Monday, November 21, 2011

It seems that your organization, like so many others in this fine country really miss the point of things. You allow people to create petitions on your website and then send those petitions out via email to thousands and thousands of people to sign. You do this under the impression that you are going to "change our world."

Let's set the record straight on a few things here:
Target wants to be open on Thanksgiving evening (In MN) and one of your participants started a petition to gripe about this change of hours and attempt to change Target's schedule to be closed on Thanksgiving evening. I see this morning that this petition has 189,000 signatures. Remember this: Work is work and is not always on anyone's preferred schedule. Work is not always when it's convenient for you. Right now there are about 14 million people in this country looking for a job. Well, I suppose it's fair to say that at least MOST of these people are looking for a job. In my opinion Target employees (and friends/family), if you don't want to work the hours that your store is open, don't show up. There are 14 million people that would like to have a job and would probably jump at the chance to have yours. As an employer, I have wonderful employees because they do NOT bitch about working some crappy hours now and then because they know that it is just part of having a job and being a responsible adult. If my employees started a petition and refused to work on Thanksgiving evening, I would encourage then to find a new job. In this economy, I could wish them luck. I mean, they would only be in competition with 14 million other people. Let's spell that out again for the cheap seats...14 MILLION people are out of work an you (Target employees and their friends/families) are complaining about some shit hours on a holiday?!? Can't buy a lot of presents for Christmas when you are unemployed, can you?!? I hate to say this again because I say it all the time. To everyone that has a job: Shut up. Go to work. Do your job. Be thankful you have a job at all.

Another recent topic at "We're willing the battle against high credit card fees!" Just so you understand REALITY, your elected government has changed regulations for credit card companies the last few years in a row. A couple years back, the government changed the amount of interest and charges that could be compiled on your credit account if you don't pay your bill. Let's let this sink in for a second and truly understand what these regulations are doing. Since you are NOT smart enough to manage your own credit account and found yourself in financial peril, the government will now try to "save" you from the banks you borrowed money from. Aside from the FACT that you agreed to pay the banks back and agreed to specific terms in regards to them extending credit to you, you are still not smart enough to handle it and the government had to step in to "save" you. Since the government has regulated the banks out of making money in this area and has changed the rules in how the banks can make money in other areas, the banks have decided to charge you a fee to use their card and credit services. As a owner of a retail shop, I know all about paying bank fees. In my better card terminals, I pay $.15 per card swipe and 1.5% on each dollar. This is just a cost of doing business for me. For the consumer using a Discover card, Discover gets to money to "pay you back" from me in the form of and increased transaction fee (3.5%). This $5 per month fee the banks want to charge you is CHEAP to use their very secure (and with zero liability for fraudulent use on your part), reliable, and convenient system. What service they give you for so little money! What are you people thinking? How could you protest and petition this? Five dollars a month is a cheap fee for you to have the convenience of instant, secure, risk free money all the time. These banks do not want to lose money on your debt or your business. These banks cannot lose money on your debt because their shareholders and investors cannot afford it. Your debt cannot be made into somebody else's responsibility. Since the government stepped in on your behalf, this is the result. The government has created these regulations because YOU cannot manage your own credit and YOU cannot pay your bills in a timely fashion. Because of YOUR lack of responsibility, the government has regulated the banks into not making money. So, now they want to charge you and upfront fee for their services? Good for them. For what they have to offer, 5 dollars a month is an absolute bargain. Again: Shut up and pay your damn bills. Realize that there isn't anything free in this country. For the secure service the banks give you, their fee is not only fair, but cheap.

Today the folks at emailed me about the corruption in our park systems by complaining that Coke donated $13 million dollars. Then, when the parks department decided to ban plastic bottles and Coke asked them not to ban them, they didn't put on the ban. This is really wrong on many levels. I know a lot of people love to hate big companies despite the fact that they use products from these companies all of the time. But, for the petitioners that suggest that Coke's donation of $13 million to the park system was a bribe maybe you could consider that $13 million dollars goes a long way in maintaining parks. Maybe you should consider that it isn't Coke's fault if people throw plastic bottles all over the park. It is all about personal responsibility. PEOPLE throw trash all over the park, not Coke. I go to parks all summer long and I not only see pop bottles and trash, but I also see dirty diapers. Did the people at petition to ban babies or children from all of the parks because the babies and small children wear diapers? I think not. But really, if you think about it, it's the same thing. People throw used diapers in the woods, not Huggies. This is just like people throw pop bottles into the Grand Canyon, not Coke or Pepsi. Think about it. When will you people become hip to the idea that there HAS to be personal responsibility in this world? At some point, individuals need to be held accountable for what individuals do. This would be a big departure from the mentality the folks at have now where they are under the impression that it's government's job to punish everyone for the actions of a few. This mentality that we need to be protected from ourselves eliminates our freedoms and our right to make our own choices. It also creates a generation of people that CAN'T think for themselves.

By the way, companies like Target, Coke, and Pepsi are not the bad guys.  These companies donate millions and millions of dollars to many,many different wonderful causes and organizations in this country.  Remember this FACT before you try to run their name through the mud.  What have YOU done?

Sorry, You missed. Then, you missed again. Then, you missed. I have emailed you my views on these topics and I patiently wait for your response. But, I am sure you will not grant me one.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Taxes? Entitlement?

I have opinions about things.  Many things. I watched a video on today and the man interviewed was a very bright, intelligent man but he had some misguided views.

