I'm not one to make myself out the be the victim of big business sticking it to the little guy, but I believe that one company does, indeed, do this regularly to customers because they can get away with it.
Quite some time ago I asked that my long distance service on my AT&T land line be turned off as I had no use for it. I make long distance calls on my cell phone. Now, it's my fault for not noticing, but they conveniently put it back on some time ago (thanks, AT&T!). So, I called them earlier in the month to have them take it off again. It's a little over $5.00 a month, but every penny counts when you're a single income family. They agreed to turn it off and credit my account for the times that I was charged (per my request--they didn't volunteer to give any of my money back to me). I knew that they wouldn't go all the way back to when they originally stuck it to me, but I was hopeful for at least something.
When I looked at my AT&T bill this month I noticed that they did take the long distance off of my bill. However, they only gave me a credit of $5.00 from the past year or so of being charged and then THEY CHARGED ME $9.15 IN FEES FOR HAVING MY LONG DISTANCE CHANGED/REMOVED!!!!!!!! (thanks, AT&T!) I got on the phone with them today and was able to get it somewhat resolved. The bottom line was that I got $50 credit--big whoop, but at least it's something. The lesson to be learned is that you have to go through every line of every bill and I have not been too good about that in the past. The other lesson to be learned is that big companies will take advantage of people if they can get away with it.
This all reminded me of one of my favorite video clips from The Colbert Report. I don't know if it's legal for me to post this or not, but I'll take a chance (I found it on YouTube). If you're my age, you probably remember that back in the day, AT&T was everything when it came to telephone service. They had taken over all of the other telephone related companies to have their own monopoly. Thankfully (please note my sarcasm here), the Federal Government stepped in and broke up the monopoly. AT&T was split into several different companies. This is also the time when companies like MCI and Sprint came along offering long distance alternatives. That's what was supposed to happen--companies competing against one another to get your business instead of one company having everything and thus the power to charge you whatever they want. So, you can understand the irony when you watch the following video...
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I'm not one to make myself out the be the victim of big business sticking it to the little guy, but I believe that one company does, indeed, do this regularly to customers because they can get away with it.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I rarely do Memes. In fact, I honestly don't know what "Meme" stands for. However, I'm home from work today and enjoying my freedom to do nothing. So, I'm copying the one that Judy, Mical and Kara did. Here goes...
In your entire life, have you ever ...........
gone on a blind date? You betcha. Miss Sniz was a blind date. In fact, I was the stand-in guy for the date because the original couldn't make it that day. That means that my wife married a substitute blind date. I guess that I just make a good impression on folks.
skipped school? ... Sure. One time I got an honor student to blow off class with me and we played basketball.
watched someone die ? ... Nope.
been to Canada? ... Nope.
been to Mexico? ... No, but a few years ago I was in San Diego and we took the train down the the border. We we going to cross but my wife was chicken. So, we stared at Mexico from California.
been to Florida? ... Many, many times. My parents live their half the year and I end up there on business from time to time.
had your booze taken away by the cops? ... Um...yeah. But let's just make sure that we all understand that that was back in 1987 and I was 17 and stupid. I'll comment on it more later (see below).
lettered in high school sport? ... No! All I would have had to do is go out for wrestling (since I was small in high school) and I could have had my letter my freshman year. I DID letter in band! I was a lover, not a fighter.
cried yourself to sleep? ... I have a "man-card" and I'll play it now. Sorry, never have done it.
played cops and robbers? ... Yes.
played dolls? ... Nope, just with stuffed animals--which is totally different, right?
sung Karaoke? ... Yes. In fact, I did it a few months ago at a wedding. I sang the theme from The Love Boat.
done something you said you wouldn't? ... Way too many times. Unfortunately, even those who are saved by the grace of God still have to deal with their own flesh. What a bummer.
cheated on an exam? ... Ugh...yes, back in high school I probably did a few times in a situation where everyone else was doing it (which always makes it right!). It was wrong. I was never much of a cheater even though I didn't know any better at the time. I was a pretty good student.
made prank phone calls? ... It was a passion of mine as a kid.
laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose? ... Sure...mostly milk for some reason.
caught a snowflake on your tongue? ... Probably, but mom was not big on us letting the snow get in our mouths for fear of the crud that might be in the precipitation.
danced in the rain? ... No. I only sing in the rain.
