Membership has its… Downside

When reading an article like this one, I’m reminded of the timeless words of Groucho Marx who famously wrote:

“Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member”.

Or, perhaps more poignantly, Gandhi’s words say it better:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

The problem wasn’t ever the Republican party, it’s the Republicans; it’s the NRA, it’s the radical right, and it’s the crusaders against science and logic.

If history has taught us anything, I would think it is that an organization is only as “good” as its membership.

Pandering and failure

Buckle your seat belts, America!  Here we go again!

Gun violence is on the climb, mass shootings are occurring at a more frequent rate, and the fear-fueled media-machine is pumping full force.

Ban assault weapons!  Ban high-capacity magazines!  Ban running because my little kid skinned his knee!  Ban!  Ban!!

So here we are again, on the precipice of another assault weapons ban…

Or are we?

The truth is, these ban-happy Democrats face a gun-happy cash-backed Republican firing squad in congress and this snap-reaction law waving is about to clog up an already useless legislative branch for fucking years.

We could be spending cycles of debate on education, health care, poverty, and technology, but we won’t.  We never do.  Just like Hollywood movies, the American public wants to watch a drama play out on TV that keeps us on the edge of our seats!

Global hunger?  Boring.

We’re going over the “Fiscal Cliff ” tomorrow?  WOO HOO!!  Who do you think Boehner hates more, Obama or Pelosi?!  I can’t wait for next week’s episode!

Congratulations America!  You’ve signed us up for another season of our favorite show: “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, we voted for that guy?”

Everybody loses

Even if the congress manages to put together some kind of sweeping gun legislation, banning some kind of weapons, maybe high-capacity magazines, maybe trigger-fingers… We still lose.

Gun legislation makes absolutely no difference in gun related crime.  Statistics don’t lie.

Best case scenario:  We spend a year debating legislation that clogs congress, takes up time, creates more pork-filled excuses to pass other bullshit and fixes nothing.

Worst case:  No legislation ever comes out of this and we waste millions of taxpayer dollars chasing a whim…  Again.

In the event that my opinion isn’t clear:  America, I so badly want to love you…  But you suck.

Health Care and Firearms?

When “Obama Care” was voted into law, I found myself explaining to a friend how it would affect her. My explanation, unintentionally,  clarified my own beliefs about healthcare and the healthcare law and how it relates to special interest groups here in the US. See, the law not only provides no separation between “health care” and “medical insurance“, but, arguably solidifies their interchangeability.

Here’s how I imagine it played out:

  • Liberal government decided that “healthcare is a basic human right” and decided to create legislation that makes healthcare available to everyone.
  • Conservative government, pushed by their health-insurance-company-campaign-financing pushed back on the legislation and forced the bill to provide another insurance option, instead of just free health care, thereby merging the two terms.

We have come to a point in American history where the health insurance companies need to create this merger or face the possibility of being lost forever in the ever-growing antiquated business model bucket like newspapers and land-line telephone services.  This is just “good business”, and we-the-people are just as at fault as the politicians given that their power was awarded by our votes.

Has it occurred to anyone else that the most recent “gun control” push is the result of a closed-door health-care conversation?

Many have argued that the conversation we should be having is one about “mental illness”, but that would suggest a conversation about healthcare, which would inevitably lead to a conversation about the relationship (or lack thereof) of “health care” and “medical insurance”.

Maybe we will enter another assault weapon ban, maybe we won’t.  But the simple fact is, it doesn’t matter.  Crime didn’t come to a screeching halt the last time we banned all that stuff, and it won’t again this time.

But that isn’t the point.

Beyond all of the NRA, high-capacity-magazine, assault-rifle, baby-killing demonstrations, picketing and screaming no one will be able to hear the soft giggles of the health insurance companies as they quietly push their wheelbarrows full of cash to the bank.

Zombies, end of days, and more failure

Zombies Walk Sydney City StreetsAs the now-famous Miami “Face-Chewing” victim continues to heal from his zombie apocalypse moment, and we’ve managed to scrape by on another end-of-the-world scenario, I’d like to look back on another year in ridiculousness and stupidity.

This would-be criminal used his smartphone to display his stick-em-up note.