One of the things I have an opinion about is this bombardment of entitlement mentality that I have seen everywhere in this country since the economy has come to a halt.  Let's get one thing completely entirely perfectly straight here:  It isn't your money.  None of it is.  You might argue and think it is, but it is not.  You might have all sorts of reasons why it should be, and your reasons are probably rational and morally correct, but it still isn't your money.  It sucks.

Even though you paid your money into the government, you have elected officials that have the rights BY LAW to decide what to do with said money.  So, despite your current financial situation and despite all of your complaints and grumbling, the government's money (although it USED to be yours) is no longer your money.  You elected people that took this money from you and you have trusted them in spending wisely for you on things that you may want or need at some time.  As it is for now, the federal government has given your money away, most of your children's money, and some of your children's children's money.  So, consider this fact before you raise your hand like a 3rd grader that needs to use the bathroom and ask the government for your money back.  They don't have it.  Plain and simple.  The government has spent all of your money taking care of those who elected them and those that could bolster the highest level of public approval from being helped.  So, before you ask and think that you deserve some money or that you have some money coming from the government, realize that you don't and they don't have it anymore.  The officials you elected have taken your money and given it to somebody other than you.  But, all in all, that's what you wanted them to so when you elected them (equality for all Americans, right?), anyway.  So, success.

The idea that higher taxation of any segment of our society solves any of our long term problems is laughable.  You know what that reminds me of?  It's a friend trying to help out another friend that drinks too much by paying his bar tab.  I think Glenn Beck came up with that.  It's a great analogy of what's going on here.  There is NO solution to excess debt that is more effective than cutting spending.  That's the best idea for recovery and it is the only reliable, sound idea.  Since taxation is based on consumption and on economic activity, it cannot be deemed a reliable source of proposed income since the government cannot control the rate of spending by consumers (yet). 

Let me give you an example from the fine State of Minnesota.  Minnesota decided that smoking is bad (m'kay).  So, the State raised the tax on cigarettes drastically with hopes that the extra cost of cigarettes will make people want to quit and also generate scads of income that they (the State) can use to pay for all sorts of other beneficial things (to be fair, one thing was health care for smokers since they have much larger health risks).  Not too bad of a plan, eh?  Well, then they did it.  The result?  Lots of smokers quit and many others started buying their tobacco online or buying raw tobacco and rolling their own cigarettes (since these were exempt for the additional tax).  So, a successful plan?  Not really, since after the initial financial shock people that wanted to smoke regardless of anything still smoked and many of them just became more and more creative with how they were going to accomplish it.  So many smokers quit smoking or found other means to smoke that the level of money that the State planned on getting in for these new programs never came and they fell short of their budget for the programs associated with the tobacco taxation.  What did the State of Minnesota do?  They raised the tax more to try to cover their budget shortfalls.  Then what happened?  More people quit smoking, bought cigarettes out of state, bought cigarettes online, or grew tobacco at home (no kidding... I know 2 people that do it).  So, what happened then?  The state STILL fell short of their budget because the people don't WANT to pay so much tax.  This went on and on and continues today.  A successful plan? No. 

Any time you expect the government to tax another sect of society be it businesses, the super rich, or whoever to make things better for you, be prepared to pay this same level of tax money yourself.  Once the government has permission and law that says they can tax one group of people at a high rate, be prepared for them to pass laws that allow them to tax ALL people at a higher rate.  If the government cannot reel in the spending, it is purely just a matter of time before they come after your money, too.  Think about it.  This is a pivotal idea and an important one to consider.

Nobody wins with tax income based on consumption because as Americans, we come from a long line of innovators and free thinkers.  We are bright and creative.  We will find a way to do what we want and be able to afford it.  Plain and simple.  It is too bad we waste this creativity on finding ways to afford to smoke cigarettes rather than use it for something that could benefit others.

If you are an advocate of higher taxation for the rich or companies, realize that their money is not your money.  If you have been evicted from your home, these people did not force you to buy it.  If you have huge student loans, these people did not force you to take them out.  If you lost your job and then lost your home and cars, life is horrible for you but it is still your fault.  I'm very sorry, but it is.  If you planned poorly for your financial future (as most of us did) it is OUR OWN fault.  We need to own this responsibility.  It is ours and ours alone.

Taxing one group of society at a higher rate to pay our bills is nothing more than stealing.  Also, as far as retail goes, you can tax the companies at a higher rate and they will pay it with your dollar.  Every time.  Each time.  They will be forced to inflate the cost of their goods to offset the higher tax, and who do you suppose will pay that tax?  YOU.  Me.  All of us will pay it every single time we buy anything.  So, you want to be cocky and not give them an inflated rate?  Simple. Buy imported goods and further deflate our own economy.  There is no way around this and it takes a fool to not understand this.

The flat tax idea is a great one, but it will have a hard time getting into practice in this country because those of you that think that people with more money than you are not paying their fair share will have to pay your fair share for the first time ever.  What would that be like?  You can argue with me if you like, but what I am saying is true.  If we get a flat tax rate in this country for the first time in our lives taxes will be fair for all.  But, those of you that don't pay any taxes in now (and seem to have many great plans on how to spend the money that belongs to others) will have to pay.  It is an exciting idea.

Plain and simple, the only people we can be mad at for most any of this go to work in Washington.  They spent your Social Security.  They spent your tax money on programs that may or may not have helped you.  Flat out, they spent your money. Now, they don't know what to do to pay the bills they have created.  So, they have demonized success, wealth, and innovation in this country to try to gain support from a disheartened and hurting public.  They use your financial ruin and hardship as steam to power their train.  They propose legislation based on ideas that came out of misery, and as Americans many of us are so beaten down by it all, we are agreeing.  Do not let them pollute you with this. You want to make a difference?  Take away their jobs.  Vote them out.  Become educated about who you are voting for before you vote and pick candidates not based on nostalgia or emotion, pick them out of their ability to do their job.  Pick them out of what they can do for all of us and America, not just based on what they can do for you short term.  If they fail, vote THEM out and find the next candidate for the job.

