Beware! CSA Travel Protection IS Another Scam, Out to Rip You Off

Let’s cut right to the point: CSA Travel Protection is a scam.

I bought a a plan from them to cover the Myrtle Beach nightmare. I received this email once they got my money:

Dear Alan Petrucelli: 

Thank you for choosing CSA Travel Protection for your travel insurance needs. As you prepare for your trip, you can be sure we are working hard to give you the peace of mind you deserve.

Policy Number: 18256W3157
Travel Protection Plan: $61.50

During your trip, emergency assistance is available 24 hours a day by contacting our designated service provider within the USA at (877) 243-4135 or internationally at (240) 330-1529 (collect calls accepted).

Please review your policy documents carefully, and if you have any questions about your plan please contact our Customer Service Department at (800) 348-9505. Your 10-day free look period expires on Sep 23, 2018. If you decide to cancel this plan during your free look period and you have not left for your covered trip or filed a claim, simply contact us to request a full refund. On the following pages you will find a schedule of benefits. Again, thank you for choosing CSA Travel Protection to protect you before, during and after your trip. 

When I filed a claim, they refused to pay me. They claim they do not cover hurricanes, though that “fact” was nowhere revealed. In other words, they work by not offering full disclosure.

I sent emails to a woman named Jesse Tron, who claims to be the “Managing Director” at “M Group Strategic Communications” (101 Avenue of the Americas, 9th floor, New York, NY 10013;  646-859-5952; 914-424-0299; jtron@mgroupsc.com.

She is the flak for the company who supposedly does the publicity for the insurance scam.

She has been as helpful as a Republican. In part, some of her emails, read: I have sent this along to the claims folks at GGA. Please let me know if you don’t hear from them. 

Yet what is GGA? It seems the company that supplied with with a policy is not known as CSA Travel Insurance but Generali Travel Insurance.

Her second email: Please note, we handle media relations for the corporate entity, that is all. I have zero insights or control over the claims process. I have escalated this to the claims team and they have assured me they are following up. Beyond that, I have no control over what they decide, you will need to deal directly with the company. 

She tells me “someone” will call me. Someone does . . . leaving a message on my phone machine with no return phone number. Very odd. Very worrisome. Very suspicious.

Next stop: Small claims court.

 

Vincent Lindon brings the life and loves of great sculptor “Rodin” to life

Paris, 1880. The 40-year-old sculptor Auguste Rodin finally receives his first state commission, The Gates of Hell, which will include The Kiss and The Thinker, two of his most famous creations. Constantly working, he shares his life with his lifelong partner, Rose,  and his mistress, young Camille Claudel, the gifted student who becomes his assistant and a talented sculptor in her own right during a decade of passion, mutual admiration and creative collaboration.
Following their painful breakup, Rodin continues to work relentlessly while facing both the rejection and enthusiasm provoked by the sensuality and originality of his sculptures. Rodin’s statue of Balzac, long in the making and rejected during his lifetime, will become the starting point of modern sculpture.

Cohen Media Group will release the 2017 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or nominee Rodin on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms on October 2.  The biographical drama, starring Vincent Lindon as the great sculptor, is the latest from Jacques Doillon, the multiple award-winning director of Ponette, La Drôlesse and dozens of other films that have made him one of the most esteemed European auteurs of the last 40 years.

Bonus features on the Blu-ray and DVD include the featurette Sculpting Rodin.

A trio of great new releases from W.W. Norton & Company

Kafkaesque: Fourteen Stories ($19.95, on sale now)is a mesmerizing interpretation of fourteen iconic Kafka stories. Long fascinated with the work of Franz Kafka, Kuper began illustrating his stories in 1988. Initially drawn to the master’s dark humor, Kuper adapted the stories over the years to plumb their deeper truths. His style deliberately evokes Lynd Ward and Frans Masereel, contemporaries of Kafka whose wordless novels captured much of the same claustrophobia and mania as Kafka’s tales.

Kafkaesque: Fourteen Stories

Kuper has reimagined these iconic stories for the twenty-first century, using setting and perspective to comment on contemporary issues like civil rights and homelessness. Longtime lovers of Kafka will appreciate Kuper’s innovative interpretations, while Kafka novices will discover a haunting introduction to some of the great writer’s most beguiling stories, including “A Hunger Artist,” “In The Penal Colony,” and “The Burrow.” Kafkaesque stands somewhere between adaptation and wholly original creation, going beyond a simple illustration of Kafka’s words to become a stunning work of art.


