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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Phone predators.

I have a general rule about phone calls.

Anything that anyone needs to tell me is not important at all if it uses a recorded message to tell me.

I have been hanging up on them for years.

I have never missed out on anything important, as far as I can tell.

Besides, I can’t help but think that, should I win the Lottery for untold millions, they just might view that as being important enough to call.

Or not call.

If you don’t claim the prize, they get to keep it.

Sometimes, you have to fight them for it.

I read a story about a waitress in Iowa,  who was left a shoebox as a tip.

Inside the box was $10K.

The waitress followed the customer to their car.

The customer said, yes they knew how much was there and they wanted her to have it.

Just to be safe, she called the police.

They came and took the money and said if no one came forward to claim it in 30 days, it was hers.

At the end of 30 days, they wouldn’t give it to her.

They said it was probably drug money and would be donated to the department.

Bastards.

She took them to court and the judge gave it to her.

Let that be a lesson to you.

If you ever come across serious “Found” money, hide it like a drug lord and bury it in the yard.

As for phone calls.

There are two categories of auto calls.

The first is crappy businesses.

Carpet cleaners, maid services, auto detailing…etc.

Basically service people.

Due to the Do Not Call Registry, they can’t call the regular residents, but businesses are fair game.

I’ve never used them, but I can see why they do it.

The other category is political calls.

And its an election year.

Both sides are pretty slimy when it comes to this.

The recorded message always sounds like you would expect the narrator for a kiddy porn film to sound, describing all of the evil the other candidate is planning.

It always leaves me feeling like I need a shower.

Sometimes the political call is made by a human being, sort of.

It is usually a retiree, who can read the script.

But, I have noticed that these people are not wired for fun.

And by fun, I mean me screwing with them.

I got a call the other day from an older woman who said her name was Betty and she was calling for Barak Obama, and did I have time to talk.

I thought for a quick second.

I could hear people in the background, so I knew she had to be in a little call center somewhere.

I almost started laughing.

“Betty? I am on my way to where you are at to make calls, too. I think you and I sat together before.”

This went on for 5 minutes, during which, I did the following:

  • Got Betty to save me an open seat.
  • Got Betty to say that she thinks she remembered me from high school.
  • Got Betty to admit that she had been shopping with my wife.
  • Got Betty to find out if there is any decaf from whoever the Supervisor is there.
  • Attempted to explain myself for the 3 seconds the Supervisor before he hung up on me.

That is better than a cup of coffee to perk you up.

I would be ashamed, but when you pick up the phone and call me, you came into my yard to cause trouble.

All bets are off at that point.

 

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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Jumping the shark.

After a long day at work there is nothing more mind numbing than being put in the perfect storm of crap television.

The controller gives you the illusion of control, that is your first mistake.

It starts slow, catching the last 15 minutes of Charlie Sheen’s old show.

Its a good show, one that I like, but I have seen this one in excess of a dozen times.

Somehow, I find myself 20 minutes into Property Virgins.

This property virgins are always a stones throw to 20 years old, and invariably have expectations that no house on the planet can meet, for their meager budget.

I have never seen them before this, and yet I hate the couple with every fiber of my being.

So I change the channel and found myself watching some white-haired Southern lady make a soufle that I would not touch with a ten foot pole.

Its not hell, but you can see it from here.

The next show is a reality show that seems to revolve around a half dozen gay prima donna seamstresses.

Evidently, the contestant that says the least bitchie thing is voted off.

I don’t think it is gay bashing to say that these rotten queens would get their asses kicked in any demographic, gay or straight.

A brief ray of light comes from watching the final 10 minutes of an old episode of MASH.

God, I miss that show.

However, it is soon over and the next show that comes on doesn’t hold my attention for long.

I am comfortable with the fact that I have the attention span of a gnat at time.

Not to offend anyone, but the Golden Girls show sucks so bad that I begin to imagine watching the final episode, the one where they all die.

It would be the highest ratings that the show ever had.

Alan Alder could kick Maude’s ass in a bare knuckle Fight Club match.

And if you understand that reference, you are OLD!

Television imploded about 20 years ago and has sucked ever since.

Or maybe it was just that period of my perspective.

Everything seems better when you are a kid.

I think it is because you don’t pay as much attention as you do as an adult.

Life will do that to you.

