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    an idyllwild weather clam!

    Our gal, The Idyllwild Weather Clam thinks that it will rain again today.

    Friday 23 June 2017
    Currently at 5:03 AM 60°


    Up to the minute now-casting provided by: Idyllwild Weather Clam Mega-Skyview Ultra-Precision Doppler 160000 Super Computron Forecast in Full Spectrum HD

    Entries in punditry (64)

    Tuesday
    Jun132017

    Toddler Watch: Dear Leader Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a poster
    Friends,

    The 45th president of these United States, better known as Jared Kushner's father in-law, held the first meeting of his entire cabinet yesterday. This is a motley crew of GOP lifers, hangers-on, dopes, fire starters, and Mitch McConnell's wife (who is several of those things. -ed). While mostly a photo opportunity, a startling and brazenly un-American thing happened—one by one, they went around the room pledging their loyalty to the president.

    This doesn't happen in a functioning democracy, but it happened yesterday.

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Friday
    May262017

    Toddler Watch: Poor Impulse Control Edition

    Friends,

    The United States of America, a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, last year elected an orange buffoon as its leader. One of the reasons that old white people in this country voted for him, we're told, is that because they're anxious about their economic fortunes, they thought a successful businessman would be the best choice. This man would negotiate trade deals with other nations that tilt in favor of the United States. A master negotiator would also be able to bend foreign ministers to his will, the thinking goes, to ensure that America isn't stuck holding the nightstick as the "world's policeman."

    Here's the master negotiator in action at his first NATO summit in Brussels...


    Economically anxious white people in Montana also voted in a special election yesterday to elect a man who beat up a reporter the day before as their sole congressional representative. This is more dangerous.

    I strongly believe that NATO is a self-healing institution and can route around problems, like the grandstanding grifter who lists "45th President" when he takes out new loans with the Russians. However, he and the new GOP representative from Montana, and the people who support them, are showing that it's okay to rough people up to get what you want. That it's perfectly fine to beat on a member of the media who's pressing to get a question answered on the eve of an important election.

    Pay attention to these things, dear reader. This is how we lose a democracy.

    Your pal,

    - bob
    Wednesday
    May242017

    All Hail The Orb!

    Friends,

    Our president, a 70-year old orange toddler, has stayed up way past his bedtime during his first foreign trip as the leader of the free world. (since you put it that way, it's time to jump off a bridge. - ed At least wait for the midterms.) During this trip, he has said dumb things, coddled dictators, and has reshaped America's foreign policy to comport with the thing the last person he spoke to told him. In other words, the trip was going as expected, until he encountered The Orb.

    Was The Orb part of some elaborate stagecraft by the Saudi king to open the new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh, or something more nefarious, as portrayed on Twitter? Maybe it was something else entirely...


    Your pal,

    - bob
    Tuesday
    May162017

    Toddler President Watch: Leaking State Secrets Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a poster
    Friends,

    A heavily-sourced story by the fine folks at The Washington Post (Cripes, are they going to save this nation's bacon again? every 45 years, like clockwork. -ed) reported that some septuagenarian toddler we call the 45th president shared highly classified information with the Russian ambassador. You remember the Russians, don't you? They're the ones who threw the last election toward said toddler through a disinformation campaign fueled by hackers, social media dupes, and willing stooges.

    Anyway, the toddler's nannies and enablers in the White House denied the story yesterday. This seems pretty normal. Why would you admit that you shared secrets that inherently compromise our sources with the enemies of our democracy?

    I don't know. Why don't you ask that toddler yourself, since he admitted sharing that information today.

    It's not a crime, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be removed from office for doing it. In fact, it helps reinforce the existing case for impeachment. Now all we need is a Congress that worries more about the country than their party.

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Friday
    Mar242017

    The American Experiment: Testing The Low Values Edition

    A lovely centered picture of a my driveway
    Friends,

    Whether it's stripping healthcare out of a healthcare bill because it's too generous, hunting bears while they're hibernating, or removing online privacy protections so ISPs can make a dollar, the majority party in this United States Congress has been busy. Why do they hate people, sleeping bear cubs and people? Because there is a dollar to be made, and your modern Republican Party is chock full of people who have no interest in you.