In End of the Megafauna: The Fate of the World’s Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals ($35, on sale November 13) paleomammologistRoss D.E. MacPhee a look into the fascinating lives and puzzling demise of some of the largest animals on earth. Until a few thousand years ago, creatures that could have been from a sci-fi thriller roamed the earth. These great beasts, or “megafauna,” lived on every habitable continent and on many islands. With a handful of exceptions, all are now gone. What caused the disappearance of these prehistoric behemoths?

End of the Megafauna: The Fate of the World's Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals

MacPhee explores that question, examining the leading extinction theories, weighing the evidence, and presenting his own conclusions. He shows how theories of human overhunting and catastrophic climate change fail to explain critical features of these extinctions, and how new thinking is needed to elucidate these mysterious losses. Gorgeous four-color illustrations by Peter Schouten bring these megabeasts back to life in vivid detail.


Silicon City: San Francisco in the Long Shadow of the Valley($26.95, on sale November 13) is an intimate, eye-opening portrait of San Francisco transformed by the tech boom that asks: Can a city lose its soul? The tech boom of our time is changing San Francisco at warp speed. Famously home to artists and activists, and known as the birthplace of the Beats, the Black Panthers and the LGBTQ movement, the Bay Area has been transformed by Silicon Valley. But the richer the region gets, the more unequal and less diverse it becomes, and the cracks in the city’s facade begin to show. Writer and filmmaker Cary McClelland has spent several years interviewing people at the epicenter of the Bay Area’s rapid change: tech innovators, venture capitalists, coders, homeless advocates, pawn brokers, prosecutors and public defenders, tattoo artists, and tour guides.
Silicon City: San Francisco in the Long Shadow of the Valley
Silicon City masterfully weaves together their voices and unforgettable stories to create a dynamic portrait of a beloved city and a cautionary tale for the entire country.

A Chat with Ken Starr, whose book “Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation” is now out

Two decades after the release of the Starr Report that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, former independent counsel Ken Starr presents for the first time his full and candid perspective on one of the most contentious episodes in American history, in Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation (Sentinel/Penguin, $28.00).

Here, he chats about the book and then some.

Why did you decide to write this book now?
The time was right, both personally and historically. I was no longer serving at Baylor University, and in my new-found freedom was moved to write–at long last–the story from my perspective of the President’s abuse of power and crimes against our justice system.

What is the significance of the book’s title? Why do you say “contempt” is the dominant quality of the legacy of Bill and Hillary Clinton?
The title literally applies to the former President. Bill Clinton is the only president in American history to have been found in contempt by a court of law. That courthouse judgment pointed to a larger truth–the contempt with which both the President and Hillary treated our foundational value of the rule of law and the human beings with whom they dealt.
Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation
How did you come to be appointed as Independent Counsel in the investigation of the Clintons?
Under the independent counsel law, a three-judge court – the Special Division of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit–appointed me. I definitely did not volunteer for the job. To the contrary, I was asked to serve  I was asked to serve.

As Independent Counsel, you were under continuous attack by the Clintons and their surrogates. They tried to portray your investigation as a politically and personally motivated witch hunt intended to bring down a president. Of course, your book is largely a point-by-point rebuttal of this view. But briefly, why was it wrong?
The unrelenting attacks from the White House were, by definition, politically inspired. They were clearly intended to erode the principles of the rule of law and the fair administration of justice. Our record of professionalism and integrity is demonstrated by the fourteen criminal convictions in Arkansas, and the universal acceptance of the factual accuracy of the so-called Starr Report.

What toll did your vilification by much of the media and the public take on you personally, as well as your family?

The years-long attacks as to my personal and professional integrity were not only profoundly unpleasant, but they took a toll on the investigation itself. In all too many quarters, the Whitewater investigation came to be characterized as a personal and political vendetta. In the process, my family members suffered grievously–most dramatically by the fact that our daughter, Carolyn, had to have round-the-clock security protection due to death threats.

In fact, you were such a lightning rod for controversy that you kept a very low profile throughout the investigation, staying mostly behind the scenes. But when the House considered impeachment, they
wanted only one witness to appear before them—you. What was it like to testify for twelve hours in a single day? What did you think of your performance then, and how do you think it stands up now?
That “longest day” shortly before Thanksgiving was the most difficult single day of my professional life. It profoundly tested my patience, when I had to listen–respectfully–to tirades by Judiciary Committee members such as Maxine Waters and Chuck Schumer.