Its like my mother’s cooking.

I have teased my mother for decades about her cooking.

And yet I look forward to family dinners at my folks when they happen.

Maybe the crap television is just a metaphor for life.

Grass always being greener and all that.

And yet, while watching a rerun of the Voice, I cannot for the life of me figure out if Christina Aquilara is a hot mess or not.

She has that delightful hot and damaged look to her that makes it hard to look away.

And Cee Lo Green is just plain wierd.

And I cannot sing a note to save my life.

But the odds are against having to.

 

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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

I was released unharmed. Kind of.

My captors don’t give me a lot of information, but that goes with being a hostage.

Their psychological torture techniques are subtle and effective.

I am not sure how much longer I can hold out.

That incessant muzak playing non-stop in the background numbs the mind and you begin to think up things to tell them that they haven’t even asked you.

And then a voice comes onto the line, the recording is bad, a man’s voice, speaking in heavily accented English.

“Thank you for holding, you call will be answered by the next available representative.”

I begin to cry like the broken man that I am.

Such is my life on hold.

There is a problem with my laptop, so I called the toll free 800 number.

And that is were it began.

I know that, in reality, I simply heard a recording and then muzak, but my mind has had a different experience.

First, they kicked in my front door, I ran down the hall, but they tazered me.

A sack was roughly pulled over my head as they dragged me out of the house, and threw me into a vehicle.

It happened so quickly, I really couldn’t fight back.

I realized I was stuck in windowless room with harsh lights and a faint urine smell called “Hold”.

And I have been here for days.

Or 45 minutes, but that clock might be one of their tricky devices.

At some point I became dimly aware of the fact that I have shit myself.

While I wait, I try googling possible fixes on my internet pad.

No dice, I am stuck waiting for my Indian captors to give me their demands.

I am not being reflexively racist, I am simply going by the voice on the recording.

It is morning in Mumbai, India.

It used to be called Bombay, but they changed it for reasons unkown.

You would think that everyone in the call center would be full of energy and cranking thru their morning calls.

Not so.

I loved Slum Dog Millionaire, but that does me no good if I never get a chance to talk to a live human being.

The recorded voice comes on again to tell me that many answers to what they are sure are MY questions are available online.

However, as I cannot connect to the internet, this advice in cruel and belittling.

As I am sure they are aware.

I am not sure who set up their Customer Service process and procedures, but I am sure he is a former German SS researcher who fled to India after the war.

He is known only as the Director and his rage is legendary.

I am purely guessing at this point, but this subtle torture has his feel to it.

They will kill me eventually, dumping my body and defective laptop off in an unknown location.

The line clicks.

Dead line.

They hung up on me!

You rotten bastards!

It is now on like Mumbai Donkey Kong, MF-er!

 

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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

No one is above a beating.

I come from an Irish Catholic family.

And, while its a long story WHY I think its funny-

When you get the idea that giving your Father a copy of the book, “How to beat your Muslim woman”, its best to just let that idea go and don’t act on it.

(That is an actual book, by the way.)

Now, the good news is that I while I was officially asked to leave Barnes and Noble, the manager reversed that order.

With my Dad’s next birthday just a few days away, I didn’t have time to order online.

So I hoofed it to the home of the most unfriendly Starbucks on the planet, Barnes and Noble.

As I approached the Help Desk, I noticed that the clerk was scowling at me.

This woman was old.

And pissy.

I could tell without ever having met her before that she was done with my bullshit.

She woke up that morning already done with my bullshit.

Scurrying around behind her was another clerk.

“Can I help you?”

A friendly sounding phrase, but not when she says it.

“I hope so, I’m looking for a book called ‘How to beat your Muslim woman.’”

She stared at me like I had just shit myself.

I started to feel like maybe I had.

And then she pointed towards the front door.

“Please leave the store.”

“But I-”

“Sir, PLEASE leave the store, now.”

At the accent on the word please, the clerk behind the friendly clerk snapped his head around, and it turns out he is the manager.

“No, no. It’s ok. You don’t have to leave.”

He turned to Madame Sweetness.

“That is an actual book, he’s not causing trouble.”

Then he turned to me.

“That is not a book we carry, sir.”

I decided to go peruse the magazines without delay.

Jeez, the lengths I will go to for a decent birthday gift for my dad.

