Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Customer Service Fails - Century Link Edition

I'm moving about three miles after the 1st and wanted to get my internet service arranged. Currently, I use Century Link.

While I'm spending two days trying to make contact with them, my bill arrives. Hello, jacked up my cost and changed my billing date.

Finally get through on "Chat' so I can cancel only to be informed I cannot do that except by telephone. Oh joy, doing business with the phone company on a phone. Spent a total of 48 minutes on hold without getting a live person. OK, hit the prompt for "new service". Get through in just three minutes. So sorry Eleanor, but you got the short straw. However, you did handle my request properly, and I received a confirming email.

For my sins, I next tried Comcast. Got "Lynn", Engrich as a second language, and an auctioneering school graduate who soon heard silence on my end. Fortunately, there is a Comcast office near the new digs. Went in and arranged service.

Guess I'm the only person in the USA who wants Internet only. No, I don't watch TV. Yes,  I own a TV, cathode tube model, and a DVD player. It is used when I have company. No, I'm not interested in packages so please don't insist on explaining all in great detail.

Karma, payback, for all those years selling cars.

While never saying never, I can't forsee using Century Link in the future.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cancer and Quacks

Cancer. About the only thing I fear. My late father had eleven siblings. Six have died from cancer. I have 50+ first cousins. I've lost track of the number fighting cancer.

For the past few years, I've been developing basil cells. The standard treatment is liquid nitrogen on the areas of skin that have the cells. It is not always available for me.

I've a great interest in alternative medicine. Some time back I came across the following.

The One Minute Cure
The Secret to Healing
Virtually all Diseases
Madison Cavanaugh


This is only one source, other places are cheaper. Folks, I'm not getting in any kind of debate about the author or his recommendations. Make up your own mind, as have I.

This discusses using 30% food grade hydrogen peroxide. I've been taking ten drops a day now for nearly five years. In addition, I put it directly on the areas of patchy skin. Like liquid nitrogen, it will keep your attention for ten to fifteen minutes. Within three days, the skin looks normal.

The peroxide is hard to find, but is available online. A quart costs around $50 and will last me several months. Does it work? I don't know for certain, but I do know for the price of a modest dinner check it is worth it to me.

Two things I've learned about cancer. It spreads faster in an acidic and oxygen poor environment. Keeping your body in an alkaline state is easily done with diet. Eat an avocado daily, for instance. The hydrogen peroxide, my reading tells me, helps my body stay oxygenated.

Obviously I'm not a doctor, and this isn't "medical" advice. You should do your own research, and make your own informed decisions.

Does any of this work? I was 70 years old before I spent a night in a hospital as a patient, and that was caused by an abnormally slow heartbeat. I do believe it works for me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Profound Thought

Every time I think I have all my ducks in a row, the damn ducks waddle off in all directions.

Hope each and every one of you has a peaceful and joyous Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Son Married a Great One

FDIL posted this on her Medic husband's Facebook page.

Friday, December 19, 2014


Colorado is unique as the only state to pass the Taxpayers Bill or Rights (TABOR). In addition, Colorado passed the “Gallagher Amendment” setting a statewide standard for assessing residential properties. Both have severely restricted politicians at all levels, city, county, districts, schools, and the state ability to raise taxes.

A brief explanation is here.

The heart of TABOR is this:

 Under TABOR, state and local governments cannot raise tax rates without voter approval and cannot spend revenues collected under existing tax rates without voter approval if revenues grow faster than the rate of inflation and population growth.[1] Revenue in excess of the TABOR limit, commonly referred to as the "TABOR surplus", must be refunded to taxpayers, unless voters approve a revenue change as an offset in a referendum.[2] Under TABOR, the state has returned more than $2 billion to taxpayers.

Full explanation here.

The last refund I received was after a budget passed when the GOP controlled both chambers and the Governor’s office.

The last budget was passed by the (p)regressives controlling both chambers and Wishywashy signed it as governor. Despite their valiant efforts, the state will collect more revenue than anticipated. Oh the horror; money will be given back to citizens instead of funding whacko programs. Naturally (p)regressives are having palpitations.

TABOR was once a national movement but only gained traction in Colorado. More than any single individual, it was pushed through by a certain Douglas Bruce, a California transplant who has become as notorious as Alfred Packer, Colorado’s most prominent cannibal.

One thing Bruce cannot be called is dull. One can only applaud a politician who celebrates his swearing in ceremony by kicking a newspaper photographer.