What disappointed you about the way the House of Representatives handled the Clinton impeachment proceedings?
The House saw fit not to have real witnesses–those who knew the facts from their participation. I was the sole witness before the Judiciary Committee. I was put on trial, but I was simply the custodian of the facts. More fundamentally, I regretted that the House was not willing to consider a lesser sanction, namely a resolution of censure, rather than the ultimate sanction of removing a President from office. The debate would have been
more balanced, and less politicized, if that alternative sanction would have been seriously considered. But I respect the constitutional view that, as to the President’s misconduct, it has to be impeachment or nothing.

Were you surprised when the Senate failed to convict Bill Clinton and remove him from office after he was impeached by the House?
No, I wasn’t surprised at all. First, the House had seen fit not to move forward on our Count 11, namely the President’s abuse of the powers of his office. I describe that in detail in the book. We felt that all ten counts led up to, crescendo-like, his misuse of his powers of office for reasons of self-preservation. Second, impeachment
and conviction represent the ultimate weapon in the arsenal of our representative democracy. The American people would see their considered judgment–rendered at the polls overturned through an inherently political–and highly politicized–process where a President would be stripped of the power granted to him through the election process. That would be inherently destabilizing. The American people want the President to serve out his term, and to be able to get his job done without this sword of Damocles having over his head.

Many people continue to believe that Bill Clinton was impeached for “lying about sex.” What is your response?
That bumper-sticker takeaway ignores the undisputed evidence that he obstructed justice, intimidated witnesses,
encouraged witnesses to lie under oath, and profoundly misused the powers of his office to, among other things,
invent a non-existent privilege to try to hide the truth.

Shout! Factory to release “The Sound of Music Live”

Doe a deer.

Those three words instantly bring the Rodgers & Hammerstein’s beloved classic The Sound of Music comes to mind.

And this November, Shout! brings The Sound of Music Live, the ambitious, live-broadcast production from BAFTA-nominated director Coky Giedroyc, to DVD and Blu-ray.   Save the date: The discs will arrive on November 6, just in time for the holidays.

The musical, celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2019, has become a favorite of families the world over with such perennially classic and unforgettable songs as “The Sound of Music,” “Edelweiss,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” and “My Favorite Things”. The Sound of Music Live, destined to become a new family chestnut, brings this beloved and timeless story to lavish life with a cinematically staged production featuring three soundstages and more than150 period costumes, all stunningly shot with 17 cameras.
In the new production, Kara Tointon delivers a “mesmerizing performance and incredible vocal talents” as Maria, the tomboyish nun who reluctantly becomes the governess for seven children living in the shadow of their stern widower father (played by Julian Ovenden). Along with her required duties, Maria brings love, music and excitement back into the children’s lives . . . and also eventually begins to have an effect on their father. But just when things are looking up, the rise of Nazism and the looming threat of war darkens their future.
Supported by Katherine Kelly as Baroness Elsa Schraeder and Alexander Armstrong as Max Detweiler, The Sound of Music Live-— which also features “How Can Love Survive” a song not in the original movie but part of the stage show since 1959—is an enchanting experience that will remain with audiences long after the last curtain call.

Firefly Books dishes out two tasty cookbooks. Seconds, anyone?

We savor news about new cookbooks, then dish out the information to our hungry readers. Twp tasty treats from Firefly Books.

Casablanca: My Moroccan Food ($35)
Nargisse Benkabbou grew up in a food-oriented family that nurtured her connection with her roots and country of origin, Morocco. On her popular blog, MyMoroccanFood.com, she shares her family’s recipes and her innovative cross-cultural creations. Named one of 18 talents to watch in 2018 by The Guardian, Nargisse is certainly a rising star in the UK and North America.

Casablanca features 100 recipes for simple and satisfying Moroccan meals for family and entertaining. Nargisse describes the essential elements in Moroccan cuisine and how to make them including Ras el hanout spice mix, preserved lemons, Harissa paste; scented waters, couscous, preserved lemons, Chermoula, Moroccan tea and much more. She also introduces the tagine and explains how to use it.

Nargisse breathes new life into Moroccan cuisine, blending that authentic Moroccan spirit and the contemporary to create accessible recipes for the everyday.

Don’t believe us? SaysNigella Lawson:“A book that is infused with the flavors of Morocco and is as accessible as it is inspiring.”


Nothing is as complex in its simplicity as the taste of an oyster. Salty, sweet, briny notes of merrier – the flavors change from country to country, from week to week, and according to the season.

Patrick McMurray, world record holding Oyster shucker, has written an insightful and entertaining guide to the pleasures of one of the oldest and most universal delicacies in the world–the oyster.