Its tough being a good son.

However, just the telling of the story at his birthday party was a good substitute.

I consider it an awesome story if more than one person bursts out laughing loud enough that you have to stop talking until they finish.

In the end, I got a much more appropriate gift that my dad really liked, boring, but he liked it.

And my mother forgave me for the idea of getting my father a manual instructing him on how to properly beat her.

It is really a twisted fact that, in my family, this is considered hysterically funny.

Or maybe its a really good thing.

It depends on your culture and traditions.

But, for the record, if your culture and traditions push you into considering that a true book of instruction, you may or may not need to move into a cave.

If this offends you, join the club, dumbass.

Most things offend someone, what makes you so special?

You want to know what I find offensive? At least for today?

Beating your Muslim woman.

 

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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

How stupid do you have to be?

Spam email is like getting the shits.

Its more annoying than anything else, and it sucks when someone else finds out.

I sometimes amuse myself and carefully read the spam email.

I don’t know how it shakes down in your Inbox, but in mine, the overwhelming winner is Porn spam.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Asian women are adorable.

However, Asian teenagers doing some of the most base things I have ever seen. (See also, 2 girls, 1 cup. Ew.)

To get it past the spam filters, the email often has a cut and paste from some sort of literature.

One of my favorites had a paragraph from Dante’s Inferno.

I found that intriguing. The link went to a beastiality website that I didn’t care for.

But I did re-read Inferno again, talk about a twist.

Next up are the emails for the pharmacies.

And Viagra is the coin of the realm.

That and Xanax.

Evidently I am stressed out and impotent.

They are just here to help, I am sure.

But my favorite spam are the ones from Africa.

I am the luckiest man alive when it comes to winning money, getting money.

It just kind of falls out of the sky for me.

In just one weeks time, I had the following happen.

  • I won several lotteries. The UK International lottery, the Microsoft email lottery…etc.
  • I had several separate groups of soldiers that found Saddam Hussein’s secret vault. They want to split the money with me, how cool it that.
  • Several poor, lonely, dying women, all alone in the hospital and they want to leave me all of their millions with their deathbed request that I do good.
  • An even baker’s dozen of lawyers have access to huge amounts of money have contacted me and want to split the cash with me.

The only thing any of these people want from me, the only thing that is standing between me and untold millions is one thing.

They want my bank info.

Seems like such a small thing.

And yet, even small children that read these emails know they are bullshit.

But someone must be falling for this shit.

They call them 419 Scams.

The 419 is the number of the Nigerian penal code that they prosecute the scammers under.

However, I don’t think they are prosecuting anyone over there, because I still get at least 20-30 a week.

And I don’t understand why they don’t spell check the damn things ahead of time.

Wouldn’t that make them seem a little more credible?

Who knows?

Like con men throughout the  ages, they are slick and using the easiest method of separating a sucker from his dollar.

And with millions of emails being sent out, there is bound to be someone stupid enough to fall for this.

Cause that is the one constant in any con.

Someone has to fall for it.

 

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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Don’t waste my time!

The thought of bad service puts a pit in my stomach and makes my butt sweat a little bit.

That is how awful it is to me.

The effeminate term for it is “Pet peeve”, but I hate that word.

I would rather eat crappy food, if it means I get awesome service.

Because, no matter how good the food is, if I never get to the point of tasting it, all I have is the memory of crappy service.

I grew up in a family business, a little burger place.

The whole family, and I come from a large family, has worked there at one time or another.

It was a lot like jury duty, but worse.

You dodge jury duty and you risk a fine.

Blow off the family obligation and you have no where to go on Thanksgiving.

I started working there at age ten.

I was so short, I had to stand on a milk crate in order to take orders and reach the register.

So, when a new place opens up, and I swing by to sample the fair, I find myself confronted with….

This.

Nothing.

I have been standing in line for 10 minutes so far.

There is only one customer in front of me.

He was there when I got here.

And they are not even halfway thru his order, and it doesn’t sound like a big one.

But the thirty-something behind the counter is a shocking combination of dumb and severe ADD.

She has interrupted him three times to mention something about the rain, his shirt and his watch.

I would think she is flirting but the guy ahead of me is about 70 years old.

Although, you never know, she could be a Methuselah chaser.

Now you KNOW that visual is going to linger.