Think, people.  I am not always correct about all the things I think and say, but this is how I see it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday afternoon comin' down...

Does this make any sense?

You circle the parking lot at the mall 352 times to try to find a close parking spot (almost getting into a brawl with the woman waiting for the open spot you stole).  Then, you park and proceed to walk around the mall all day.  What?  This makes zero sense.  I see this silly shit and I shake my head in wonder.  What do people really think?  Are they robbing the place and need to make a quick getaway?  Do they think their car is safer next to the building (It IS a great place to get door dinged because of the congestion)?  This silly behavior also applies to outside concerts/festivals and sporting events for the most part.  If you aren't in a wheel chair or using a walker, toughen up, take the first readily available parking spot and walk on in.  If you aren't handicapped already, walking is a great exercise to keep you from becoming handicapped.  If sloth doesn't make you handicapped, you could end up that way from the brawl over a parking space.

Passing lanes are made for passing.  Passing lanes are NOT made for the slow leading car to speed up to ten miles per hour over the speed limit for the duration of the passing lane, only to slow back to ten miles per hour below the speed limit when the road necks back down into two lanes.  This drives me crazy.  I am usually the "crazy" guy passing everyone going about 120 mph because I KNOW that once it becomes two lanes again, one of the cars in front of me is just waiting to piss me off by drastically slowing down.  Then, if I tailgate, they hit the brakes as some sort of "warning" that I should BACK OFF AND GIVE THEM ROOM even though they are going 47 mph in a 55.  Seriously.  If you aren't passing, stay to the right.  Period.  If you are passing, move your ass and permit others to pass, too.  Then, move to the right.  If I was a cop, I would ticket you people for erratic driving for slowing down too much post passing lane. 

Bakery goods made with artificial sweeters are downright insulting.  Seriously.  I have seen these "diet" rolls and baked goods a few times.  Why would anybody want this?  I can understand the diabetic argument all day long.  I get that.  When I see non diabetic people looking for a low calorie cinnamon roll, I really wonder what is wrong with them.  Let's get something straight here.  No matter how much sugar is sweetening up a sweet roll, it still has no real food value.  About 150% of the carbs (read:sugar) you need for the day baked right into it because of the choice of flour and other ingredients.  It is not going to be a healthy choice for you no matter what, so why wouldn't you just take your few extra calorie lumps, shut up, and eat the fucking thing.  You don't go the bakery's sweet roll area looking for healthy things to eat.  Don't kid yourself.  You go there to be a glutton and ram 4000 calories of sweetened, sugary bread into your month.  So, skip the diet rolls.  Skip the artificial sweeteners.  If you want to save calories, watch what you put into your coffee.  Leave the sugary breakfast foods out of it.

It is supremely silly to drive fifteen miles to save two cents per gallon on gas.  This is silly in many ways.  First off, unless you are going that way in the first place, you burn more dollars worth of gas than you could ever save by driving there to get it.  I would think in this day and age, people would realize this, but they still do not.  Supposing that the average gas purchase is ten gallons, be driving the extra distance to save two cents a gallon, you would have saved twenty cents.  Can you drive 30 miles (fifteen each way) for twenty cents?  Let's do some simple math:  If your car gets 30 miles per gallon and you drive 30 miles to get gas and that gas costs $3.50 per gallon, it cost you $3.50 to get the gas just in fuel costs.  You would have to also factor in tire wear, other vehicle wear and also your time (I hope you time is worth something to you.  If it isn't, I have a house to paint and a lot of other shit you can do for me).  So, a twenty cent savings seems a little silly unless your car gets well over 200 miles per gallon (still like two cents a mile fuel cost) and floats on air (so the tires and brakes don't wear out) and your time is completely useless (in which case, the paintbrushes and ladder are in the garage).  Not only is there a very, very limited potential for money savings, there is also the loss of convenience factor that play into it.  If you don't buy local and your local businesses close (due to lack of sales) then you have earned the privilege to drive fifteen miles away to buy what you need.  Think about it.  I know in our minds now we have a mentality that "it all adds up" as far as money goes.  This is true thinking except it adds up very, very slowly when it comes to gas.  The cost of gas is a significant bill, but in the scale of $3.50 per gallon, two cents or even a nickel is almost an insignificant amount of money.  You want to save money?  Skip the $5 coffee for breakfast.  You save more right there than you could save in many, many tanks of gas.