The Oyster Companion: A Field Guide ($19.99) is rich in history and lore providing everything you could want to know about the oyster, how to enjoy them injury free and compares the differences between 50 (!) varieties found world-wide. This is the essential guide to the world of oysters.

He Fucked Stormy Daniels. Now she fucks him. Thanks, Stormy!

How we love Stormy weather.

How we hate Adolph Frump.

He fucked Stormy Daniels. And She now fucks him. Hard.
St. Martin’s Press spotlights Stormy on October 2, when it releases Full Disclosure ($27.99), Stormy Daniels’ memoir. She and the book will really fuck the bastard:  The book will be published simultaneously in the UK, Australia, South Africa and India, and in hardcover, ebook and audio formats.

She was already well-known in some circles before March 6, 2018, but that’s probably the first time you heard the name Stormy Daniels. That’s the day she filed a lawsuit against the prick over a nondisclosure agreement negotiated before the election but never signed.
FULL DISCLOSURE
Now the woman referred to in The New York Times opinion pages as “Stormy Daniels, Feminist Hero” and “Joan of Arc,” and in Rolling Stone as “the hero America needs,” tells her whole story for the first time. In Full Disclosure, she shares everything about how she came to be a leading actress and director in the adult film business, the full truth about her journey from a rough childhood in Louisiana onto the national stage, and the events that led to the nondisclosure agreement and the behind-the-scenes attempts to intimidate her.

In Full Disclosure, Daniels is funny, sharp, warm, and impassioned by turns. “I own my story and the choices I made,” she writes. “They may not be the ones you would have made, but I stand by them.”

A sampling of St. Martin’s Press new releases . . actors, rock ‘n roll, cake and the biggest liar since Nixon

Fear not.
There’s another great book  about Adolph Frump: Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride: The Thrills, Chills, Screams, and Occasional Blackout of an Extraordinary Presidency($28.99). CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett  shares his unique insider’s perspective in this authoritative and entertaining account of the most important and wide-reaching events of the asshole’s first year in office. Mr. Trump's Wild Ride: The Thrills, Chills, Screams, and Occasional Blackouts of an Extraordinary PresidencyAs Entertainment Weekly wrote in a preview of the book, “CBS News’ Major Garrett is a more careful journalist than Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff, but the conceit of his book—the first year in the Trump White House—is similar enough to have us plenty intrigued.”


Just because we can’t stand him doesn’t mean William Shatner shouldn’t have even more attention paid to him. After a brief health scare in 2016, the veteran actor offers one piece of advice to live a long and good life: Don’t die.
Live Long And . . .: What I Learned Along the WayIn Live Long And…: What I Learned Along the Way, he uses a combination of pithy humor and thoughtful vulnerability to reflect on his unique and fascinating life. Booklist says, ” . . . fans will enjoy Shatner’s musings on his passions and adventures.”


Just how much does Jeff Bridges like his friend, Gary Busey’s, new book? “Get to know Gary Busey, who once told me he was an angel in an earth suit. Indeed he is, giving us messages he’s received from on high, messages that inspire and support us in living a beautiful fulfilled life. Get to know my dear friend Gary Busey, read Buseyisms.”
Professional actor and semi-professional wildman Busey has done more things in his life, ranging from the impressive to the insane, than most people have done in ten lifetimes, and he’s still going.

Through it all, Busey has kept a positive outlook, even as he’s endured more extreme highs and lows then one would think possible. He’s rubbed elbows with cinema legends, partied with the rich and famous, and even toured with a hit band. It’s all in Buseyisms: Gary Busey’s Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth ($24.99), along with some sage words from a real character.


Regarded as one of the greatest drummers of all time, Kenney Jones has seen it all, played with everyone, and partied with all of them. He’s enjoyed the highs, battled the lows, and emerged in one piece.
Let the Good Times Roll: My Life in Small Faces, Faces, and The WhoLet the Good times Roll ($29.99) is the long-awaited memoir of the legendary drummer’s life and times in the bands Small Faces, Faces and The Who. Jones has penned a breathtaking immersion into music past that leaves readers feeling as if they lived it too.SS moving memoir from one of ESPN’s top football reporters, Kirkus Rviews says that Adam Schefter’s The Man I Never Met “is affecting not only for the story it tells of how the author learned to honor his wife’s husband as ‘the fifth member of [his] family,’ but also for how it shows a man growing into a mature understanding of the true meaning of love and sacrifice.” The Man I Never Met: A Memoir|
Super Bowl-winning coach and author Tony Dungy calls  “a story every American should read” and New York Times bestselling author Mitch Albom hails this memoir as, “A fresh and triumphant take on the aftermath of 9/11.”


