Pinochle really is what I want to play

I suppose I’m naive, but I was shocked when the ad I published on Craigslist looking for pinochle partners was misinterpreted. Quite a few people thought I was looking for partners for something else.

The ad said:

PINOCHLE ANYONE? We are two South Loopers interested in playing pinochle and looking for two more to make a foursome. Will likely play on a weeknight; frequency to be determined. If you're interested, please contact me.

The first hint that the ad was misconstrued came in an email with only “Call me” and a phone number. The next reply said, “Hey, white beauty here . . . If u interested mail here,” with an email address.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have used the word “foursome.” Maybe I should have said that we’d play in a public location. I edited the ad:

PINOCHLE ANYONE? Two South Loopers are looking for two neighbors to play partner pinochle. Will likely play on a weeknight in the South Loop, maybe in a coffeeshop; schedule to be determined. If you're interested, please contact me.

The responses got more explicit:

“Can you come my house? It's empty now.”

“Just lookin for hookup. if you interested then TEXT ME.”

“I’m actually looking for hard sex. If you are serious about sex than text me here...I am available today.”

Whoa! And I’d thought the ad sounded decorous and businesslike.

Since I was anonymous on Craigslist, the respondents had no identifying information about me but apparently didn’t care about my gender, age, or anything else except interest in their proposition. Some of them used female first names and surnames that I assume are actual.

Craigslist removed personal ads in 2018 in response to a US Senate bill curtailing online sex trafficking. Yet people obviously continue to look for sex through the site, reading ads like mine as code for something else. But really, if a person were looking for something else, couldn’t she come up with a better code word than pinochle? It’s an old card game brought over from Europe by my Slovak and Luxembourger ancestors and passed on to succeeding generations. My siblings and I started playing pinochle when we were preteens and continue to play if we find time when we’re together.

I struggled with rewording the ad. Maybe “partner” and “play” should go. The next edit:

Would you be interested in joining a pinochle card game at a South Loop coffeehouse now and then? If so, please contact me.

But I didn’t post that wording for fear it still wouldn’t fend off salacious replies. I deleted the ad less than 24 hours after the original post, glad that Craigslist didn’t use my real email address.

I’ll look for pinochle partners through other means. Like here. I’m trusting that people who read ChicagoNow understand that I really am looking to play an innocent card game called pinochle. I have found one South Loop neighbor who’s interested and need two more people for a four-person game. If you live near the South Loop and would like to play pinochle now and then, please be in touch.

On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t say “in touch.”

*****

FEW DENTISTS ACCEPT DENTAL INSURANCE PART OF MEDICARE ADVANTAGE HMO PLANS

Medicare Advantage plans, the all-in-one alternatives to original Medicare, like to tout their extras that original Medicare doesn’t offer — like dental, vision, and hearing coverage.

I’m in a Medicare Advantage HMO myself and like it. The zero-premium Humana Gold Plus paid $2,000 toward my hearing aids and covers some dental care, among other benefits.

When a friend retired last year, he chose another HMO, Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Basic, because it had the lowest cost for his medications and his doctors are in network. This year he upgraded to BCBS Medicare Advantage Basic Plus, which adds dental, vision, and hearing insurance for a $32 monthly premium.

He encountered a problem finding a dentist in Will County, where he lives, who accepts the insurance. I suspect that the list BCBS sent him includes dentists who accept its Medicare Advantage PPO plans but not dental HMOs. One dentist told him that dentists are resisting DHMOs. (I found a dentist because the dental insurance part of Humana Gold Plus is a PPO.)

After my friend told me the story, I Iooked at BCBS of Illinois’s Find a Dentist site. The link Medicare Advantage Plans returned only two dentists in all of Illinois who accept his insurance — one in Oakbrook, about 20 miles from his house, and one in Chicago. I then tried the link Dental HMO, even though it asked for “employer group,” and he no longer has employer insurance. As it turned out, after multiple phone calls he found a dentist from among the nine names on that DHMO list within 10 miles of his zip code.

That’s a lesson for us Medicare Advantage customers: the in-network names insurance companies provide need to be double-checked with providers’ offices. Call your preferred dentist before enrolling in an MA plan. Since many dentists do not accept DHMO insurance, you might look into Dental Dental, which is widely accepted, for your dental coverage. My friend, for instance, during fall enrollment could return to BCBS Medicare Advantage Basic ($0 premium) for his medical insurance and go outside Medicare for Delta Dental’s bronze plan ($14 individual monthly premium in Illinois for 2019), silver plan ($29), or gold plan ($36). The downside is that he’d be giving up the vision and hearing benefits that also come with BCBS MA Plus.

*****

ANTI-TRUMP QUOTATIONS: 64TH IN AN ONGOING SERIES

“It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct — past or present — even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry,"
— Judge Amit Mehta of the DC District Court, rejecting Trump’s attempt to block a congressional subpoena of his accounting records from before he was president

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  • Whoever thought pinochle could be so funny and at the same time so full of peril. I love your post. I've played pinochle for years and way back when I even won a Chicago Park District Pinochle tournament, but I'm afraid I live too far from you to consider your invitation. But just think if you had said in your ad that you preferred playing cut-throat.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Hi. I heard from someone who enjoys three-handed. If you are ever near downtown and want a one-time get-together for three-handed, let me know and I can try to set something up.

  • I never knew about a park district pinochle tournament -- does it still happen?

    If you're ever in my area with a friend or two who plays, I'd be happy to play three-handed or partner pinochle. It would be interesting to see how I fare against a tournament winner —probably not well.

    Thanks for writing.

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    Hello Marianne,

    I live in the south loop area and am looking for someone to play the card game of Pinochle with, let me know. Thanks.

    -Matt

  • Matt, with you there are now three people interested. Do you know anyone else who would like to play so we can play partner pinochle?

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    In reply to Marianne Goss:

    I do not, unfortunately, but my favorite way to play is three-handed; it is the way my grandfather taut me.

  • I like three-handed, too, but the other woman prefers partner.

  • I won't give up looking. And when my sister visits, I can invite you for three-handed.

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    In reply to Marianne Goss:

    Sounds great Marianne, I look forward to playing.

  • In reply to Matthew Holmes:

    Hi, Matt. Looks like I may have a fourth person. Could you send a personal email to mgoss@northwestern.edu so that I have your email address? After I get it, I'll send a message to the group to try to arrange a first meeting. Thanks. Marianne

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