written a letter to Santa Clause? ... Just a few weeks ago and I didn't get ANYTHING that I asked for. Jerk!
watched the sunrise with someone you care about? ... No, but many sunsets.
been kissed under the mistletoe? ... Yes.
been arrested? ... Yes--and it all goes back to the question I answered earlier about getting something taken away. As much as I hated this event in my life, it was the event that woke me up. God used it to make me sensitive to the gospel. Thankfully, I was only 17 and it's not on my record.
blown bubbles? ... Yes, but it doesn't ask about what kind of bubbles. How about snot bubbles? Anyone?
gone ice-skating? ... Yes. Plus, I think I'm going tomorrow.
been skinny dipping outdoors? ... NO WAY!!! (not even indoors--but I'm not a "never-nude" like Tobias Fünke on Arrested Development).
had a nickname? ... "Rah-JOE" is the one I remember the most as it was given to me by the father of a good friend back when I was in elementary school. Sometimes it was "Rah-JOE Rah-JOE!" These days, many call me "Rog." I actually prefer to be called "Rog."
been to Africa? ... No.
eaten cookies for dinner? ... Yes.
been on TV? ... Yes.
been in a car accident? ... Yes, but nothing all that serious.
NOTE: I have no idea where this Meme came from, but I have to think that at this particular juncture, another meme has taken over. Instead of questions about things that I've done, I'm now just answering general questions. Is there a Meme Police that I can call about this? Or, maybe just a Meme Hotline?
What is your Mother's name? ... "Mom." She also goes by "Mary."
favorite drink? ... Peach iced-tea or hot tea. It can be unsweetened or sweetened as long as you can taste the peach. I also love blood-orange hot tea...and good coffee.
favorite alcohol? ... I'm not a big drinker. but I do enjoy a quality beverage. I love tasty beers. Currently my favorite is called Xingu and it's imported from Brazil. It's incredible. But Sam Adams is my drink of choice.
birthplace? ... Ft. Wayne, Indiana (yawn)
favorite vacation spot? ... Lake Michigan, Salt Lake City and San Diego.
favorite salad dressing? ... Ranch
favorite pie? ... Raspberry!
favorite number? ... 17 (I really don't have one, but that one has significance for many reasons)
favorite movie? ... Fletch. I don't need to watch it anymore because I have it memorized.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
We were supposed to travel to Ft. Wayne today for a family Christmas, but our middle child had a bit of a hurling experience last night, so the three of us stayed home while our other two made the trip with other family members. It seems like there's always a fun sickness that strikes our family right around Christmas time.
Anyway, they blew up the RCA Dome today (which used to be known as the Hoosier Dome when it was first built. Here's the video...
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
We have issues with batteries in our house of two adults and three children. I used to think that it was all of the kids (who seem to need batteries for everything) but I'm now convinced that it's just one--the teenager. He has an insatiable appetite for batteries. When he wants batteries he will do whatever it takes to get them. That's what led to this extreme measure...
Yep! I put all of our batteries into a locked box. Only Miss Sniz and I know the combination. It works great for the girls because now they are forced to ask mom or dad when they need batteries. Plus, I always know what we have on hand. However, the system doesn't work when your teenage son steals batteries from other devices in the house. It's incredibly frustrating when you hit a button on the remote only to discover that it doesn't have one or all of the batteries. Nine times out of ten they can be found in an Xbox controller. It drives me crazy!
But as annoying as it is, it's usually just a TV controller or something similar. It's the principle of the thing that really bothers me, but I've never felt comfortable getting all upset when it's just a remote control. Does that make sense? Well, it all changed yesterday...
I was driving home from work in the snow and freezing rain. The roads were treacherous. It was late. It was dark. I was in the car for hours and incredibly on edge (that's about two ticks beyond "annoyed") but I was dealing with things ok. I had a call on my cell phone and then it started beeping. The battery was running out. No worries. I have a charger in my car that I use all the time. I went to look for it and couldn't find it in the usual place. I must have moved it. Maybe it was in the trunk. Hmmmm.
I made it home with my phone beeping about every other minute. This is both annoying and ironic since the noise grates on your nerves while wasting precious battery at the same time. Thankfully, I didn't get into an accident or have problems with my car in the bitter cold, snow, freezing rain, dark, etc. But I still didn't know what had happened to my charger.