I hate to sound crazy all the time, but no, I didn't see the new commercial (that was funny) for whatever product on television.  Why?  Because I don't have network television.  I don't have cable at home.  Seriously.  I have a television to watch movies on and I have Netflix On Demand, but I do not have any other sort of television service.  I am not willing to pay for it because it is 99% trash.  Sorry, I missed the Bud Light ads at the Super Bowl and the Geico ads during the Nascar race.  I cannot bring myself to ever watch another minute of Two And A Half Men because although at some point in my life that might have been funny, it is total shit for my kid to watch.  It is eye pollution.  It is brain pollution.  I don't mean to get all preachy or anything because I don't really give a crap what you chose to do in your house, but in my house I think television is immoral and creates a poor view of reality for our kids.  Also, it seems like the really, really racy shows get the best ratings and they are constantly trying to top the last big doozy (Had to look up "doozy."  I have said it a thousand times, but never had to spell it.) they pulled off and our kids watch this crap and emulate it in their lives.  Our kids think it is normal behavior.  Our kids think it is okay.  Our kids think "everybody does it."  It seems like even the commercials are all full of half naked women and men, too.  There are shows about being 16 and having kids.  There are shows where the main "hero" characters do little other than look cool sleeping with other people's wives and husbands.  Almost each week a professional athlete (This truly is in all sports) is busted in some way doing something pathetic, illegal and immoral.  I think characters with integrity don't do well in the ratings on television, so they don't exist anymore.  I think since cable exploded a few years ago, network television will do whatever it can to attract and keep viewers.  Don't tell me that I can't keep my kid from that stuff because unfortunately, I know you are correct.  But, that still isn't acceptable to me.  I still have to try.  It is still my job to raise my kid, not the television networks.  Hopefully my definition of right and wrong will be to her understanding.  Hopefully she will learn integrity from me and carry that in her life. 


I wonder about this world we live in.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Want a Job?

I was thinking about the employment situation in our fine country. Just so we are clear:

If you are unemployed, you will have a hard time finding work because there aren't many new jobs.

There aren't any new jobs because there is little job growth in this country.

There is little job growth in this country because of all the regulations (See: Big government) and the lack of consumer demand for products that aren't inexpensive (See:China).

Since you have less or little money to spend on anything because you are on a limited income or unemployment (since you can't find a job), you become thrifty in your spending and may purchase less expensive, imported products.

When you buy imported products, you further deflate demand for services and products built in this country further slowing the creation of new jobs.


If you are unemployed, you will have a hard time finding work because there aren't many new jobs.

So, be aware that companies like Walmart (92% imported goods) are the ones keeping you from long term prosperity and employment. It is a circle.

When you are a skilled worker and are on unemployment, the rate of pay may not (almost surely not) be enough for you to live on.

If you choose to do side work "for cash" to supplement your unemployment benefits, you are able to do skilled labor more cheaply then others in your field since you don't have a license, insurance, or pay any taxes.

If you take potential jobs away from tax paying legitimate employers in your field, those employers decrease their staff and do no new hiring.

When employers do no new hiring, you have a harder time gaining employment, since employers have lost their potential work to people working "for cash" because those people can do the work for a lesser charge.


When you are a skilled worker and are on unemployment, the rate of pay may not (almost surely not) be enough for you to live on.

But, what are you supposed to do?  

Maybe we should start by buying American and using our money to reinvest in our own country like our parents and grandparents did.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Recently I decided to sell one of my cars on Craigslist since I pay insurance on 6 vehicles and I am the only one that drives in my household.  I love the car, but I really just don't NEED it.  So, I wrote an ad for Craigslist locally and got some strange responses.  Well, I got ridiculous responses.  It truly is proof positive that people in this country don't bother reading or can't.  Also, I am now CERTAIN that Craigslsit is the Walmart flee market of online sales sites.  Anyway, here's my ad followed by a few of the responses I got:

Tired of driving a minivan or your mother's weenie Volkswagon? Check this car out.

For Sale: 2006 Dodge Charger R/T.

It has:
5.7 Liter HEMI V8
Automatic (Autostick) Transmission
Multi disc CD player
Power Seats
Heated Seats
Upgraded Engine Programming from Dodge
Magnaflow Exhaust
Cold Air Intake
120XXX miles
Clear title
Needs nothing other than your butt in the driver's seat.

The car is black with a black leather interior.

Car gets 24ish MPG and should have 375 HP with the performance upgrades.

This car runs and drives like it is new. I bought the car from an Amsoil dealer and the car has had nothing but premium synthetic oil since new. Interior is very, very nice. Do not let the miles scare you away.

For the $11,000 you will get the car and also another set of snow tires for it that have about 3000 miles on them.

It looks wicked. It's fast. It's fun.

DISCLAIMER (*updated*): I know it isn't a requirement to read the whole ad here, but I have had about 30 calls/emails offering me $4000 and up or a trade for some decorative rock and your Jet Ski (that doesn't run, but did at one time) among other things. Let's get one thing perfectly crystal clear: If you don't have any money or an Indian Chief to trade me, please just go on the the next ad and leave me alone. I don't want your decorative rock. I don't want your Bobcat, your 1978 Mustang, your Lincoln LS or your 2003 Tahoe. I am not a bank. I am not interested in financing you no matter what the terms might be. I would never consider letting you take the car and make payments to me. Never. Let's get that in here again for the cheap seats: NEVER. I don't want your lowball cash offer when you haven't even seen the car. If you can't afford this car, please don't waste my time and yours. I don't want anything on trade besides MAYBE an Indian Chief or money. This is a nice car that I own and I do not NEED to sell it. I am NOT desperate and willing to sell it for a third of what it is worth. I am not getting divorced, hurting for cash or trying to save my home. I know a lot of people selling things are in that reality right now and I was too, but I am not anymore. I have priced this car well below KBB and NADA values for a quick sale. If you aren't able to pay this amount or could only pay half or a third of this amount (and trade me for your neighbor's lawnmower and some bird houses or whatever else you can dream up) please do not bother contacting me. So, serious inquiries only PLEASE, okay? Thank you. ;)

$11,000 FIRM

Cash or possible trade for Indian Chief only. Email only now since my cell phone has been abused by tire kicking wasters of my time. Sorry. I will answer emails promptly.

Thanks for looking.