    I propose that while we bide our time until they can be voted out of power, we have a little fun at their donor's expense: keep as many browser windows open and search for as many different things as your computer will allow. Let's work together to make our browsing and search histories worthless!

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Sunday
    Mar052017

    A (very) Short Respite

    A lovely centered picture of a mountain, a building, and some cars
    Friends,

    I seem to be suffering lately from a fatigue brought on by an elderly orange man from Florida who has managed to destabilize this great country using little more than a Twitter account. He has surrounded himself by right-wing ideologues, dullards, kleptocrats, toadies and various hangers-on who are working with this elderly orange man to frighten old ladies and Australians while annoying Sweden and other people whose worldview hews towards facts and logic.

    Because I count myself among both the frightened and annoyed camps, I'm grateful to take a little break. This piney paradise, while not cut off from media, insists that inhabitants go outside and enjoy this gift.

    Until the new Secretary of the Interior sells off the forest to the highest bidder.

    Dammit. So much for my break.

    Your best pal,

    - bob
    Friday
    Feb032017

    On The 25th Amendment

    A lovely centered picture of a nice lady doing nice things
    Friends,

    Sometimes you've just got to get rid of the president. Maybe you start hearings and he resigns and you get the mess pictured above, and sometimes you invoke the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because the president is unfit to serve. Either way, now would be a good time to do either of those things.

    And please remember to punch a Nazi. Thank you.

    Your very best pal in the whole wide world,

    - bob
    Friday
    May202016

    Once Upon A Time

    Friends,

    I've got a bone to pick with a copywriting trend I'm seeing lately. It's popping up in press releases, news articles, think pieces and op-eds with alarming frequency and I'm already tired of it.

    This trend is really a writing style and it goes like this...

     

    1. First paragraph has some background and lays out a premise.
    2. Second paragraph says how we used to do a thing.
    3. Third and subsequent paragraphs introduce the new thing and explain how great it is.

     

    It's lazy (and I've done it myself) and not new in itself. What's new is that articles are explicitly telling you what they're doing. Here's an example...

    Everyone likes to tell stories – it’s something we’ve done since we were kids. These days storytelling is an inherent part of our daily lives on social media, whether it’s sharing family photos or promoting a product, company, or cause.

    For a long time, the tools that let us creatively express ourselves and tell our stories were there for the select few who knew how to use them. But times have changed.  A high-definition camera is just a swipe away. You can carry an orchestra in your pocket and a digital publishing studio in your bag. We already know how to share with the world—but how do we actually stand out by telling our stories with impact?

    Today we’re announcing Adobe Spark – a new way to create powerful visual stories...

    Sure, Executive Vice Presidents write this way, but you shouldn't. You're better than that.

    Your best pal in the whole world,

    - bob

    Wednesday
    Jun172015

    In Defense Of Yesterday's Technology

     

    Friends,

    I've been a subscriber to a single wireless phone carrier for twelve years, which is absurd when you think about it. Who hasn't switched and flopped between carriers to get the best price or the best signal or to take advantage of a last gasp deal (Hello, T-Mobile!). I was finally able to take advantage of my, erm, loyalty yesterday and also a giant multinational corporation hoping to clear last year's phone model out of the channel to get an iPhone 6 for nothing down. Also, the payments on the new phone with the deal are lower than the old phone, so the monthly is lower. That's the financials, but what about the hardware?

    Brilliant. The camera is lovely, the processor is very fast and migration of data from the old to the new model was reasonably quick when directly connected to the desktop through iTunes. It's bigger than the older phone, but it still fits in a front jeans pocket.

