Showing posts with label Personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Personal. Show all posts

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Comcast is Still a Horrible Company




This is the bill that a Comcast customer recently received. The first name on the account was changed to "asshole" by a Comcast customer service representative. Go read about it...awful.

My own experience with Comcast was hilarious fun. I was using the Comcast E-mail service with our account (cable and Internet) and they arbitrarily cancelled the account and destroyed the E-mail along with it.

I have been asked, numerous times and in person, to switch to Comcast. I will never, ever do it.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Speak a Dying Language At Home, Please




There is a bit of nationalism behind this--Germany has long had a difficult time integrating immigrants into society. There's also a bit of absurdity--Germany is a nation of expatriates and immigrants, enjoying the best economy in Europe and plentiful jobs for skilled workers. Speaking German at home reveals the inherent self-confidence crisis in the German character. The language is dying off with the elderly.

In two and a half years of living in Germany, I can tell you that there's almost no need to speak more than "retail" German. You need to be able to command a vocabulary of about a hundred words, if that. Phrases help, and so does courtesy. But there's no need to speak it and live there because everyone already understands a bastardized version of English. You can survive quite nicely there on a limited amount of German and on a reasonable amount of courtesy.

The death of the German language is on the way, however. Europe will figure out how to communicate in some hybrid language. However it sounds, it will be gutteral and abrupt enough to get you to your next destination.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Here's Your Sign




After being told not to, Ralph Colavita's campaign put a campaign sign in my front yard. I have reported him to the Howard County government officials who are charged with destroying these things. Expect updates throughout the year...

As I have said many times, campaign signs do not matter. What an idiot.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Your Scroll Bar Did Not Disappear




This is one of those rare occasions when Apple makes a mistake and assumes people can tolerate even a fraction of the change they were never looking for:

For longer than I care to admit, I have been unable to scroll down on my computer. This is only the latest in a series of laptop-related inconveniences, but, given the nature of my employment, is something of a problem. If you manage to catch the scrolling bar to the far right of the screen, you can generally navigate okay, but if you relax your vigilance for a moment and move your cursor, that option is closed, and it is necessary to refresh the screen. At least, that’s the only way I know how to do it.

See above for the answer...I struggled for days with our newly-upgraded MacBook and finally figured out what to do. I Googled the problem and someone coughed up an answer. That's how you do it nowadays. You look for people who are similarly challenged and copy them. What could go wrong?

Now, if this person doesn't have an Apple, then they're screwed and no one should care. But still...one should never be too proud to Google or beg.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Arundel Mills is an Insane Place to Be




Years ago, you could visit the Arundel Mills shopping center and about all that would happen is that someone would beg $20 off of you. That happened to me. In the parking lot of what used to be Circuit City. I bought a lot of stuff that I don't have anymore there. I gave the guy $20. But that's all gone now.

Last time I wrote about Arundel Mills, some crazy woman in an SUV tried to run me over because I was walking in the parking lot of a restaurant. They fled the scene, I called the cops, and nothing happened because, well, it's just par for the course now at Arundel Mills.

Thanks to the addition of the Maryland Live Casino, which ruined the property and brought in a desperate criminal element found around casinos nationwide, you can't have lunch over there anymore. You can't go to Arundel Mills without putting your head on a swivel. Don't go there at night and relax and walk around like a real person. Don't do it.

This story is just another slice of crazy. Thanks again for putting in that casino. Granted, there was crime before the casino, and I can understand that. But this is just an example as to how insane it is over there now and it speaks to why I just can't justify going there anymore.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Herbalife Has Always Been a Ponzi Scheme




Whoa, now you tell me:

The FBI is investigating Herbalife Ltd., the nutrition and weight loss company that hedge fund manager William Ackman has called a pyramid scheme, sources familiar with the investigation said Friday.


The news, first reported by the Financial Times, sent the company's stock price down nearly 14 percent.

My first exposure to Herbalife came 25 years ago. We had relatives who used it and sold it. At one point, they suggested it as a replacement for actual cancer fighting medications.

Yes, as a replacement.

In any event, Herbalife is no different than Amway or whatever crap you get roped into selling. It's always been a Ponzi scheme. If it wasn't a Ponzi scheme, it wouldn't have distributors and sellers and people GODDAMNED DESPERATE to get you to buy it so they can climb one rung higher and breathe a little easier before the whole thing crashes down around them.

It's basically just repackaged edible bullshit. That's all. At this rate, it'll be 2089 before the FBI figures out that Scientology is a cult.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pandora's Caberet in Waterbury, Connecticut


My grandson and I were there: holla back, FOOLS!

I hasten to describe how difficult it was to visit Pandora's after my grandson Chip and I made the decision to sample Waterbury's night life. Chip is going to graduate high school this spring, barring any more academic moves against him, but he is 18 and they let him into the establishment. We did enjoy ourselves, but we did not appreciate all of that gunfire.

It seemed to detract from the table dance we had paid for because you could tell the poor young lady was nervous. I also thought she was a bit under weight as well, but when I suggested she add a few more pounds, she asked the bouncer to remove me for being rude. I offered up advice for a woman on how to put on "curvy" weight as opposed to babyfat weight, but to no avail. I have all of the science on this, and it requires eating the right amount of Doritos with cream cheese.

Chip stayed until they made everyone leave, and I still don't know how he got home. I left with a woman named Bubbles or Jennifer, depending on whether or not her lisp was acting up, and we went to Wing it On because duh.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow




This was not Snowmageddon. This was a lot of snow that fell on us and inconvenienced us but not much more than that.