Here are some of the responses I got:

From "Joe:"

interested in 06 lincoln ls>>

95xxx miles
silver/chrome pillars
heated and cooled leather
tinted windows..

Response:  I would take your trade if the car has $11,000 or and Indian Chief in the glove box.  What do you think?

From "Hank:"

Interested in trading for a 1972 mustang convertible??

Response: I would take your trade if the car has $11,000 or and Indian Chief in the glove box. What do you think?

From "Oscar:"

Hey buddy do u still have the charger 4sale ? If so I want 2 offer u $8000 cash what do u think ?

Response:  Haha.  No. 

Oscar: Haha y?

Response: It's already 3 grand below book.   How about $14,000?

Oscar: Why more?

Response: Because if you are willing to go up $3000 and I am willing to go down $3000 we can settle on $11,000.


From "Easyrider:"

Trade for a Bobcat 463 skidsteer with grapple bucket and only 384 hours?

Response:  Sounds great!  As long as you also trade me $11,000!  What do you say?


From "Brandon:"

Would u trade for my 85 cutlass I got it listed on CL for 27,000 but will do a straight out trade for ur charger if interested!

Response: If it has $11,000 cash in the glove box, yes. If not, no. ;)

From "Brandle:"

Yo you should definitely call me 347-225-9817. 100 % pure A big heads up.

Response:  Yo! You should definitely email me with your questions, 100% pure big heads up!


From "Marcus:"

I want to trade with you and the rest I'll pay with cash on the spot.

Response:  What do you want to trade?

[Crickets chirping]


From "Jake:"

I am interested in your 06 Charger. If the vehicle is still available, please contact me at 763-354-XXXX. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

Response:  *I called him.  He's a dealer that wants to consign my car.  He emails me a couple times a week to tell me how he could easily sell my car, but I need to give it to him to "show" people.  So, just so we are clear, he wants me to give him my car to drive for a couple months so he can sell it.  Seriously.  Where does it say in my listing that I want to give you my car to drive so you can sell it for me?  WTF?!?*


From "Hoppen:"

where is the car located? what kind of gas mileage does it get?

Ever been in a wreck? any thing else about it.

Response: These things are all in the listing. All of the answers you seek are in the ad.


From "Whitney:"

Would you do a payment plan over 2 months time?

Response:  No.  I will not finance. Will you take a reading course and apply your new skills to my ad?


From "Jose:"

Hey names Jose would you take 9000 cash

Response: Hard to make an offer on a car you have never seen, isn't it?

Jose: Haha yea but have you sold it

Response: Nope.  I still have the car.  I haven't been contacted by anyone that has actual real money yet.


From "Hank:" (AGAIN)

Interested in trading for a 1972 mustang convertible??

Response:  No.  Still no.  No.


From "Celania:"

What kind of CAI do you have in your charger? Would you be willing to sell it separate from the car? If so, how much?

Response:  Yes!  I would LOVE to sell it.  Nothing like parting out a car I am trying to sell.  Would you like the driver's seat and perhaps the left rear taillight?  I am only asking $11,000 for the CAI, but I will throw all the rest of this stuff in as well as some other parts (the whole car) to sweeten up the deal for you.  What do you think?

You have to love Craigslist.  You have to be impressed with the brilliance of many of the people that shop there....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

To pay for TV...

I recently..well in the last couple months decided that I no longer need cable or television at all. This isn't some strange cult thing, I just see no need to pay for a service that I rarely use and quite frankly think is pretty depressing to watch.  Also, I prefer to spend my time being active versus sitting on my ass.  Anyway, I cancelled the service and paid all remaining bills I had and then returned my equipment.  A month or so after I received an email from them saying all of my equipment was returned in good condition, I received another bill from the company.  I am protesting it.  Here it is:


This is in regards to account # 8255 11 024 00140

I cancelled my service a couple months ago and paid via credit card for all outstanding charges. In fact, I overpaid. You refunded me my overpayment.

Today I got another bill in the mail from your company for a "receiver return" fee. I am certain that this bill must be in error since I returned all of the equipment that I ever got from you as per instructed (and in a timely fashion) and I received an email confirming that everything was returned in good condition.

I am not willing to pay this bill without explanation. It seems that this bill is just another way to get $15 and some sales tax from me. I tried to call and have this bill explained to me, but the customer service line is nothing more than 25 minutes of automated menu nonsense. So, I called the sales line and "ta da!" I got a real, live person right away. I am unwilling to sit on hold and got through countless menus of automated service to try to correct a bill that I think is a mistake.

So, explain this to me. Or, just correct this incorrect bill and say thanks for the many, many years I paid your company for television.

I appreciate your attention in this matter.


Brad Miller


Dear Mr. Miller,

Thank you for taking time to contact us.

We understand your concern. The customer agreement that you signed upon starting service with DISH states that customers are responsible for the return of leased receivers when disconnecting service. The label included on the box that you will receive is at a discounted price and will cost you significantly less than if you opted to ship the equipment back on your own. If you choose to use the label, you will be charged a flat $15.00. If you choose to use your own shipping method and box to return the receiver, you will not be invoiced for this fee. If you return the equipment before the end of your last billing cycle, you’ll see that fee included on your final invoice.

If you wish to discuss any points we have not clarified or need any further information, please call our Customer Service Center toll-free number at 1-800-894-9131. You can also visit to start a live chat with a customer service representative so we may further assist you. Our DISH Network representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help answer any questions you may have.

Thank you for your e-mail.


Darrel G. – CN1
DISH Network eCare


Dear Darrel G. – CN1

I appreciate your response.

