Thursday, September 30, 2010

The more things change, the more they really do stay the same.

I've been doing some research lately on a paper I'm preparing for a class. One of the possible topics, which I passed on (because there were so many good ones!), was the portrayal of the family on television over the last 60 years. Over those past 60 years, TV sitcoms have moved from white middle class families (where the father worked, the mother stayed home and took care of the household, and the kids were good kids--they went to school, dressed appropriately, and didn't drink, curse, or have sex) to complete and total dysfunction where the daughters are sluts, the sons are idiots, the fathers are losers and the mother is really the only one in the household with a clue.

Think about the way men are portrayed on television these days. In sitcoms the men are portrayed as idiots, the women are the smart ones. It wasn't that long ago (or maybe it was?) that the men were the head of the household and the women were their meager servants in heels and pearls. I'm not saying that it should still be that way. Of course not. But was it ever really that way? Or was it just portrayed that way because that's what society thought the ideal society was supposed to be like? Maybe the term "good old days" is just relative to the time and place. We think the 1950s was a great time because we're comparing it to the times we live in now. Fifty years from now they'll be talking about now as the "good old days". 

So what this means is that families have always been screwed up. Since day one. The years haven't changed anything!  Mom's really going to love that!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I just love watching NewsRadio, it was one of the best shows on the air. Like so many others I felt a great loss when Phil Hartman died in 1997 because he was really one of the greatest comic talents ever. Of course together as a team, the whole cast rocked. I laugh my ass off with every episode. They just don't make comedies like that anymore.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Facebook is a love/hate thing

I'm pretty good at this research thing. I've been successful at finding dozens upon dozens of elementary school classmates, military friends and extended family (most of whom I'm related to but never met or knew existed!) and they're on facebook with me now. I feel pretty good about having brought so many people together. Old friends are talking because of me, people are sharing memories because of me. Secretly I hate facebook for one reason, there is absolutely NO way to contact a live person for help. But secretly I love it because it's allowed me to find old friends, family and others who I have a connection to who have all contributed in one way or another to the goodness of my life.

If facebook could work two little bugs:  the one where you are unable to report someone who sends a threatening or nasty message and then immediately blocks you (the function to report disappears) and the one where you can't get a hold of a live person in customer service, I could completely love it, openly and honestly instead of secretly! So for now--facebook you SUCK but I do love ya! Just don't make this public ok?  :D

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I am so sick of hearing how all Republicans are this, all Republicans are that. Republicans blocking this, Republicans blocking that. WHATEVER! Of course we all know Democrats NEVER block anything right? They NEVER stand in the way of progress.

For the most part I think all of them up in Washington bite. Thank God I'm an Independent!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I had a dream the other night that my mom told me she never loved me, never cared about me. We were living with mom and dad I think and it came out and I was so very upset, I was just devastated. All those years, she never cared, never loved me. I was so upset I refused to even look at her. I told DH we had to move out. We began looking for a place. Dad was in the dream and he tried to get me to talk to mom but I refused. I was pissed, I was hurt, I was angry. When I woke up of course I knew it was all just a dream, mom really does love me but I cannot even express to you the level of devastation I felt in that dream.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

How is it...

...that the pastor of a church in rural North Central Florida, with a congregation of less than fifty people, can somehow have the power to bring an entire nation and its leadership to fits of mass hysteria over nothing more than burning a book?

Now if only we could get these folks same undivided attention on more important matters?

The way I see it, it's a book, like any other book, like the Bible or the Encyclopedia Brittanica or Black Beauty. It's words on pages between covers.  The meaning behind those words is what's most important and if you believe the words, it means they're in your heart and nobody can ever take that away. Book burning of any kind sucks but it's just a book. I can't believe that an idiot burning a book in rural north central Florida had this kind of power over this nation. One part of me is disgusted, the other part is laughing. I pity the fool!

Sure, Terry Jones and his congregation of sheeple are idiots.  But the bigger idiots here are the press. This is what happens on a slow news day. If it weren't for the media's desperation for a story, few people would know or care about this issue. There would be no issue. It would be just another Saturday with some fool whackjob burning a book. How is that news? It's not. Does anyone really care what Terry Jones and his sheeple think?  Hell, certainly there are people out there more deserving of our attention, no?