This morning as I was having coffee, the missing cell phone charger entered my mind again. Maybe I just managed to accidentally throw it away or something. That's when I remembered seeing another charger in the back of our minivan the other day. I'm not sure why I recalled this, but I remember at the time thinking something like, "Huh, I didn't realize that Will had a portable charger for his phone, too. I'll have to remember that in case I need to borrow it from him some time."
You see, his cell phone uses the same chargers (wall charger and home charger) as my phone and as Miss Sniz's phone. That's very handy. However, his phone has not had available minutes on it since he first purchased it in the spring. He's not willing to pay for more time to use the phone to make calls, but he likes carrying it around and playing games on it. I decided to go out to look at the charger before heading out to work this morning. If you haven't figured it out already, it was MY CHARGER!!!! If I would have been stuck in the cold, snow, ice, dark, crud, etc. last night without any juice in my cell phone and no charger, it would have been because my fifteen year old hijacked my charger from my car so he could play games in the back of the van!!!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I thought of this while driving home from the Childrens Museum (that's right, while the rest of you are contemplating art, poetry, dinner plans, what's on your dvr, etc., I'm thinking of things like this). I saw a familiar license plate cover--one that we've all seen hundreds of times on the road, usually affixed to a giant Mercury Grand Marquis (no offense to Grand Marquis drivers):
I've had a lot of experience with the kind of folks who drive vehicles like this with this type of license plate and I thought that the following might be more appropriate:
It was an easy Photoshop edit and I'm guessing that many of you can relate. Am I right?
Friday, December 12, 2008
I suppose you could say that I'm a product of the automobile industry in the United States. My dad was the breadwinner in our house and he worked at a tire factory where he eventually retired. He took care of me and my two brothers. He paid for most of my college education. So, you could say that somehow the automobile industry took care of me and my two brothers and the automobile industry paid for most of my college via my dad's hard work. Dad was also a consumer of the automobile industry. He was one of those guys that had to have a new car at least every two years. I never remember being in an old or junky car as a kid.
And yet I've never purchased a new car. I'm not sure that I ever will. These are my cars...
They look much more beat up in real life today than in these pictures. They've been well-used and I guess that we've been fortunate to get so much out of these used vehicles.
And that's what I don't get. How many new cars does this country really need every year? I just read today that Honda was originally planning to build 1.46 million vehicles in 2009 and now they've reduced their plan to 1.3 million. GM was originally planning on building 3 million cars & trucks in 2009 and now they plan to build just 2 million. Notice that I'm not even including Ford and Toyota and all of the other automakers in the world.
It doesn't take an economic genius to figure out that the automobile industry is going to be hurting severely this year (and perhaps in the years to come). And as I can attest to as a product of the generation, it's much bigger than just the factories that make the cars. Think about all of the components and accessories and you have a huge economic impact.
In our lifetime, my wife and I have had the following vehicles:
- 1974 Nova (ugly green with a three on the tree manual transmission--I should blog about this some time)
- 1987 Plymouth Horizon (referred to as "The Hor")
- 1985 Honda Accord
- 1990 Mercury Sable (like a Ford Taurus, but uglier)
- 1992 Chevrolet Corsica
- 1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager (pictured above)
- 1996 Honda Accord
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I'm not one to blog too deep into my own time in the scriptures, but I'll share a little bit of what I was reading and reflecting on today--two little gems (pun sort of intended) from Matthew 13: 44-46 (New American Standard Bible):
Hidden TreasureIn both of these parables you have a person who finds something good and then gives up everything to get it.
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
A Costly Pearl
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls,and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The other day I posted something about paperclips and received this wonderful story from Hunny Bee of "It's a Honey of a Life". You can read it in the comments of the actual post or simply enjoy it below as I've created my own interpretation of how this would look if it were written on real paper (none of the words were changed). It's an instant classic. Enjoy!
Monday, December 8, 2008
Central Indiana has produced a number of great news stories lately. Just the other day we learned about deer jumping off of bridges and today we have a young lady who really likes to live on the edge...
I DO feel like it's necessary for me to point out a few things about this story:
Woman lights wrong smoke in front of trooper
MUNCIE, Ind. -- Police say a Muncie woman was arrested after asking a state trooper whether she could smoke -- and then trying to light up a marijuana joint.