    All that said, there are some problems. My laptop is from (late) 2007 and has been rejuvinated with a RAM and hybrid hard drive (part SSD, part spinning disks) upgrade, but still can't run the latest version of Mac OS X. That means that it has been excluded from the great cloudiverse. It can't share data with the new phone, iPad, or the desktop machine if I turn iCloud on. Apple makes an app (or application, if you will) that allows Windows machines to access iCloud storage, but you can't do that on old Macs. Perfectly functional Macs.

    Perfectly functional Intel-based machines are out. The Power PC machines, like the G4 Cube, Power Mac, Powerbook G3s and iBooks (before iBooks was an e-book purchasing app, or application, if you will) are still running, but out of luck in this ecosystem. Surely you don't want to toss these machines in the bin since they have a lot of useful life left doing the things that most people want to do, like browsing the web or checking email, so making these machines obsolete seems like a waste.

    There are lots of ways around this file sharing problem, like Dropbox, and local file sharing, but the many old machines on my network deserve something better. They've built the company, or at least the ethos of the company, so why not cut them a little slack?

    I know why, but that's the subject of the next piece.

    Your pal,

    - bob

     

    Monday
    Aug152011

    An Ad Agency Buys A Handheld Radio Manufacturer

     

    Friends,

    News came out this morning that Google is buying Motorola Mobility (the smartphone arm of Motorola) for twelve and a half billion dollars. That's a premium over how Motorola shares were valued last Friday and carries with it, I think, the overwhelming odor of desperation.

    Of course, everybody's making a happy announcement about the sale, like how the synergistic metrics between the longtime global partner teams are now forming a more tightly integrated new paradigm, or somesuch, but doesn't this mean that Google is now directly competing with LG, HTC, Samsung and all the other Android handset manufacturers? And won't those same highly valued partners continue to wonder how Google is sandbagging every time an Android release comes out? If this is a reaction to the Nortel patent grab of a couple weeks ago by Apple, Microsoft and others, it seems to me that it's a bit like putting out a camp fire by urinating on it without warning all the other campers to pull their marshmallows out first.

    - bob

    P.S. I use the first generation Motorola Droid for work and am as impressed by it as this guy.

    UPDATE: Super creepy and eerily similar plaudits for the marriage here. We welcome the news!

    Wednesday
    Jul272011

    Blink.

    I can't bear to look.
    Friends,

    Congress has decided to play a game of chicken with the finances of the United States. A game of high-speed mumbley peg with the nation's digits under their rusty jack knife. What's worse, (a worse thing, or are you extending the metaphor? -ed) is that the country's economy hasn't recovered enough to afford even a tetanus shot against the missteps of these ham-fisted apes. Before you get all fiscal on me, I'm not cutting the prevaricator in chief any slack on this either. He had the opportunity at the beginning of the year to ask for a clean debt increase bill and missed his chance. Now it's the '72 Munich Olympics in the capitol with our finances held at gunpoint, all due to some red meat types latching on to the idea that a debt limit increase is for future spending and not to pay for stuff we already bought.

    The Treasury Department has set a deadline for next Monday when we'll run out of money to write checks for government things, like checks for pensioners and tranquilizers to keep the space monsters we've locked up from eating us. We're in a pickle, folks.

    What will happen? Will the legislative and executive branches cut a last-minute deal? Will the president, in lieu of a deal, exert his executive privilege to extend the debt ceiling on his own? Will the "full faith and credit of the United States" be as suspect as a clean lab result from a professional bicycle racer? The answer to these questions, and whether we're all doomed, will be answered next Monday.

    In the meanwhile, fill up your gas tanks. Just saying.

    - bob
    Friday
    Jan282011

    Happy Friday of Anger!

    So sad. Maybe your millions of plundered dinars will make you feel better. Friends,

    As you may have heard, the people of Egypt have taken to the streets today after Friday prayers to pressure octogenarian despot Hosni Mubarak to finally step down. Will the military and police prevail and snuff out this uprising? Should Mubarak, the man who took over after the assassination of Anwar Sadat and soon after declared emergency rule be allowed to remain? What does the Egyptian government's ability to shut down almost 90% of internet access in that country say about our own government's hope to be able to do the same? Why is the Obama administration so worried about suggesting that police brutality aficionado Mubarak take a hike?

