that publishes your attempts at fiction, you cannot post a new first draft every five fucking minutes and expect me to ooh and ahh over it like you’re bloody Shakespeare.
  • Learn to spell or use your damn spell check while you’re at it.
  • Hey, if there’s a red light 500 yards ahead, why the hell are you racing to get ahead of me only to stop at the freaking light? You know what kind of gas mileage you get at a stoplight? ZERO.
  • If you drive a Hummer, massive pickup or some other large vehicle and you are not in the infantry, a farmer, a landscaper or someone who otherwise requires a large “fuck you” vehicle: I say you deserve to pay a big tax–and not just at the gas pump. You get a dumb-ass tax, to be exact. And everyone else gets the right to give you the finger.
  • If you watch “professional wrestling” don’t whine to me that your kids are ill-behaved, poorly-read and prone to broken bones.
  • If you vote Republican and make less than $500,000 per year, you’re a dumb ass. Why? Because they don’t give a shit about you unless you have money. And if you vote Republican because you think they are morally superior then you have been fully hoodwinked and deserve whatever kick in the ass they give you.
  • Sarah Palin is a mendacious idiot. But crafty at taking advantage of other idiots, I must say.
  • If you vote Democrat and expect them to be anything more than ‘Republican Lite’ these days, you’re in for a lot of disappointments. FDR’s been dead a long time. BHO is a good man but ain’t no Roosevelt.
  • I know a gay white man who hates all black people. Just goes to show you there’s no unity between groups which suffer discrimination.
  • Think climate change is a hoax? You’re wrong and on behalf of my children I want to say fuck you for making it that much harder for them.
  • You want a hoax? Trickle down economics.
  • “Two and a Half Men” is terrible dreck. Read a book.
  • Nepotism sucks, especially when it imbues the untalented with wealth and success. I’m talking to you Charlie Sheen, Colin Hanks, Donny Trump, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and many others too infuriating to mention.
  • Would it kill you to shut up during the movie?
  • Please don’t try to tell me who God is. You have no idea and neither do I.
  • If you are lucky enough to get away with something you shouldn’t, please don’t tell me about it. You know who you are.
  • Fat? Exercise and watch what you eat. Every day. Don’t give up.
  • Smoking. I don’t smoke, but it’s none of my business if you want to open a joint that caters to smokers. I won’t patronize it, but knock yourself out.
  • Want to ride a motorcycle without a helmet? Fine, just make sure you have proof of insurance so I don’t have to pay to reattach your limbs after you eat asphalt.
  • That said, people who are against universal healthcare should never proclaim to follow the teachings of Jesus, unless they are cool with being openly hypocritical.
  • If you get your history from “Glenn Beck U” then perhaps you deserve it when history repeats itself all over your ass a few years from now.
  • Would it kill you to be nice to people?
  • Would it kill you to keep your swearing to a minimum in public?
  • Would it kill you to wear some actual shoes at the supermarket?
  • Removing heavy back hair is just the decent thing to do prior to your attendance of a public pool or at the beach. Ladies, you too.
  • After a red light turns green, you should wait about two seconds and look both ways to avoid the jackass who will inevitably run the red light that kills or maims you or someone you love.
  • If you have a blood relative who is trying to do what he/she thinks is right by running for office and you openly crap all over him/her because he’s not in the same Party as you, then you’re a jerk. You should keep your mouth shut, not actively attack him/her. Unless you’re a jerk, then go ahead and slam him/her to everyone you know. (Maybe you’re actually just jealous that him/her has the guts to try, and you never did. I dunno.)
  • That guy playing music at the bar, the one working for tips? If he can’t have your full attention surely he could have a dollar or two in his tip jar from you.
  • A man who pleases his wife first is a great guy. A woman who occasionally returns the favor is rare in my experience.
  • People who make lists like this are often self-important jerks. (Myself excluded, of course.)