Presumably potato-educated guy in Idaho gives police fake name while wearing very visible tattoo of his actual name.

Some genius tried to get a newscaster deported for exercising his right to free speech.

Can't make this shit upThe only thing better than Republican Todd Akin’s comments about the female body rejecting rape sperm was this judge repeating it.  Seriously, these guys are fucking awesome at being asshats.

While we’re on the subject, a Google search for Rick Santorum no longer results in… Bodily fluids and… “interesting” images.

Somebody please tell this guy to stop talking to chairs and that he should stick to movies.  In fact, scratch that last part.

Media Monster“Honey Boo Boo”, Donald Trump, Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher are still on TV.  Come on America, it’s just insulting at this point.

Fucktard Mark Basseley Youssef makes a shitty hate movie, world blames his shitty movie for every violent act for weeks.

This fiscal bullshit is still happening proving yet again that the idiot we voted for is exactly as useless as the rest of the idiots we voted for.  In related news, I still tell everyone I’m Canadian when I travel internationally.

Disney proved (again) that they can release an agonizingly bad film, and still be involved in some pretty cool ones.

151 people died in mass shootings this year, and our nation’s response is to ban guns.  Being that I’m awfully fond of my car, I’m not going to mention this year’s projected 32,000 deaths caused by traffic accidents.

Please stop

I could go on, but do I really have to?  I think we can all agree that this horse is barely recognizable as a mammal at this point.  I hate to be the “this-year-was-the-worst” guy on the internet, but come on America!!  This is embarrassing on a global scale.

The best laid plans of… Idiots

I read an article earlier today explaining why Romney lost the election.  The writer claimed that his biggest problem was the absence of cash early in the campaign.  Other articles have claimed that the 47% gaffe cost Romney the win, and still others are sticking with the Latino vote or maybe it was “all the single ladies”.

But the truth is that none of these is solely responsible for Mitt’s loss, and honestly, the combination of all of them still doesn’t account for Obama’s win.  The real reason wasn’t Hispanic voters and anyone who owns a TV or a radio knows it sure as hell wasn’t related to campaign funding.  It was Mitt himself.

How quickly we forget the early days of the circus-like battle for the Republican nomination.  The most entertaining part of the entire election process, for me, was to watch the almost overnight “support” that Mitt Romney created when it was clear he would get the official Republican nomination.  Now, you’ll have to think back a bit, through the haze of campaign commercials and robo-calls.  Let’s think back to a time where Romney was not only trailing behind the infamously insane Rick Santorum, but even crazier Michele Bachmann, and way behind “Moon-base” Newt Gingrich.  No one was singing his praises then…  But I digress.  It is silly of me to think Republican voters weren’t “all in” on their pal Mitt from the start.

Or is it?

Maybe what really happened here is that the GOP settled for the candidate who said the least number of fucking-stupid things in public.  Maybe the right just decided that cult-ish white-bread mayonnaise wasn’t quite as bad as a heaping helping of bat-shit crazy horse radish.  And, this seemed like a safe play.  Well, right up until the media got a heavy helping of Mormonism’s wacky beliefs and Pseudo-religious Republican rape commentary.

It’s post time, Republican leadership.  Time to accept that, not only did you put a douche-canoe in a completely unfair position of having to run against a far less douchey politician, but you’ve completely lost control of your party altogether.  It’s not hard, really, to pick out the exact point when things started to spiral out of control.  You were never “in control”.  And to even suggest that you had a handle on the evolution of your own platform is just completely invalid.

And while we’re on the topic of post time, I’d like to take a minute and call out the Romney fans.  You aren’t Romney fans, you are “Guy-Who-Is-Not-Obama” fans.  Seriously, you would have voted for Republican nominee Count Dracula if he was running against Obama, so stop telling everyone what a huge Romney fan you are.

None of you fucktards even knew he existed before he started shaking his rich ass in your face at the Republican National Convention debates.

So what happened to the Republican party platform?