    Hosni Mubarak. Christ, what an asshole.

    Good job, Egyptian protesters! Don't let the Muslim Brotherhood co-opt your movement!

    - bob

    NOTE: Please listen to today's episode of The Bugle [MP3 link]. Andy and John take an Egyptian government overthrow victory lap that mustn't be missed.

    Monday
    Nov012010

    A Jaunty Election Guide! - or - Where I Appear Clever By Mentioning Alan Cranston

     

    Friends,

    This mid-term election cycle has been the most expensive, the nastiest in my memory, the most divisive. This is where The Best Political Team on this Blog™ come in. We've read the literature, followed the polls, listened to the people. You can't stay home for this one, folks. We're energized, so let's go!

    • Prop 19 - Legalizes marijuana under California but not Federal law. Permits local governments to regulate and tax commercial production, distribution, and sale of marijuana. Initiative statute: I was a big fan of this at first given the idea that the government should get out of the war on drugs business. After all, isn't pot pretty harmless? Well, yeah, as long as folks are sitting on their couch, eating Doritos. What makes this one crazy is that it appears to have been written by people who were baked out of their minds. The prohibition against "workplace discrimination" in particular means—at least to me—that an employer can't ask an employee if they're high or remove them from tasks until after an accident happens. This also seems to present a problem for businesses that operate a "drug-free" workplace and need that designation to win government contracts.
    • Prop 20 - Redistricting of Congressional Districts. Initiative Constitutional Amendment: This is the most important proposition you can vote for in my humble opinion. You good people stepped up and voted for Proposition 11 back in 2008 to establish a citizens' redistricting panel to take the every-decade state district boundary redrawing out of the hands of the legislature. No sweetheart deals, no more districts that look like snakes, wigs, mustaches, or other contortions to assure safe reelections. Proposition 20 adds congressional districts to the panel's plate, much to Federal representatives' chagrin. This makes me very happy, indeed. They hate that average people might decide what their districts look like and who's in them. No more safe districts for those jokers, and you have to love that.
    • And now we skip down the ballot because we aren't so sure what to think about 21 and 22...
    • Prop 23 - [hold on to your hat] Suspends Implementation of Air Pollution Control Law (AB 32) Requiring Major Sources of Emissions to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emmissions That Cause Global Warming, Until Unemployment Drops to 5.5 Percent or Less for Full Year. Initiative Statute: [whew!] I'm going to contradict myself later, but the importance of Proposition 23 can't be understated. Yes, it's been financed by oil companies from outside the state, but the idea remains sound. California alone can't solve global warming on its own which is quickly rebutted by the pundits who remind those who care that this state is a bellwether for environmental legislation. This is why Tesoro and Velero are the major sponsors, certainly. What the pundits forget is that this is going to cost energy consumers in this state plenty in order to implement this golden idea. If the green lobby needs a girlfriend, please look elsewhere. We can't afford your fancy lifestyle at the moment. The people who are putting up cash opposed to this measure are millionaires who might be able to afford the hit when they fill up their tanks, turn on the A/C or fire up their plasma teevees. The rest of us, especially when unemployment in the state is over 15 percent, can't. Oh! Did I mention that AB 32 gives the California Air Resources Board unlimited authority to write rules to achieve their goal of reversing the Industrial Revolution? The unelected board that has no interest in, well, you? They're completely mad and must be stopped. This is good place to start.
    • I have no idea what to think about Proposition 24. It repeals a deal worked out to get last year's budget passed, which is likely to be a bad idea, but maybe Proposition 25 may fix that...
    • Prop 25 - Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass Budget and Budget-Releated Legislation from Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority. Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes. Initiative Constitution Amendment: Guh. I hate amending the constitution and I'm worried about removing the high bar for adopting a budget. That said, something has to give to solve this constant budget bickering. Late budgets are costing us money and inflicting a little pain for the constant delay is appealing. No, it won't raise your taxes. Relax.
    • Proposition 26? It's written by polluters who think you'll be outraged that fees are like taxes and hope you'll be really scared. Cynical bullshit.
    • Prop 27 - Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting With Elected Representatives. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute: Also known as the incumbent protection act. We don't need citizens redrawing districts, our pals in the assembly were doing a great job assuring us safe districts all along. Why change? Well, because the gerrymandered districts drawn up by their pals make sure that each district is anti-competitive. Please vote no..

