The horse-race has begun! Can’t you just feel the anticipation? The excitement? The hotly-contested, fiercely-competitive quest for the checkered flag … er, the green jacket … er, the stretched-out tape at the finish line … er, the party’s nod to run for President – that doesn’t necessarily mean victory and White House residency.
You may actually have enthusiasm for this renewed political season to be kicking off … I’m not. I knew it would be upon us soon enough, but I’ve dreaded hearing various candidates announce they’re launching their campaigns. It seems as though the wall-to-wall nature of media and news has spawned a monster, like a massive and disgusting tapeworm that devours from within. Continue reading “Out of the Gate!”→
It’s not often that I leave WalMart without having spent the better part of $100 (sometimes more), so it was with some disorientation that I exited a WalMart store last night with a completely empty cart and a full wallet.
But I was frustrated. The exact product for which I had entered the store had a defined space on their shelf. It was clear from the signage and surrounding product placements that there should have been a specific product in the empty space … but the product I needed (wanted?) wasn’t there. Continue reading “Just-In-Time Shopping”→
Currently, my Beloved is a dues-paying member of the now-famous (or infamous, depending upon one’s point of view) Planet Fitness franchise of non-judgmental workout centers. The recent hubbub revolves around a female member who expressed her dismay (to PF management) and questioned the appropriateness of a naked – and obviously male – individual boldly ensconced in the women’s locker room. (In this HuffPost news story, the naked male is referred to as “a transgender woman.“)The outspoken woman in the story discovered almost immediately how seriously PF adheres to their stated policy of the facility as a “Judgment Free Zone.” In a move that surely defies the notion of “the customer is always right,” management at the Michigan facility immediately revoked the complainer’s membership! (Freedom of speech? Not here!)Continue reading “Preferred Pronoun Fitness”→
One of the lead stories of this morning’s news was the monstrous traffic jam in Massachusetts I-93 caused by protesters, arms voluntarily inserted into sand- or concrete-filled barrels, positioned directly in the highway right-of-way reserved for vehicles. At least one report indicated the protesters wished to make a statement about “improving race relations” due to recent deaths perceived to have a racial component.
In the photo above, the white barrel includes this warning: Caution. Moving barrel will cause injury and prevent disengagement. Of course, this message was a subtle warning for law enforcement, a means to coerce officials to take every precaution before resolving the traffic snarl … protect the protesters no matter the costs and delays.
The protester manifestos are available online, but I have no intention of providing any additional web hits they’d love to have, so I won’t link here. In a nutshell, their protests were designed to deliberately shut down the highways leading “from the predominantly white, wealthy suburbs” into Boston. Continue reading “Do Black Lives Matter?”→
Because my Beloved and I are one of the diminishing number of US households that continues to maintain a landline, we’ve gotten used to contending with repeated calls from Heather and/or Rachel from Card Services. Yes, our number is on the Do Not Call Registry. I’ve even gone so far as requesting the phone company block certain numbers. For a short period of time, I even went through the process of filing regular “complaints” on the Do Not Call website. A lot of good that did … wasting more of my time. But the aggravation from these telemarketer/ scammers has continued unabated.
The 2012 news reports that purport a successful FTC action against Heather (including jail time) have yet to be borne out by my experience as she’s still getting through to me. (Is she calling from jail?) As for Rachel, I think she’s still calling, but I’ve stopped answering.
Now, with the Mid-Term Election only three weeks from today, we’ve once more entered that crazy lunatic land populated by non-stop Robocalls and Opinion Polls. Because we’re in Arkansas where there are a number of hotly-contested races, the political ads have been running since March and the polling has seemed almost constant since Labor Day. Continue reading “No(!) Opinion”→
Fair warning: this post will be a major peeve-blog, a rant, an all-out hissy fit! I am MAD!
If you think this might possibly offend your reading pleasure today, I urge you to take some time away and return when suitably prepared to participate in my full-bore detonation.
Okay, if you’re still reading, let’s begin.
It was a day like many others. I had worked my way through email, online news, and other assorted tasks. I think I was enjoying the remaining half of a second cup of coffee when the land line phone rang. Of course, I looked first at the caller id and though the number didn’t look familiar, I foolishly answered the call.
“Hello,” said the perky voice, “this is Rachel from card services calling about your credit card …” yada, yada, yada. Now Rachel and her friend Heather are familiar voices on the other end of my phone line … all too familiar!!! Of course, I listened long enough to hear the “Press 9 to be removed.” That I immediately did.
Then I went upstairs to get the last of my Christmas decorations put away. I was removing the wreaths that had been hung outside the dormer windows. In the midst of that task (it was maybe an hour after the first call), my cell phone rang. This time, the caller id said “Unknown” and yet again, I foolishly answered it! And … you guessed it, another Robocall from Rachel!
This time, I decided to press through and I talked with a fellow (Enrique, I think he said) who assured me if I actually understood why he was calling, I would be oh, so very glad to talk with him! (Because he believed in all of the other Rachel-Robocalls I’d received, nobody had thoroughly explained. Right!) So, in addition to insisting on my removal (REMOVAL!) from this call list, I clearly informed him:
(1) I don’t have credit card debt … not $3,000 … not $300 … not even $30! I pay every credit card balance − in full − every single month! (2) I am registered with every DO NOT CALL list I can find and it is against the law to call me! (3) So once more, with feeling this time, remove me from your &#)@% list!
I’m pretty sure Rachel’s going to be calling me back.
Apparently, there are scores of other people similarly annoyed by Rachel and her minions! But whatexactlyisbeingdone to stop this harassment?