The Tea Party happened.  Started by the GOP as “a far right-wing” group (presumably to make the rest of the party appear more centrist) “The Tea Party” concept has now totally backfired and completely taken over the Republican party.  Unsurprisingly, this has left no discernible centrist opinion on the red side of the isle and systematically alienated all but the most religious and thereby, least logical, of the bunch.  I don’t want to ruin the end of the movie, GOP, but most of the country is CENTRIST.  Seriously mind blowing stuff, I know!  Sorry you had to find out this way.

The Good News

If nothing else at least we’ve proven that the Faux News fear mongering, although almost as addictive as Jerry Springer, didn’t sway the American public to the point of actually electing this guy based solely on the fact that he “isn’t Obama”.  Additionally, just like the last dozen wanna-be-President-elects, Romney will quietly slip into 3rd page news and continue to make insanely stupid commentary distancing him from the rest of the population from the sidelines.

The Bad News

We have, yet again, proven that out of 300 million Americans, the best we can come up with is more bought-and-paid-for, corporate-backed whores who stand for nothing and will completely change their “beliefs” on a moment’s notice to get your vote.

Comcast redux

Got my bill today.  “Looks high” I thought to myself, and sure enough:

In-Home Service Visit – 09/26 – 30.00

What.  The.  FUCK.  (If you don’t know why I’m freaking out, read my last few Comcast posts.)

I could call the 800 number, but I’m in no mood to hold, and I’m about to smash stuff and burn down my house… Better use the internet chat so they can’t hear me screaming, cursing, or making idle threats:

  • CHAT ID: 0BDE3C9D-9169-4559-87D1-77E7014B673A
  • Problem: Do not understand why I am being billed for “In-Home Service Visit”. Tech came out to fix existing problem with your cable system, not my fault.
  • Genevivie > Hello Frank, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Genevivie. Please give me one moment to review your information.
  • Frank > My Issue: Do not understand why I am being billed for “In-Home Service Visit”. Tech came out to fix existing problem with your cable system, not my fault.
  • Genevivie > You have reached Comcast Billing Department. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help resolve your issue. I’m sure we can work together to get this resolved for you as soon as possible.
  • Genevivie > I understand that you are being charge for the service call, is this correct?
  • Frank > that is correct
  • Genevivie > May I know when did this happen and how much was it?
  • Frank > My account should have very colorful details
  • Frank > I’ve been dealing almost daily with customer support for a month
  • Frank > My bill says: In-Home Service Visit 09/26 30.00
  • Genevivie > I am done processing the credit here in your account Frank.
  • Genevivie > Before we end the chat, let’s review what we have done today. I have processed the credit of $30.00 in your account for the service call.
  • Genevivie > I am glad to have resolve your issue today, is there anything else I can help you with?
  • Frank > excellent. Am I going to have to have this same conversation again next month?
  • Genevivie > No Frank, rest assure of that.
  • Frank > thanks

Yeah right.

So again, the agent was very nice and helpful. And this time I managed to keep my cool.  But, inevitably the survey pops up.  And I love the survey…

The chat agent was very nice, again. However the fact that I have to talk to one just about once a week (minimum) is completely unacceptable. Comcast’s customer service is abhorrent and completely inexcusable. If there was another cable company in my area, I’d pay whatever it cost to break my contract and get the hell out. Was this the kind of feedback you wanted?

Fucking Comcast.

Tall glass of STFU

I’m surrounded by jack-holes.

Watching the debate after already picking your favorite is like reading internet reviews of your car model after you’ve already purchased it.

Do all of us a favor and don’t post that political rant you are about to submit about that out-of-context-one-thing that one guy just said.

Seriously:  Quoting asshats just makes you one.

Victory is mine, for a price

Victory is mine!  Well, sort of.  And, with a price.  But beyond that, VICTORY IS MINE!  Or is it?  After almost a month of complaining, calling, indefinitely holding, and missed appointments our Comcast cable service is working as expected.  For those of you that have been keeping up with the story, you can read up on my previous posts below, but the short version is it was broken, and using a combination of just about every method (chat, phone, blog, twitter, facebook), I finally got them to send out another tech to look at our cable boxes.  The issue was (again) determined to be “outside the house”, and that repair guy actually showed up this time!  I wasn’t home, but my understanding is that he worked on the connection outside the house, and had to drive over to whatever connection station they have to make the repair.