Just so I understand this correctly. Via email and telephone I was informed that I was being sent return packaging and a label for my convenience and the safety of the receivers and remotes that I was returning, correct? After you sent these out and since I used them, I am being charged for their use?

If this is the case, can I have the box sent back to me? If I have paid $15 for a box and a label that your company mailed out for my convenience, at this time I think it would be more convenient for me to have said box since I am not sure that any other time in my life I have seen a box that is worth $15.

If I had just thrown the box away, I would not have gotten charged? What happens to the box then? Is the label reusable?


Brad Miller

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for taking time to contact us.

We understand your situation. Please contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-894-9131 and they can better assist you with your concern or by visiting the link below to chat live with a customer service representative.

Thank you for your e-mail.


Darrel G. – CN1
DISH Network eCare

Dear Darrel G. – CN1,
The reason for my first email to you was because I had just spent a good portion of my morning on the phone with an automated menu service that was unable to do anything for me other than cause frustration and elevate my blood pressure to levels only normally reserved for people attempting to fly into space with a homemade craft.

Please reread the first email I sent you. I can wait.


[still waits]

[waits even longer]

[Tom Waits]

Okay. So, do you understand where I am coming from as far as returning to phone support goes? I really have zero interest in wasting my time on hold with your automated system or with a customer service representative that cannot help me with my problem (READ: Sales department since that's the only line that has a LIVE person on it).

So please just credit my account for the $15 or return the box to me and I will pay for it. Be sure if you are returning the box to me that you return the box I used and no other. I do not want to have you accidentally give me somebody else's $15 box. I will know my box when I see it as I put a special, secret mark on it.


Brad Miller


Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for taking time to contact us.

We will credit your account for the charges..

Thank you for your e-mail.


Darrel G. – CN1
DISH Network eCare

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More good ol' Barry...

"By the fall, there was talk that the crisis wasn't as bad as feared and that the Gulf might recover sooner than expected. Then soaring oil prices came to the company's rescue, boosting its bottom line..."

It's truths like this that make the President going on TV saying he's looking for "asses to kick" ridiculous. Seems our government's involvement in "safer and environmentally friendlier" drilling methods via lack of drilling permits and drilling bans actually rewarded BP. Since the drilling ban and limited issuance of permits, crude oil prices have soared and this is directly making billions of dollars of profits for all oil companies including BP. So, at the rate they are at, BP will have recouped ALL losses from the lost Horizon rig within a few years. Sure makes Obama's "ass kicking" monetary fine to "teach BP a lesson" seem silly, yes? Did the Obama administration know that BP was going to be making huge money this year? Well, they are foolish at best if they didn't. Free markets are controlled by supply and demand. If the government hinders the supply, prices will increase because of increased demand. Was this an under the table deal? Who knows? One thing is for sure, though. Pretty tough to keep blindly following the Obama way when it is constantly wrought with failure, lack of foresight, outrageous spending, and lack of understanding of simple economics.

If anyone wants to complain about high gas prices, they should be thankful they voted for Obama (if they did). If you are an Obama supporter, you are now just beginning to get what you wanted so badly. Also, in the next few years with increased taxes, reduced value of the dollar, and drastically higher food costs, you will get another full serving of Obama goodness.  I suppose I should also mention the lack of private sector economic growth we will have in this country due to the passage of Obamacare.

Hats off to our government. Bang up job on "kicking asses," Barry.  You really showed BP who's boss.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What do we need?

I recently traveled to New Zealand from my home of fabulous Minnesota, U.S.A. People told me before I left that this was "the trip of a lifetime" and that I would come back "a changed man." I hate to admit that they were right, but they really were. It was an amazing trip. I did come back a changed man in many ways, so the people were right.

After my beautiful fiance and I landed over there, I relearned a few things that I had forgotten. I was exposed to ideas that I hadn't considered for many years. My eyes were closed when I left, but upon departure from that lovely little island, I felt like my eyes were open for the first time in years. It was a good feeling. It was grand.

I decided to write about one of the quirky things I realized whilst on said adventure.

Being without a mobile phone is scary, but liberating. To be completely honest with you, I haven't been without a mobile device of some sort for years and years. I would guess that I have had one with me since they were first available in my area of Minnesota. I suppose it was the early 1990's. I never really knew what life would be like without it. I have been a long time defender of my many reasons for having it near me at all times. I think we all have reasons, don't we? My reasons were things like that I want my daughter to always be able to reach me. Also, I am self employed, so what if something happens at work? What if they need to ask me a question? What if they have an emergency? I think these are not outlandish reasons to carry a phone, by any means. Aside from that, in the last few months I had upgraded to a "smart" phone not realizing that this one "smart" step would slide me further into mobile phone reliance than any step prior. I think it may have made me more reliant on mobile service than all other steps in that direction I had taken up until this point. It is am amazing little device. It has fast internet. It has GPS with phone numbers for your destination built right in. It has the ability to play music, stream live internet music, and text at the same time. It is, in a word, incredible. It is a curse. I think it is a very bad evil.