The duo behind Delicious Poke Cakes and Delicious Dump Cakes is back with another book of quick and easy desserts. Delicious Bundt Cakes: More Than 100 New Recipes for Timeless Favorites
In Delicious Bundt Cakes, ($19.99), Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore unlock the secret of the Bundt cake. The book features more than 100 recipe—made completely from scratch, as well as recipes based on boxed cake mixes—and color photos throughout, along with all the hints and tips you’ll need to make a spectacular Bundt cake every time.  Chocolate Peanut Butter Tunnel Bundt Cake anyone?

Scam alert! Myrtle Beach Management dismisses the danger of Hurricane Florence, demanding I travel there!

The hurricane named Florence hits Myrtle Beach in a day or two, but  the hurricane is already there, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Its name? Myrtle Beach Management. They are located 821 Second Avenue, North Surfside Beach, SC 29575. Their phone: (800) 968-9279. Their email: mymyrtlevacation.com

I paid $962.66 for a six-stay at Myrtle Beach Resort A503, whose address is  5905 South Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, SC 29575. When Florence made the scene, Henry McMaster, the Governor of South Carolina, issued a mandatory evacuation for people along the coastline in preparation for Hurricane Florence. Millions of people have been evacuated. Roads have been turned into one ways—away from Myrtle Beach.

“This is not the time to take a chance,”  McMaster said. “We do not want to gamble with a single South Carolina life. I have ordered a full coastal evacuation effective noon tomorrow, Tuesday, September 11.”

Spirit Airlines gave me a full refund of tickets and baggage fees. A man, reportedly named “Pat” who reportedly works at Myrtle Beach Management, refuses to refund my money. He wanted me to travel to honor the reservation despite the what CNN has called “a monster”!

As my lawyer pointed out in an email to Myrtle Beach Management: Your email of today (September 11) states: ” We are under no obligation to modify your reservation.” Pursuant to this, you are stating that you would have never refunded his costs, even though the Governor of South Carolina put South Carolina under a State of Emergency—making travel illegal. In essence, you were asking him to risk his life.

Unless I am refunded the full amount, my attorney will file a case against Pat Walsh and Myrtle Beach Management at Horry County Magistrates Court Surfside Magistrate Office/9630 Scipio Lane/ Myrtle Beach, SC 29588-7575.

Update! Walsh sent this blackmail email on September 20, 2018:

… and in an attempt to finally put this ordeal behind all of us, we will refund Mr. Petrucelli the Service Charge + Tax ($180.66), provided he does the following: 1) Removes the Story from the internet; 2) Refrains from any more formal complaints, legal action, or other public discussions regarding Myrtle Beach Management; and 3) Withdraws his complaints with the BBB and South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs.
 
If this is acceptable, please have Mr. Petrucelli respond in the affirmative.  Once the above complaints have been withdrawn and the “story” removed from the internet, we will refund the money as indicated above.

See you in court!

 

Taste you way across America with “No Passport Required”

Want to go on an inspiring journey across the U.S., exloring and celebrating the wide-ranging diversity of immigrant traditions and cuisines woven into American food and culture? Welcome to No Passport Required (PBS Distribution), available on DVD October 30

Chef Marcus Samuelsson—co-owner of New York’s critically-acclaimed Red Rooster Harlem—embodies America’s extraordinarily rich cultural diversity. Born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, and a proud resident of Harlem, he’s inspired by this global background to infuse his culinary experiences with diverse elements of music, history, culture and the arts. Today, he is a celebrated award-winning chef, restaurateur, author, philanthropist and food activist.

From Detroit, where Marcus meets Middle Eastern immigrants who call the city home, to the Ethiopian community in Washington, D.C.,  the program showcases how food can bring Americans—old and new—together around the table. In New Orleans, Marcus learns how Vietnamese culinary traditions have fully integrated into the fabric of the city, taking center stage with long-established French and African influences. In New York, he’s shown how the Indo-Guyanese culture thrives in a small enclave of Queens, and how this one community has taken the best of its Indian and Caribbean roots and incorporated those influences into its customs and cuisine. In Chicago, Marcus heads to the city’s Mexican neighborhoods and discovers their impact on the area’s food and cultural landscape. Then in Miami, he meets with members of the proud local Haitian community.

Bon appetit!

 

Petrucelli Picks the best in books, music and film . . . and then some