Counter girl is now trying to puzzle out the register.

Watching her trying to master the modern cash register is a lot like watching a monkey fucking a football.

Sure, its amusing for a few minutes, but then it starts to annoy you and it just frustrates the monkey.

I gave it another 5 minutes and then I left.

She never even noticed.

There was however, a guy, roughly the same age, peeking out from the kitchen.

He raised his finger as I passed thru the threshold.

Whatever he said, I never heard it.

Who has that kind of time?

I hate stomping out of someplace in a snit, but dammit, get your shit together, people!

The new place will have to wait for a later date.

Perhaps a time when I have a wide open schedule and I can block out a serious amount of time for Counter Girl’s laborious mental exercise.

Maybe, God forbid, she will figure it out by then.

Till then, I will visit my favorite places.

And there is a damn good reason why they got to be my favorites.

Maybe the secret to becoming a favorite is that they don’t screw up.

The food isn’t wretched and the service doesn’t suck like an insecure date on prom night.

Rude line for a hard wisdom.

Alright, wisdom might be a stretch.

 

 

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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Love is blind, drunk, and dangerous.

Love is blind.

And, on occasion, love is piss drunk and committing crimes.

Let me explain.

When I was in high school, I was never that guy from the teen romantic comedy that fell so deeply in love that she was the end all, be all of my existence.

That was John Cusack. (Say Anything. Badass trench coat.)

I never understood those guys and spent a lot of time making fun of them.

I have been kind of an asshole all along.

But, since I had friends like that, I am acquainted with the species.

I have also been known to secretly enjoy those films. (Lets just keep that between us).

I was thankful that my friends finally grew out of that stage, and we all moved on.

Why, you may ask, am I getting all sappy on you?

Because I am taking a walk.

Sidebar.

The responsible move in writing this blog would be to have the entire week written and posted ahead of time, that way, I can take my time, diligently crafting future blogs much like an old world craftsman pours his heart into his craft.

However, I end up desperately churning these blogs out in the nick of time, continually facing another deadline tomorrow.

I decided to take a walk to the Starbucks down the road, the one across the street from the international hotel I have mentioned before?

I usually cut across their parking lot to get to the highway, it shaves about two thirds of a block off of my walk.

I was halfway across the parking lot when I heard the first puncture.

The sound of a tire being punctured intentionally is a rather specific sound.

Off in the corner of the lot, up against the chain link fence, is a white Nissan Altima, with two flat tires.

The drunk guy in the white t-shirt was making his way to the other side of the car to add to the flat tire tally, when he saw me and smiled.

“Hi.”

I have clearly defined rules about interacting with drunk guys that sound friendly when they say “Hello” and then wave at me with a shiny folding knife.

But, I am stuck with that common problem of mine.

I don’t have a blog for tomorrow.

I know, I am kind of a whore that way.

What the hell.

“Say, ah, what are you doing there?”

That is a great ice breaker, by the way. I am rather proud of it.

“Having a shitty night.”

Hearing him speak makes me revise my estimate of him, he isn’t drunk, he’s shitfaced and armed.

Recipe for bad times.

I decide to keep my distance.

“How come?” I am starting to feel my fight or flight instinct taking the final vote with flight riding a landslide.

He points at the hotel with the knife.

“My girlfriend is in there, having sex with a roomful of guys.”

He says this deadpan, then leans over and stabs the front passenger tire.

I am done here.

I would love to stay and really work this up into a Pulitser prize winning blog, but fuck that noise, he’s nuts.

“All right, have a great night.”

I hot foot it out of there.

When I am a half a block away and now sure that he is not following me, ready to give me a “Colombian necktie”, I begin to feel sorry for him.

One of two things are going on.

The first is that the guy is drunk and jealous and his girlfriend is in the hotel for some perfectly legitimate reason and he is a dangerous drunk.

This is the most likely, to my way of thinking.

However, given the state of this country, number two is possible.

She is in the hotel, having sex with a roomful of guys.

You never know.

She could be doing this as an amateur for kicks, or as a professional whore.

Unless their filming it, and she is an adult film actress.

Which would make this her big break.

Actually, any one of those would be hard for the boyfriend to take, talk about the soul-crusher.

I feel so bad, I almost hesitated when I called the police.

I said almost.

After all, the kid is nuts.

 

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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Uncategorized