Thirty-two-year-old Honesty Knight was a passenger in a vehicle that Trooper Eric Perkins pulled over for a traffic violation early Friday. While the trooper was talking to the driver, Knight obtained the trooper's permission to smoke.
Police say Perkins then asked to see the cigarette, which contained marijuana, not tobacco.
Knight faces a preliminary charge of possession of paraphernalia. She was released from jail on bond, but couldn't be located for comment because no home telephone number was listed in her name.
- Yes, her real name (according to the newspaper) is "Honesty Knight."
- Of course she doesn't own a phone. She spends all her money on pot and bail.
- This story would have been even better if Eric Estrada had pulled the woman over.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I've probably stated my disgust for Microsoft's old "Clippy" character created by the company to
annoy help Office users create Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, etc. However, I'm even MORE horked off (I think I just made up that term--it means "mad") by the countless broken or destroyed paper clips that I find all over the house. I'm not sure what comes over the kids, but I think that whenever they see a paperclip they feel the need to pick it up and bend it...or break it...or both.
The only reason I KNOW this is because I find them laying all over the house--on counters, on the coffee table, under couch cushions, in silverware drawers, you name it.
I have nothing profound to say about it all. It just annoys me.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I'm a Christian. It's the most important thing in my life and I'll make no bones about it. So as I share the following video from YouTube (and I'm only sharing the first one you see--if you follow the links to other videos you're on your own), I'm NOT making fun of my God or the church.
But I AM making fun of these guys. This is the most lame thing I've ever seen in my life. I'm not sure where to begin. First off, I'm sure it was made in the early 80's but I haven't looked into it to see for myself (who needs research when something is THIS GOOD). The lead singer overly annunciates every thing he says (too much staccato--but it could use more cowbell). There are several people in the video that look very bored. The "lead guitar" player looks like your uncle who is a total recluse in real life until you give him a guitar and then he gets weird--freaky weird. That's enough. I'll leave the rest up to you. Feel free to have fun with it. It's so bad that it deserves to be ridiculed (even in the church).
I almost forgot...
1. Special thanks to "The Jared" for showing this to me the other night at Higher Ground.
2. The "zap!" can be found at 1:56. Don't miss it.
"That's terrific, Sal! Thank you very much. Beautiful, beautiful, well..."
Monday, December 1, 2008
Well, it's official. The economy is REALLY BAD this Christmas. Just the other day five deer in Northern Indiana committed mass suicide by jumping off a bridge over I-69. I talked to a few bunny rabbits in the area that indicated the family of deer lost a lot of money in the stock market. Don't worry, the rabbits are hanging in there (but I'm concerned for the squirrels).
Five deer leap to deaths from I-69 bridge
MARKLE, Ind. -- Five deer that wandered onto a highway overpass jumped to their deaths onto Interstate 69, one of them crashing through a tractor-trailer's windshield, police said.
After the animals' fatal plunge, their mangled carcasses littered the expressway to the horror of motorists who approached Friday's scene in the northbound lanes of I-69.
Wells County EMS paramedic Andy Stimpson said he wasn't prepared for what he saw when he arrived at the crash scene at the U.S. 224 overpass about 20 miles southwest of Fort Wayne.
"It's the weirdest run I've ever had in 28 years," he said.
John Salb, a spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, said the deer may have been spooked by cars as they were crossing the overpass and jumped from the overpass, not knowing that a busy highway was far below them.
The 20- to 30-foot fall killed all five deer about 12:30 p.m. Friday, said Brian Jenks, a dispatcher with the Huntington County Sheriff's Department.
The last of the five deer went through the windshield of a tractor-trailer rig, but the driver was not injured, police said.
Late fall is a stressful time of year for deer as hunters push through fields and woods, hoping to scare deer out of their cover, said DNR spokesman Phil Bloom said.
Farmers are also removing the last of their crops from the fields, reducing the animals' food supply even as deer breeding season is in full swing.
Any of these factors could have pushed the deer onto the highway overpass, Bloom said.
The I-69/U.S. 224 interchange is a likely spot for wildlife and humans to collide. The west side of the interchange is bordered by privately owned fields and the Markle State Recreation area, which is popular with hunters, Jenks said.
The east side of the interchange, an area that's heavy with traffic, marks the edge of the town of Markle.