This reliance on mobile service has it's very own drawbacks. Before I left on my adventure, I called my mobile provider and I asked them about service options internationally. I was assured that my phone would work as normal, but that it was much more expensive to use it in a foreign land. Fine. I thought that was okay as long as it worked as it did here in the U.S. When we landed in Christchuch, New Zealand, I wanted to call my daughter and tell her that we were okay. I tried, but I couldn't call out. I had service bars, but no luck. What the heck? So, I went back into the airport again to ask the good people at the help counter for advice or tips. They told me to buy an international SIM card and then my phone should work as good as normal. I though about it and remembered that the customer service representative I spoke to with my mobile provider had said something similar to that, too. So, I bought one, I went outside, and I tried to install it. I didn't realize that my new phone doesn't use a SIM card like my old one did. It wouldn't work. There was no place to put it. Crap. My bad. I went back in and asked the help counter people for a different idea since the SIM card plan was a loser. They told me to try an international calling card. It seemed logical, so I bought one. I went outside to try to call home, but still was unable to. Now, instead of it being a parts problem, it was a service provider problem. At this point, I spent about $100 trying to call home and hadn't been able to. My fiance was supremely patient with me as I melted down. I didn't curse, swear, or rant. But, I am sure by this point my face was flushed and my blood pressure was about 300/200. What was I going to do? There was no going home. What if there was an emergency? What if something happens? How will anybody reach me? How will I reach them? I panicked. I was scared. I felt naked.

This was the beginning. It was a blessed thing.

As time passed on our trip, I accepted that I didn't need to check my email each and every day as I had become accustomed to on my mobile phone. I had no need for Facebook and I kept living even if I didn't see what so and so's latest status update was. I realized that I didn't need to talk to people at home on and off over the course of the day to survive. I realized that I didn't always need to be reached for questions. I mean, I was on vacation, right? Sure, I missed my family and child, but I knew that they missed me too and that was comfort enough. Realization is a good thing, right?

My realization was followed with a strong bout of self loathing. I was fully disgusted with myself. I had the full range of emotions. I validated my phone use to myself. I tried to sell it to myself and portray the idea that MY life was SO important. Doing this, I was justified and smug. Soon after, I was sad for losing the freedom to be just "gone." I felt weak that I relied on a nameless, faceless service in my every day life. Even later, I became angry with myself. What had I become? Seriously. Do I really need that? Do I need mobile service?

I hate the idea that the mobile phone company owns me for about $90 per month. I hate the idea that I might walk down the street with my eyes on a electronic device and miss something beautiful in nature. I hate the idea that not only can I be reached everywhere, but the mobile service provider ALWAYS knows where I am and I have given them that ability of my own free will. I wonder how valuable a skill such as mobile device operation ability would be without electricity? How about without functioning mobile service towers? What good is that gizmo, then? It there an "app" that lights a campfire so I can cook my food? Can I survive in the woods with my phone and nothing else? Does it really have anything to teach me that's valuable? Is there an "app" that has any value without the service? Sorry, but I don't think so.

My fiance bought maps of New Zealand before we left from the States. I thought they were great to look at and plan our drives and adventures, but when it came to the actual travel, I was sure I would use the GPS built into my phone to navigate us safely and quickly. Boy, was I ever wrong? Bless her and her maps for reminding me that just because something can be done a certain way, doesn't mean that it can ONLY be done that way.

I had also assumed that I would be able to listen to internet radio the whole time when we drove in our rental car. I was wrong again, and thank heavens for it. My fiance and I played a name game in the car off and on for a couple days. We told stories of our pasts. We talked about deep, interesting things that I think most people are too scared or too detached to talk about. We spoke of our hopes and our dreams. We spoke about our future and what it might hold. Sometimes we spoke. Sometimes we drove in silence and took in the full view of the scenery. Either way, it was absolutely liberating and wonderful.

As it all turned out in the end, I was able to text my friends and family in America now and then and they could call me, but I couldn't call them. That's simple enough. After a few days, I began to not really care at all about the grocery list of voicemails I had that I couldn't hear or respond to. I was able to speak to my daughter for a few minutes here and there to tell that I was having fun and missing her. I spoke to my parents for a little while to check on the rest of my family. I was relieved a little. I lived. I survived. I was fine. I was healthy without mobile service convenient and at my fingertips. Without my cell phone, the world still turned and our lives continued. It was a great revelation. Who would have thought?

Monday, March 7, 2011


I am trying, okay?

I returned from the most life-changing adventure on Feb 26.  I am trying to get back into the swing of things some and dedicate some time to write about it.  It needs to be written about. I want to spray out some words and pics about it. I need to.

Anywho, one of these days, I promise to post pics and words.  One of these days.

I think the hardest thing about returning from a long, sensational vacation is the harsh realization that I don't enjoy my day to day life working NEARLY as much as I enjoy my day to day having adventures.  Career change for me?  Probably not.  Different perspective on life?  Certainly.

I am sure of a couple things. We are small and insignificant in this world.  Our time here in this life is short, violent, and grossly unimportant on the scale of Earth and the world.

I am so blessed to have Amanda to share my time with.  I love her.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ring, ring goes the phone.

I hate my home phone. 

I like the idea of a home phone since the service is super reliable and normally unaffected by weather and whatnot, but I do not like the expense of having it.  I wouldn't have it if it wasn't for internet. 

In my town, Mediacom is the cable internet provider.  Unfortunately for me, even though I am in city limits they do not provide service on my block since I am the only residence.  Well, they will get me service, but only if I agree to pay to have them run the cables.  That's pretty much out of the question.

I should back up.

In 2007, I got divorced.  Since I got divorced, I have switched my home phone number six or seven times.   Each time I have done it, I have made my number unlisted.  Also, I am on the "Do Not Call" list.  The main reasons for these switches is that my ex wife has a multitude of collection agencies after her at any given time and even though she hasn't been a resident at my house for almost four years, they still constantly call looking for her.  Daily.  Last year I was still getting twenty to twenty five calls a week for her.  These days, it is more like fifteen or so per week.  Either way, I called the phone company today because I have had enough.