What you're looking at is a picture snapped while on a long walk. It clearly shows that the second round--the five and a half inches--that fell after we got fourteen inches fell so hard and so fast that it overwhelmed the trees. Lots of them lost branches last night. The forest has been culled.

More on the way? So what. A week from today, they tell me it will be sixty-one degrees.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mayor Skillet




Mayor Skillet is an old short story that I wrote in 2012. For some crazy reason, people are checking it out like crazy on Amazon.

Go here and get it for free if you have a Kindle.

Monday, February 3, 2014

They Blew it Up




Not quite two years ago, I was in Frankfurt, Germany and I snapped a picture of this hideous building. This was the AfE building and it was far more hideous in person than my photo could possibly capture. It really was.

I called it a great example of architectural blight. The morality of putting something this dysfunctional and ugly in the middle of a beautiful city had to have offended someone's sense of decency, even back in the hoary days when throwing up towers in post-war Germany was an act of determination and muscle. Surrounded by classical buildings and otherwise functional European architecture, it stood out as being one of the few communist-era block towers to have sprouted up in the old West Germany. This is what you would have expected in Potsdam, not Frankfurt.

On Sunday, the Germans heeded my post--I am being ridiculous on purpose--and brought the whole damned thing down in a heap of concrete and dust.

Kudos, people of Frankfurt. I'm glad I was able to help.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Best Christmas Present




Today is the day when we rolled over 10,000 followers on Google+. I am humbled by this and astonished that we have broken through what seemed like an impossible ceiling. For months, it seemed like I was going to be stuck at a thousand or so followers or maybe even have to move on and do something else. Even though the count may fall back a little in the days ahead, or race out ahead of us, it's still worth noting that this has brought me tons of new readers and lots of great interaction. Hitting this milestone right before Christmas is a fantastic present. Thank you to everyone who has added me.

I still don't get why there's all this hate for Google+. Doesn't anyone know that you're supposed to share, interact, and engage?

Friday, December 6, 2013

The World is Full of Weirdos


How do you react to this image? I looked at it and went...what?

This is an image that was posted on Google+ and it purports to show a "homeless" puppy basking by a fire. Who set the fire? Why isn't someone doing something to keep the puppy safe? Is it really a smart idea to set the goddamned woods on fire and warm up the puppy in this manner?

I mean, what the hell is this?

Weird.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The End of Arbitron




This is sad:

Media ratings firm Nielsen Holdings plans to lay off 333 workers in Columbia — more than one-third of the workforce at what had been Arbitron Inc.'s headquarters — as the two former rivals combine their businesses. 


New York-based Nielsen, which closed the $1.3 billion purchase of Arbitron in September, immediately renamed the radio ratings company Nielsen Audio and told Wall Street analysts it expected "wonderful cost synergies" as it meshed the two firms. 


Company officials declined to comment on the cuts but said they are "implementing changes across the company to enhance growth and to align our resources."

I worked for Arbitron for several years, gaining a lot of experience and working with a lot of fantastic people. When I left Arbitron, the company had just weathered the loss of the CEO (fired for lying to Congress) and the implementation of the Personal People Meter device in about 45 markets. Things looked good, and the idea was, it was time for Arbitron to go after Internet ratings and improve the PPM device. That's not going to happen now. To me, it's a lost opportunity for a great American company. 




Arbitron was special. It antagonized the radio industry for decades by being honest. The radio industry is now a turnkey operation. That station you used to like? By and large, the radio stations that used to serve communities have disappeared. They are now automated and run satellite programming. Everyone who used to work there, except for a few salesmen, were all replaced by a corporate syndication service in another part of the country. And the people that run it are still mad because Arbitron told them their listeners abandoned them in droves.



There's an inherent problem in this article. Nielsen isn't being honest about what they're doing. Here, you have a quote about who they're letting go:

Nielsen CEO David L. Calhoun, speaking to analysts last month, outlined areas where he saw duplication. 


"The headquarter stuff is easy, because you don't need two headquarters," he said, according to a transcript. "The functional support stuff is relatively straightforward, because you only need one accounts payable processing. You only need one receivables. ... I'm confident that we can express big synergies quickly, because I know that path and we're on it."

Here you have a quote from someone being let go:

John Borchers, an employee at the Columbia complex, said he was told his job will disappear at the end of February. That gives him a few months to prepare. His job is in the panel relations division, which works with radio listeners and is among those facing cuts.

Panel relations for radio is a service that Nielsen doesn't have; Nielsen does not deal with radio ratings. You would think that if Nielsen was simply going to reduce all of the redundant positions, it would NOT be forcing cuts in areas like panel relations, which is a position that directly interacts with radio customers.




Mr. Calhoun is, apparently, lying about what's happening. The profitability of radio ratings measurement is at question. Can Nielsen make money from radio? Or is it simply going to profit by wiping out Arbitron and keeping it from making inroads into other areas?





I have no idea. I suspect they are simply going to dismantle Arbitron and keep what they want or write it off and take a loss. They don't seem to be in it to make radio measurement a permanent and viable part of their business model.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Geese on Wilde Lake




This is for a whole slew of new readers coming to the site from HoCo Blogs. Thank you!

Shot today, and shot with a simple digital camera. Some enhancing done on the mac, nothing special.

Today was the most gorgeous day of the year and I had to shoot something.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Leaving it All in the Ditch














So, this is done. I'm slowly ramping up more stories and more pieces for the Kindle store. This one is a short story piece that ended up being acceptable enough to publish. It will be on a free promotion starting next Tuesday. If you are a Kindle owner, you can get it free.