Why do I find this situation hilarious? Must be a huge character flaw. Why did I write this post? Because I can. Probable result? All three of my readers will drop my blog.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Speaking of Attorneys

Another long blog that may only be of interest to my family members. Feel free to skip it.

Folks are always making comments about attorneys, and one recent comment by me on another blogger’s post was to make sure you don’t hire an incompetent one.

Unfortunately, I’ve had too many dealings with the legal establishment.

First, there are the ones involving my three sons. My first born is Autistic, and there are several challenges in estate planning and wills with handicapped heirs. I ended up writing some hefty checks.

Middle child liked to drink, get in bar fights and drive. This went on for about six years. Good criminal lawyers are expensive.

Youngest had two children with a messed up drug user. Getting her parental rights ended was in the order of tens of thousands of dollars. I don’t care, my grandchildren are safe. Our case was helped by her big mouth, lifestyle choices and hiring feminist hacks whose best moves were waving the motherhood banner, and the “all women are victim’s meme”.

I’ve had a lot of criticism, for lack of “tough love”, coddling, etc. My response is no response because I don’t give a rat’s ass about other’s opinions unless they are helping financially. I raised my two youngest on my own from the time they were eleven and thirteen. Lived with the “I would give you a hand but I’m busy wringing both of mine” input by others.

My children didn’t get a free ride. I insisted they pay what they could, that it was enough for them to feel the pain, but I used my resources to make sure they had competent counsel.

Most of my dealing with attorneys involved business dealings. The first big one involved my employer losing the use of our facility due to a contractor’s incompetence. The “high powered” Seattle law firm was stellar in billing hours and totally ineffective in reaching a resolution. One time I was deposed. Five lawyers were firing questions at me with a court reporter taking notes. My strategy was, “Who are you and who do you represent”? That changed the whole dynamic. Felt good, me intimidating them!

Same law firm sent one of their lawyers with me to Anchorage where we finalized a contract. On the way back, he was ready to kick back in business class and have some adult beverages. Bullshit. We were being billed for his time and I was determined to get our money’s worth. Don’t think he liked me. Oh, well.

These are just examples. In the retail car business, there are always customers who decide to be awkward. You get a call from their attorney or a letter, or both.  My response was no letter must be answered and to tell the caller “Feel free to sue us. Until you take us to court, don’t bother us. No, you don’t need the name of our law firm".

One lesson learned is to be very clear about what you want the attorney to accomplish. You don’t need them to tell you what to do; you need them to tell you how to legally accomplish your goals. Good ones won’t fight you. The others? Fire them.

The second lesson is, do what they advise. They are the experts, that is why you are paying them.

When I hire an attorney, I try to arrive at an agreed, all inclusive fee. This means I give them all the information and answer all their questions up front. I’ve found it keeps them focused. That doesn’t seem to be a popular options for most attorneys.

Another area I’ve had legal dealings involves my scofflaw driving habits. Usually,  I represent myself. The courts want speedy resolutions. I like to throw sand in the gears. Time-consuming, yes, but the long term costs of traffic tickets is often overlooked. In almost every case, I’ve written a check, and it went away. They don’t care if I go to the “Driver’s Classes”, just pay for them. 

One time I got written up for 93 in a 65, just two miles away from a mandatory trip to jail. Hired an attorney I knew. Ended up with an eight hour driver’s class, before the court date per my attorney’s recommendation (“Your honor, my client has taken responsibility for his actions”), a guilty plea for, “Driving too fast for the road conditions (it was a dry summer day)”, a fine, and community service. Turns out the community service was a check for the hours times the minimum wage. Damn expensive, but worth it as 3 points against the 8 points that were on the table and future hassles if I got caught again.

My divorce was worked out without attorneys. She wanted out and knew how obstinate I am. We worked out an agreement, both signed, and she went on her way. Bad move on her part as the man she left me for turned out to be all hat and no cattle.

I feel some empathy for attorneys, having spent thirty years selling cars. Neither occupation ranks high in the general public’s opinion. Of course, I don’t let the public’s opinion determine my self-esteem. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Low Humor

The devil showed up one day in our town.

Everybody ran home in fear and closed their doors except for the town drunk who stayed in his chair outside the bar.

The devil was amazed and said to the man, Don't you know who I am? Aren’t you afraid”?

“No,” said the drunk, “I was once married to your sister”.

