Eyeglasses – a rant!

I caught a bit of the 60 Minutes piece on Luxotica last night, and it annoyed me to no end. You know I am a reader – have been since Kindergarten or before, as I grew up in a house full of books, and with older siblings who taught me how to read very early.

Yes, I am an example of the stereotypical bookworm, in that I am a pale female with glasses. I am extremely nearsighted, been wearing glasses since I was nine, and put them on before I get out of bed in the morning.

Many years ago, I got glasses at a retail store, and every time (2 years on average) the price went up. I remember paying $400 and up, and the last time I bought glasses retail it was over $630, At the time, I had resigned myself to paying that much. And the LKuxotica salesperson on TV last night described $400 glasses as a “bargain!”

Several years ago now, someone on our forum, Pet Talk recommended
Zenni Optical’s website ( ZenniOptical.com ). I was absolutely thrilled! It seems far more reasonable to pay $8 for a normal cheap set of frames, and sure, I paid more than twice that because of the strength of my prescription, but it was about $24. That is NOT a typo!

Glasses do NOT need to cost a fortune. They need NOT be more expensive than your car payment! And buying them online gave me the ability to “try on” a set of frames virtually, something I always failed at in real life; when one has to press one’s nose against the glass to see clearly, it does not give you any idea of what the frames look like on you!

Luxotica apparently sees no problem with buying up competitors and continually raising prices. I do! Do not fall for it, fellow readers, gentle humans, and any parent of a kid who needs glasses to see!

I now use http://Goggles4U.com – my prescription is too strong for Zenni nowadays, but I have been perfectly happy with the glasses I received from both companies. And I get flexible frames so I am less likely to break them, too! For the record, I am extreely near-sighted, have a different astigmatism in each eye, and now need bifocals – so pretty much as complicated as a precription gets!

Luxxotica controls over 80% of the world’s major eyewear brands. It owns Sunglass Hut, and many other brands and retailers. But you do not have to pay hundreds of dollars just to see! Any optician can tell you what your pupillary distance is – which you need to order online, but otherwise you just ened a copy of your prescription. And thankfully the pupillary distance – once you get it, it’s good for life, as your bone struccture isn’t gonna change. So do be a smart consumer, and do not fall for their artificially inflated prices! And, by the way, my ophthalmologist looked at my “cheap online” glasses, and found them perfectly fine.

Okay, rant over!

Back to books soon!

Excellent, Informative Puppy Tale

Little Boy Blue by Kim Kavin

The subtitle of this book tells heart of tale, but just the tip of the surface: “a puppy’s rescue from death row and his owner’s journey for truth.”

Blue, the adorable mixed breed pup on the cover, stares at the viewer with big brown eyes and a wrinkled forehead, and that alone would be enough to make me pick up the book. And that IS him, not some doggie model. Blue is one of those puppies rescued somewhere in the South, and transported North for adoption. But Kim wasn’t initially told that, that, just saw his photo on the website as a healthy pup available for adoption in Pennsylvania. He was listed as a Lab-Plott Hound, although looking at him, I don’t see any Lab, but plenty of Beagle, maybe some smaller hound, maybe Pittie or Boxer. In his case, his adoptive parent, who fell in love with his photo on the Internet, didn’t really start questioning his beginnings until she brought him to the vet and they noticed small scabs on unknown origin.

Once that was noticed, she started asking questions, and unlike most people, she kept digging when she didn’t get satisfactory answers. Her life as a journalist meant once her interest was piqued, there was no stopping her. While I had heard the “spay and neuter” message hasn’t really gotten across in some parts of the country, and this is why this practice of rescue and transport became prevalent, there is so much more to the story we do not hear about. And what I really like is that Ms. Kavin presents a clear and pretty unbiased tale. She interviews the Animal Control officer for the place in North Carolina Blue was rescued from initially, and surprisingly, he does not come across as evil personified, but as a man doing a difficult, often heartbreaking and thankless job. And some of the people she meets that were involved in Blue’s rescue and transport are also not purely angelic, either. Just as there are many shades of brown in Blue’s handsome brindle coat, there are many shades of grey in the whole system, and very little is black and white, or cut and dried.

From the horrors of gas chamber euthanisation, to the hard situations some rescuers end up in, to the whole system that has grown up involving websites, local people on the ground, on the roads, and even in the air, veterinarians and shelter workers, dog lovers and irresponsible dog owners and breeders, this book tells the whole story, in more depth and detail than I have encountered anywhere else. The author comes across as a caring human being, caught up in a story deeper than she ever expected. And we, the readers, benefit from her pure journalistic efforts, and dogged (pun intended) determination to find the whole truth.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone who loves dogs or even is just curious about what goes on around the country in terms of animal welfare. Dealing with pet overpopulation, irresponsible or ignorant dog owners, and the promise of the adoption networks and rescue groups that have sprung into existence with the advent of the new Internet age makes for fascinating reading. And I also love that right on the cover is a little notice that a portion of the proceeds for this book will go to benefit Petfinder.com, a website I send people to all the time that is a clearinghouse for myriad rescues around the country. Basically, anyone with a heart should read this book.

Cat Book from a different perspective!

The Cat Manual; Advice for Cats, by Cats

by Michael Ray Taylor


Now, even just typing the title and author is tricky in this one, as Mr. Taylor claims just to be the translator of the book, while it’s actual author(s) remain secret, and lost to the mists of time. But the editors of this, the 4,973rd edition, are likely Cleo, Simba and Tony, cats belonging to Prof. Taylor’s family.

This is a fun eBook, and its subtitle is “Guidance for the Adult Feline Consigned to Live With Humans” which pretty much sets the tone for the whole thing. It includes chapters on things like “Heaviness” that explain a cat can willfully alter how much it weighs as it sleeps, to render the human on which it is sleeping increasing immobile, tips and instructions on training one’s humans about feeding (including altering the human’s schedule, waking the human, etc. Much of this, I suspect anyone who has lived with cat has suspected all along, but we never knew they had an actual Manual for this, did we!

I guarantee a lot of chuckles, and some “A ha! So that’s why …” moments to any readers who have ever lived with a feline, or thought they “owned” one. Fun, funny, and it will give you new insight into the minds of these “mysterious” creatures!

And yes, they cultivate that reputation deliberately. You knew that, didn’t you?
And as it is an eBook, the cat cannot tear up the pages – an advantage considering chapter on Reading!