    Well, that's it. I'm not going to endorse any statewide offices because they're all terrible in their own special ways. I'm particularly struggling with the Boxer v. Fiorina race. Barbara Boxer has been a terrible senator who has been reelected through luck and the hard work of the uncritical California Democratic machine. Carly caused me to lose the last job I loved and broke up a little family that I loved a few years ago. They're the choices. Stinko offered to give me twenty bucks to vote for Boxer, but that's the Chicago way, isn't it?

    Crap! What to do?

    - bob

    P.S. Oh yeah. Alan Cranston.

     

    UPDATE: Votesmart.org has the answer for my question. It's disturbing...

    Some sort of lovely picture about how a computer thinks how I think... The upside is that I get twenty bucks.

    Monday
    Mar222010

    Grapes.

    It's like a tiara. Friends,

    The healthcare bill passed in the House. The Congressional Budget Office thinks that this measure will be revenue-positive, but I think that our nation is now richer for other reasons. I come to this from a position of believing that the health of our fellows is a fundamental right. Period. I would've been in favor of a universal healthcare plan if that could've been reconciled with free market incentives to innovate. In my own experience, mandates for electronic health record systems haven't led to a great breakthrough, but rather "good enough" solutions.

    If this bill has any genius at all, it's that there's an incentive to make better cheaper. The rules of medicine have changed, but those of us in tech are used to the rules changing on a dime. Or because it'll save a dime. We can make money in this new environment, maybe not as much, but now we'll be doing more good for more people. If that's not what you're into, I hear China could use a new search engine...

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Friday
    Mar052010

    Great, Now What?

    Friends,

    I've been trying to write a post about an interaction I'm in the middle of on Facebook, but every angle I try to take on the subject seems, well, not interesting. That story is hereby spiked. What will go up is something else entirely, starting with another picture of an oddly proportioned Japanese car from the way-back machine...

    Subaru Roadster, c.1961
    1961 Subaru Roadster (that may have a different name that I can't read because it's in Japanese on their site). Rear-engine, 23 horsepowers of fury!

    • We were all entertained yesterday by the news that fierce gay rights opponent, Republican State Senator Roy Ashburn was pulled over for a DUI departing from a gay nightclub on Wednesday morning. One of those universe self-leveling moments, I think. Then I learn this morning that legal gay marriage in Mexico City had taken effect yesterday. Predominantly conservative and Catholic Mexico City? The one in Mexico? And we can't manage it in California, which I still find baffling.
    • As you know, I'm a registered Democrat, but I have been fairly vocal about my "Anybody but Barbara Boxer" campaign this November. The problem is that the opponent with the highest name recognition in California is Carly Fiorina. If you put aside my animosity against her based on her record at HP that killed my last job, her mouth isn't doing her any favors right now. She thinks that she's a better candidate because Boxer beats white men, she's anti-choice, and shares Sarah Palin's values (whatever that means. sounds like pandering to tea partiers to me. - ed Check!). So maybe not anybody-anybody. Maybe Tom Campbell can help...
    • You remember former speaker of the California assembly Karen Bass, don't you? She's running for the Congressional seat being vacated by Diane Watson this year. She's also the one who donated $20k to a ballot initiative to dissolve the citizen's redistricting panel. Well, as a parting gift to her Democratic caucus foot soldiers in our very broke state assembly, she promoted twenty staff members and gave them 10% raises in her last days as leader. Could stunts like this account for the deep financial hole the state's in? Is this the same speaker who kept banging the drum about "revenue enhancements" to plug the state deficit?