Grumble, grumble, complain

Leading up to winter, got the vehicles prepared, studded snow tires on, emergency kits checked and loaded, and windshield washer fluid reservoirs filled with -35 fluid. Other than a few snow days in early November, haven't even used the ice scrapper. Fickle Colorado weather!

Last winter was harsh. This year, nothing (yet). We'll probably get hit with a spring blizzard that will shut everything down for a week.

No winter snow means no summer water and no replenished aquifers. Despite the oil boom and the high tech stuff along the Front Range, Colorado still depends on agriculture to pay the freight.

We need snow!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Clueless, Retail Divison - A Rant

Back story.  I’ve spent most of my adult life working on a commission or fee per job basis.

The computer monitor started acting up. After installing a spare, took the old one to Best Buy, as they offer electronics recycling.

I submit, someone entering a store to drop off something for recycling might, just might, be in the market for a replacement. When that person then wanders over to the monitor displays that would be a very large clue that a motivated buyer is present.
The three “associates” one aisle over must have thought their conversation was too important to interrupt for a mere customer. Likewise, the manager type at the front desk, who saw me walk in and directed me to the recycle section, didn’t seem to notice.

I refuse to reward piss poor behavior even if I’m inconvenienced. I left.

Over the years, I’ve patronized Best Buy. They seem to have a decent selection and reasonable prices. I’ll probably patronize them in the future.

Regarding the three salespeople and the manager, if they worked at any car lot I managed, they would be looking for a job. While not always apparent on a balance sheet, the largest single expense a retailer has is getting someone to walk into their establishment.

Final rant. When you put salespeople on a shitty hourly wage, you get shitty salespeople. No amount of "motivators" will make them anything but shitty. 

Don Chalmers, Renton WA, 1986, speaking to sixty+ throat ripping commissioned salespeople, "No company has ever gotten in trouble paying salespeople HIGH commissions". Truer words have seldom been spoken.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Frack This

Did a post called “Risky Business” 12/16/13 about fracking

This is more a “Yeah for Fracking”. The usual suspects are against it; the same crowd behind gun control laws, the “Colorado Model” and Common Core. Yepper, the (p)regressives.

Add, “not in my backyard”.

Why am I for it? JOBS, damnit. Lots and lots of good paying blue collar jobs in the $15 to $40 an hour range with lots of overtime. Young people able to stay in the area instead of moving to Denver to find a job.  Money is being pumped into the local economy creating more jobs. Tax revenues up and school funding up.

The picture below is a wind generator factory owned by a Danish company. Opened with great fanfare. Major tax breaks. Special classes by the local community college to train workers. The place is on financial life support.

Due West is this building going up with no special treatment, no public funds, required by the owners. Surprise, oilfield business.

This is happening all over the area. Did I mention jobs? This is just one street.

Growth brings problems. It has taken me several weeks to find the apartment I’m moving into after the first of the year (the test driver job fell through). The area has an acute housing shortage. Driving on the local roads can be a challenge. I’ll live with it, even though I’ve no patience, and not complain. Every one of those beasts means another job.

To those who want to shut all this down, want to dictate how others should live, etc., I offer these words. Go fuck yourself.

My late father years ago said an environmentalist was, "A guy who bought his five acres last year". One time, when the smoke from a local sawmill drifted into town (older times when they burned sawdust and scraps), someone spoke to my father, "Bob, isn't this smoke terrible"?

My father, sniffing the air,said, "I smell a $100,000 a year payroll".

One of my sons has been unemployed or underemployed, caught in the Temp agency bog, for a long time. Recently, he has started a decent paying job. So good to have my smiling son back instead of the disgruntled one. Perhaps, only those who have been unemployed for a long period can appreciate what having a job means. That is why I get enraged by those special snowflakes who are willing to see others suffer for their defined "greater good".

One last note. This growth is coming from technology applied, mainly, to existing oil wells. Very little wildcatting is involved. The resource has always been there.

And a final opinion. Every dollar being spent isn't going to some foreign enemy.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Chance Encounter

Waiting at a tire shop, noticed an old gentlemen’s hat festooned with various pins. Not often you see a three war Combat Infantry Badge.

After speaking to the gentleman, we had a nice conversation. He was born in North Dakota, a second generation German/Russian/Swede and married a Finn.

Eighty-nine years old, he tended to ramble, but still sharp, and still driving. He retired somewhere around 1971. Unsettling for me personally, as that day was my late father’s birthday. He was a WWII vet.

Doubt I will meet anymore WWII vets so I was pleased to have this chance.