Is this whole media-hype thing surprising? No. I mean damn, it's the same press that touts Lindsey Lohan's release from jail and Paris Hilton's arrest for cocaine possession as "Breaking News".


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A one-woman "A-Team"

I feel like this is an appropriate title because I'm a person who knows how to get things done. I thrive on taking on the asshole and helping "the little guy".

Take for instance this latest bit...

Grams has been a customer of Discover Card for nearly 20 years. At 93, she still maintains excellent credit, has always paid her bills on time and never missed a payment ever.  When she applied for her Discover Card years ago, it was very popular with low interest rates. Grams never carried a large balance, at first paying it off completely, then opting for more affordable monthly payments. She stopped using the card about ten years ago just because she was tired of the credit card altogether. Her balance ten years ago was probably $1,500.00

Some time in the last couple of years, Discover began jacking up her rates for no reason. Grams called and spoke to the customer no-service but they gave her the familiar "there's nothing we can do about it". Now being the talk-radio, consumer savvy person I am and having listened to both Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey for years, I knew there was damn well something they could do--if they wanted to. I suggested grams call them and ask the customer no-service person if they would review her credit history and consider a lower rate. She was already up to over 20%. They repeatedly told her "there's nothing we can do" and after being rather rude to her they hung up. Disgusted she finally said "I'm not paying those bastards anymore" and after she skipped one or two payments out of pure anger.

As you can guess, customer no-service harassed her about not making her payment. When she explained to them her long and excellent credit and payment history, she related to them in no uncertain terms that she would no longer pay because they were treating her like crap. Their reps had been extremely rude, made threads and hung up on her several times. Finally, after one more call to them, she reached a nice customer no-service person and was able to get her rate temporarily lowered  to 10% for a short-time till she could catch up the one or two payments she had skipped.

But after that time period her interest rate skyrocketed over 20% again.

And then she received a statement in the mail showing her interest rate had jacked up to 45%.  She said "I'm through with those bastards, they can choke on it" and that's when I decided to get involved. It was clear to us that Discover reps were intentionally mean and intimidating because of her age and gender.

So, this past Saturday, 9/4, I was sitting in my comfy recliner with feet up and netbook in my lap. My only goal at that moment was to send a letter to David Nelms, the 49-year old CEO of Discover Card Services.  In five minutes I had found him on facebook, in six minutes I found his entire bio and email online, and ten minutes after I sat down I had typed out a well-written, to-the-point email about my grandmother's situation.  I told him that she was a 93-year old widow on social security who had an excellent credit and payment history with every one she'd ever done business with and that she had been treated very badly by people at HIS company. I informed him that after paying on that card 20 years SURELY she had already paid off that very small debt and any reasonable interest.  I then explained that I did not expect him to reply to me directly because after all I did not have her account number because only four numbers were visible on her statement and I didn't even know if I was still listed on her account as an authorized inquirer (it's been so long since I've talked to them). I just asked him if he could contact her and help her in this situation.

Today, three days after sending that email, I received a phone call at work from Grams. She told me that the CEO had received my email and asked his assistant Tara to call grams and take care of things. Grams said Tara was so nice to her and very helpful. She had looked over grams file and acknowledged grams hasn't used her card in about ten years and that she was paying appallingly high interest. She apologized for the treatment grams had received and to make things right, they lowered her rate permanently to 9%, lowered her monthly payments to $40 with no chance of increasing, and gave her a 1 1/2 years credit of payments on her balance. This took her balance immediately from $2,500 to about $1,100. And she gave grams her direct number in case either of us needed any help from her.

Grams was thrilled, as was I.  I'd always told grams that if you can't get customer service at the customer service level, go straight to the head honcho. I've done it a half dozen times in the last ten years and got satisfaction nearly every time. I've written to Charlie Ergen at Dish Network, the VPs of Sprint and AT&T, and a few other companies and gotten what I wanted--what I should have received at the lower levels. This is what I do--I solve problems. I do it for a living at work and I guess it seems only natural I'd be good at it at home too.

So just remember, if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find her, maybe you can hire....the (one-woman) A-Team!