    Whew! Now that we've covered that, what's for lunch?

    Your pal,

    - bob

    Tuesday
    Nov242009

    Vinegar Joe Says No, Holds Breath

    Just stick to removing hard water spots, okay?
    Friends,

    Former Democrat, now party-of-me Connecticut Senator Joseph I. Lieberman has decided that any mention of a public insurance option in the Senate version of the health care bill must go. The idea that several large health insurance companies are based in his state and have contributed handsomely to his campaigns had no impact on his decision. Clearly, Vinegar Joe sees that a market-based solution to making health care available and affordable to everyone must be the best approach—because it's worked so well up to this point, I might add. So I will.

    BTW, he's the 60th vote to close debate and force a vote on the bill, in case you've lost your scorecard.

    So the public option we're left with at the moment is either your traditional tar and feathers, or perhaps the more viscerally satisfying torches and pitchforks. See? Who says they've limited your right to choose?

    - bob

    Thursday
    Nov192009

    I'm The CEO! Product Planning Edition

    Oooh. Trucklet.
    Friends,

    General Motors, the global manufacturing behemoth that we American taxpayers *cough* own, just doesn't seem to understand what vehicles Americans can actually use. I haven't been shy about my hope that somebody will bring back the compact pickup of the 70s. No, not the metal dashboard, lowest common denominator death wagons we drove back then, but not the squished versions of full-sized trucks Nissan and Toyota are pushing.

    Could we use Brazilian front wheel drive unibody pickup with a 1.8 liter flex fuel four? Could GM own the segment for small pickups with a vehicle they already build with a motor they already (I think) sell here? A segment that Volkswagen and Chrysler abandoned in these United States nearly thirty years ago?

    Could they sell enough to make enough money to give you and me back our money? Could you use one? Discuss.

    - bob

    NOTE: The '84 Dodge Rampage picture in the Chrysler link is our friend Nick's very own trucklet seen at Nick's Garage. He's a good guy, really knows his stuff and I'm sure this Fiat thing is killing him. Thanks, Nick!

    Thursday
    Nov052009

    I'm The CEO! What Did We Buy?

    Friends,

    You may remember back a few hundred days ago when we bought a ten percent stake in the Chrysler Corporation, then gave the company to the quality mavens at Fiat. The day before yesterday, the new bosses unveiled their plans for new products. If the company lives long enough, it appears that they're looking to build some real crap. I'm really only interested in Jeep though, and there was a presentation for that (warning: PDF link). Let's take a look at how little they understand the American market!

    What first caught my eye was their discussion of the history of the brand...

    Was that their logo in the 60s? AMC is notably absent.
    First crossover? (it's not hyphenated, by the way. and what the hell is with the greengrocer's apostrophe? -ed That's my gig, isn't it?) Are they talking about this, perhaps?

    That's right. The mighty Jeepster (Commando).
    Elegance WITH capability is clearly evident here, so we can't quibble there. Just look!

    But what about the children? Jeep appeals to everyone, after all. But how on earth can we indoctrinate the children? It's already happening, people...

    Unmentioned is the use of Jeep in sex ed...
    Oh, James.

    Jeep has also inspired people to join together all over the world to chase oil leaks and replace broken axles. Even in Hemet...

    No shout-outs to the Anza Jeepers?
    But moving forward, how will Jeep keep the hardcore fans involved while appealing to new buyers? The lifestyle set, if you will...

    She wants a Compass, clearly. No spring in her neck though.
    Um, holy crap? Is this the new face of Jeep? The clip art lady with a cheap hat? I'm sure we'll see her at the next Jamboree in her Compass. Along with this guy...

    Welcome to the Rubicon. Are you from around here?
    He might be from Hemet. Or somewhere else...

    Oh, you young aspirationals. So furry. Maybe you're not interested in rockcrawling after all. We can help...