I asked the nice lady at Century Link (my phone provider) how I could be getting these calls since I AM on the "Do Not Call" list and my number is also unlisted.  Clearly, I told her, the problem lies with their company because they are the only ones that know I have this phone number.  She said that there really isn't anything that she can do for me other than try switching the number again.  Or, she told me,  for an additional fee I can block up to twelve numbers.  I guess she doesn't realize that I don't have numbers to the collection places or telemarketers.  If I did, I would call them a hundred times a day until they left me alone.  So, a mostly useless suggestion.

Back to why I called them in the first place.  I hate that I have a home phone.  Where I live, it is less expensive to have a home phone and compliment that service with DSL than it is to just have the DSL.  Go figure. 

So, I decided today that I would call and get information on getting my internet service through my cable provider which is Dish Network.  They usually send me a couple letters in the mail each year boldly proclaiming that they can save my "MEGA MONEY" by bundling my television and internet services together. 

I found one of my old bills from Dish Network and called customer service.  About eight minutes of computer menus later, I got a real, live person and he refused to tell me about their program.  He refused.  He would NOT tell me because since I am already a Century Link internet customer, so anything he could quote me may not be a solid rate.  So, he told me to get the rate, I need to call Century Link and cancel my service.  Then, I can call Dish Network back and they can set me up.  I asked if I would be saving money in doing this?  He said he didn't know. 

I hung up the phone and called Century Link back.  I got a nice woman that had the title of "Internet Specialist" on this call.  I asked her about the package programs that they have with Dish Network.  She told me that they don't do any business with Dish Network anymore.  She said that they have switched to Direct TV since the program was better.  I told her that I just got off the phone with Dish Network and the service representative there just told me that he could bundle his Dish Network programming with Century Link DSL and save me some money.  She told me that she had no knowledge that Dish Network could do that anymore. I said thanks and goodbye to her.

This is getting me nowhere.

I called Dish Network back and figured I would try to just tell them that I want to establish new service so I could at least get a rate idea.  So, I did.  The nice customer service representative I had this time quoted me rates that I thought were okay.  I asked her if Dish Network does all the billing for this.  She said no.  She told me that Century Link would bill me separately from them.  I asked her if there would be an access charge from Century Link.  She said that she didn't know, but that I would have to call Century Link and find out.  I said I already called Century Link and they said that they don't do business with Dish Network anymore.   She asked if I was already a Century Link DSL customer.  I said yes, but I want to consolidate these services into one bill and do away with my home phone.  She got a little angry with me as if I was wasting her time and said that if she would have known that I was already a Century Link customer, she would not have quoted me anything.  She informed me that any rate quote she had given me was null and void.  She said she could not help me, but if there was anything else she could do for me today, just let her know.


[facepalms again]

So, I called Century Link back and spoke with another "Internet Specialist."  This time, though, I asked her what speed my current DSL was.  She told me it was 1.5M.  I asked her how much more money it would be to go to their fastest service (10M).  She told me less than five dollars per month.  I told her to do it.

I don't know how it all came to this.  I didn't get rid of my home phone and the harassing calls from collection agencies and telemarketers.  I didn't reduce my monthly bills at all.  In fact, I raised my monthly bills.  I spend over two hours on the phone trying to get answers for questions that are, to my knowledge at this time, impossible to answer.

So, we are better off outsourcing customer service in this country?

Monday, January 24, 2011

We ALL want something...

This was forwarded to me by a friend.  I don't know who made it, so it is possible and likely that I am pissing somebody off.

It pretty much sums up almost anything I can think of. 

It's true.  We ALL want something.

No animals were injured or eaten in this post.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Second of June.

The second of June. 

I don't know if it is "blue car syndrome" or not.  Blue car syndrome would be after you buy a blue car, then you notice that EVERYONE seems to have a blue car.  Before you had a blue car, though, you never paid any attention to them.
June 2.
Yesterday, I was reading in the reading room (the bathroom) "Wolves of the Calla" by Stephen King.  The line I read was this. "The second of June."  That was the complete sentence.  Then, instantly following it was a knocking on the reading room door.  Who was knocking?  My beautiful fiance with her June 2nd birthday.

dos Junio

Last night my fiance and I were hanging out in the garage and I was looking through some boxes of old stuff from when I was a kid.  I found my eighth grade diploma from St. James Lutheran School.  I looked at the date on my diploma, and it was June 2, 1988.

June 2nd.

In another box in the garage last night I found my fishing license from the last year I went to Canada fishing with my family.  This was something that my family did together for a few years, but when my brothers and sisters and I started getting older, it became more difficult to go, so as a family we were never able to go again.  The date of issue of my fishing license was June 2, 1987.

The 2nd of June.

I noted this date quite a bit in the last few months and it seems to be a date for me that is evident in my life very frequently.

June 2nd happenings with their respective years:

1692 – Bridget Bishop is the first person to go to trial in the Salem witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts. Found guilty, she is hanged on June 10.

1835 – P. T. Barnum and his circus start their first tour of the United States.

1886 – U.S. President Grover Cleveland marries Frances Folsom in the White House, becoming the only president to wed in the executive mansion.

1896 – Guglielmo Marconi applies for a patent for his newest invention: the radio.

1924 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizenship Act into law, granting citizenship to all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States.

1980 - The birth Amanda Rae.  The love of my life. 

I will keep a watchful eye on this date.  Or, maybe I won't.  Is it all coincidence?  Probably not.