Ha! All of our numbers are on the government’s so-called “do not call” list, and we update them regularly! I’ve been on this registry since it was first announced. Over the last couple years, every time I receive a Robocall, I’ve gone to the website and filed a complaint. Has it made any difference? Pshaw! What do you think?
Cynicism has definitely set in. I can just envision how that government program began. A couple bureaucrats sitting in a back room complain about fielding complaints from Americans who are sick and tired of telemarketers. Some are even complaining they’ve had to get new phone numbers just to keep the telemarketers at bay!
So one bureaucrat says to the others, “Hey, we could put up a website! Get people to sign up.”
Other guy says, “Great idea! They might even get the impression signing up will stop the calls.”
Third guy hops on the bandwagon, “Yeah, it’ll be easy. A website proves we’ve taken measures to fix the problem and if the calls don’t stop, people should understand. I mean, we’re not miracle-workers.”
First guy comes back, saying, “Dude, people love cruising the web! It’ll be great! If they like their phone numbers, now they can keep ’em. Period!”
All three bureaucrats raise their hands in a group high five! Second guy mimics Jim Carrey (with exaggerated lower jaw jutting outward) and says, “Oh, yeah, we have a winner!”
And the rest of us are saps for having expected this farce to carry the effective force of the federal government. (Can you feel my cynicism growing?) I guess I’m not the only one who’s disgusted with the farcical do-not-call registry. Columnist James Lileks describes its usefulness as something akin to using a piece of paper for a “shield against a rocket-propelled grenade.” Too true.
Last year, I decided to just let the guy on the other end talk and try to convince me I needed his great offer. He began by claiming he could access my accounts. That’s when my blood pressure started to rise. I asked him how he could access my accounts since I’d never given him permission to do so! I asked him which credit card information he was accessing − without my permission. He hemmed and hawed and every time he tried to proceed, I’d interrupt him with the same question: why are you accessing my information when I’ve never given you permission to do so???!
Of course, my intent was to keep him on the phone until he answered my question. What right do any of these “card services” have to access sensitive data without permission? Eventually, this man got angry and said, “You’re wasting my time, you bitch!” He then hung up. I don’t like confrontational calls − and I certainly don’t appreciate being called ugly names, but I felt justified in repeating my pertinent question until I received a response. In the end, I didn’t receive one, but perhaps … I don’t know. I was going to say, maybe he’ll take my name off his list, but that’s probably more than I can hope for.
Not long after that hateful call, my son-in-law let his two year old daughter handle what looked to be (on the caller id) a Robocall. (It was.) She babbled and baby-talked for about ninety seconds and given her short attention span, eventually got bored and concluded, “I love you.” Then she walked away.
I think she handled the call better than I would have done. But I’m starting to worry that they may have believed her “I love you.” Now they’re calling me back hoping for a little more love.
Referring to what the TSA euphemistically styles “enhanced screenings,” the wonderfully compliant news outlets in their soft-as-a-baby’s-behind reporting (also, here and here) are now regurgitating the TSA-generated meme that “less than 3%” of the flying public is subjected to the heightened screening techniques.
Wow, that’s a relief! A measly 3% of airline passengers are ceding [unwillingly, for the most part] their Fourth Amendment “right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures ..!” I mean, it’s not as if the TSA is trampling on the rights of every American, right? You can still take a train, ride a bus and freely travel without fear of government intrusion, right?
Hmm. This video might change your mind about that notion.
Okay, so maybe this video producer is a crackpot. Consider then USA-Today‘s July 2010 article wherein the head of TSA admits rail and subways are his next priority? Continue reading “The End Game”→
Imagine this scenario: You’re heading out of town for a long-anticipated holiday with extended family. The trip requires nine hours in a car so — in spite of what you’ve heard/read about new TSA-sanctioned sexualassaults, er, bureaucraticintimidations, er, safety screenings — you opt to fly instead of taking the marathon but exhausting drive.
You arrive at the airport and bypass the ticket agent (being the savvy traveler you are, you’ve printed your boarding pass the night before). You don’t think of yourself as a Zombie, but you feel like one as you take your place in the mile-long, slithering line that edges ever-so-gradually toward the dehumanizing security checkpoint.
Government-issued ID in hand along with your boarding pass, you conduct a last-minute inventory for any incidental metals on your person. Satisfied you’ve done all you can — you’re intentionally wearing flip-flops, no belt, no underwire bra, no watch/necklace/belly ring, etc. — you move forward, reminding yourself to isolate the laptop before placing your bag on the conveyor belt that goes through the scanner. Continue reading “These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For . . .”→
A couple weeks back, my Beloved and I were emptying some items from the back of my car. I was in front of him, and he remarked offhandedly: “You should probably invest in a bra that fits.” I was too busy with other things to waste time being upset by his observation, but in the ensuing days, the remark has resurfaced in my memory.
On reflection, my response might have been something like: “Aren’t you glad you don’t have to wear a harness every day of your life?” Or, “It’s supposed to be tight enough to do the job.”
Truth be told, once I looked in the mirror (from the possible angle he would have had), I had to cede his point. My Victoria’s Secret undergarment covered (and supported) the requisite areas, but there was no denying the unattractive bulges. (How would I know? When do I look at myself from the back side?)
The words “disgusting tub of lard (DTOL)” are hardly complimentary for anyone, least of all when one thinks of one’s self. While I don’t fill my chair like the cartoon woman above, my bra is (admittedly) almost as poorly fitted. Further, I acknowledge my problem isn’t just the result of a poorly fitting undergarment. Some aggressive personal action is in order: regular exercise, better eating habits, etc. (No, I’m not considering liposuction or a backlift … never heard of that before, but apparently it’s a popular option.) Continue reading “Battle of the Bulges”→