    You don't need all that stuff.
    Can we talk about genetic mutations for a moment? Perhaps you'd like a Fiat Panda with a seven-slot grille in 2013.

    WTF.

    - bob

    UPDATE: Oops! Forgot to credit The Truth About Cars and Allpar. Thanks guys!

    UPDATE II: It turns out that Chrysler Corp. dealers hate the new ads too. Kinda like saying that leeches are sick and tired of the whole vampire meme, but we'll take it where we can get it.

    Tuesday
    Oct062009

    American Business Is Eating Itself: Exhibits 1 & 2

    Middle management is terrorizing the city! What will we do!
    Friends,

    Today I arrived at work and found that the niggling negligible nabobs of network negativity had decided that the company's web filters needed to block bobtherieau.com as a "Personal or Social Networking" site. Under this logic, isn't every site personal? Doesn't somebody own or operate everything? Isn't whitehouse.gov a personal site? You know, if you think about it. It's certainly become a social networking site, hasn't it? But I digress.

    I have theories, of course, about why this stifling of admittedly stale content has occurred. Either my cohorts in the IT Department thought it would be a laugh. Maybe they're trying to be "fair" and block everybody's personal site equally. As far as I know, that number equals zero, plus one. The final exciting supposition is that I've finally been noticed by the pinhead websurfers at Websense, Inc. LLC. WTF. F-U. Maybe I really am somebody! (to be blocked. -ed Yeah, that.) As always, crackpot theories are welcome in the comments.

    Welcome to Verizon Wireless. Can I help you?In other brain-dead idiocy news, I spent some quality time at a Verizon Wireless store to get a phone fixed today. Monica immediately threw open the battery cover and condemned the phone as wet, out of warranty, and not replaceable. Oh, unless I'd like to pay $300 for a similar phone (not a replacement, which I found a curious distinction) or enter into a new two-year contract on behalf of the company for a free-ish new phone. It was at this point where I mentioned that she might as well be speaking Mandarin while I could only understand Cantonese. She's surely writing about this exchange on her Myspace page right now, mentioning that I'm the biggest jackass in the history of her limited contact with humans.

    Her third option was to bring an old Verizon phone in and have the service transferred for free. This, being cheaper than $300 by about $300, I bit and rushed back to the office to retrieve some old clunker.

    On my return, one of the store managers took my case. He cloned the phone giving trouble, then tried "one more thing," and fixed it. For free. That's it. Ms. Wage Slave's answers involved money for Verizon. The manager spent his time with customer service. It seems to me that if people aren't persistent, they're gonna end up with a much lighter wallet when the walk out of that place. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest some training for all of their staff.

    Yeah, it's nutso.

    - bob

    Thursday
    Sep102009

    Jaunty Dumptruck O' News - Wellness Edition

    Is low bridge!
    Friends,

    In listening to the President's speech on healthcare last night and reaction this morning, I've assembled the Jaunty editorial board and I think we can add important perspective to the debate. It's this—much like the internet is not a truck, health insurance is not like car insurance.

    While the President was saying this...

    "And that's why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance -- just as most states require you to carry auto insurance."


    I couldn't help thinking that most states require you to carry auto insurance because there was a very real possibility that your expensive possession was going to be smashed some day by somebody else's uninsured expensive possession. Your premiums would rise and the offender would skate. The analogy falls down right there unless somebody would like to make the case that health care reform is tantamount to automobile no-fault insurance policies, which I don't think you can very easily.

    A woman interviewed on NPR regarding her opinion of the speech didn't care for elimination of pre-existing conditions for consideration for health coverage (where do they get these people? -ed My guess is improv night at the dinner theatre.). She likened this to "...while uninsured, driving your car into a tree, then calling the insurance company for a quote." This is wrongheaded unless people purposely choose to have a pre-existing condition. Which would imply that they're crazy.

    Treatment for which I presume would be covered.

    Your pal,

    - bob