Anyway, the service is working, and I guess I have to keep my promise and pay this month’s bill.  Sounds like a great story, no?

But, did I really win here?

How many hours do I have invested in chasing down what should be considered basic customer service?
The bottom line is, if you offer a product or service and it doesn’t work, you make it work or you don’t bill for it.  Right?  How have we drifted so far from this basic principle?  When the service I paid for started working I felt like I accomplished something amazing.  But I haven’t.

If I was standing in a watch store and bought a watch and it didn’t tell the correct time I would get a working watch from the sales person in about one minute, two MAX.  Why did this take 4 weeks?  How did we get so used to shitty customer service that actually getting what you paid for has become an amazing accomplishment?

My story could likely be used as a victory for Comcast’s customer service division, where a huge problem on social media and phone was dealt with and fixed by a large group of people who came together.  I wonder if they’ll include the stack of calls and complaints it took to get them to do it…

I love customer support

More Comcast failures.  Last tech never showed, time to turn up the volume on their “customer support”.

Here is the chat I had with their internet agent (conversation has been shortened):

CHAT ID: 5B0287C7-2C30-47C2-9DF1-58D24CD3051B
Problem: OnDemand does not work, hasn’t worked in over 3 weeks. Techs never show up to fix problem. DVR service not working intermittently. VERY UPSET CUSTOMER
Lewel Ray > Hello Frank, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Lewel Ray. Please give me one moment to review your information.
Lewel Ray > That’s not good. I would want your service to work and not miss your favorite shows.I’m so sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. I really appreciate the opportunity to make things right. You’ve reached the right person. I’ll certainly help you out in any way I can, Frank.
Lewel Ray > Is this occurring on all your TVs or just one?
Frank > Hi
Frank > Yes, all TV’s
Lewel Ray > Hi there, Frank.
Frank > I’ve had this conversation 7 times
Frank > 7 times Lewel.
Lewel Ray > I’m really sorry for the inconvenience, Frank.
Frank > We have called tech support 7 (not counting being on hold right now, so 8) times since moving in to this house
Frank > First we called, set up an appointment for Friday 3-5 pm
Lewel Ray > Are you seeing an error message on your TV screen?
Frank > Tech showed up Thursday, luckily someone ws here
Frank > he coudn’t fix problem, he told us he would send another tech Friday
Frank > That tech showed up SAME DAY one hour later
Frank > no one was home for that
Frank > Error 14
Frank > is the code we see
Frank > Anyway, the original Friday appointment time, NO ONE Showed up
Frank > This is the 4th time I’ve scheudled techs to fix service

Lewel Ray > I’m really sorry about that as the On Demand problem you are experiencing. What we can do normally is have a tech check your service on site to check the root cause of the problem. Also, don’t worry as you are not being charge for the On Demand feature since it is a Comcast provided free feature along with your service. The only time On Demand would be a chargeable feature is when a movie is rented with a charge.
Lewel Ray > Would you like us to troubleshoot your box. I’ll set up an appointment as well so that we can have your service checked on site.
Frank > Please send a tech out, who will arrive when we schedule them so we can get this fixed.
Lewel Ray > Sure thing.
Frank > We have done the “troubleshooting” which involved unplugging the box, resetting the box, and redownloading the guide
Frank > at least 6 times
Frank > each time, they send a tech out, who shows up sometimes
Frank > rarely, acutally
Lewel Ray > Alright.
Lewel Ray > Let me check the soonest appointment we have for you.

Lewel Ray > The soonest we have is: 10/16/2012,0800A1000A
Lewel Ray > Would that appointment date and time window work?
Frank > Sure, that’s fine
Lewel Ray > The tech will call 15 minutes prior to arrival to your location and will arrive within the alloted time window. Someone 18 years or older can also receive the technician.
Frank > Great
Frank > Please note my account with this conversation so we don’t have to go through it again when no one shows up.
Lewel Ray > To recap, we have successfully scheduled a technician appointment for you. I am more than sure this will be addressed to and corrected as soon as possible. Consider this resolved as your cable services will be completely fixed. Thank you.
Frank > Excellent, thanks

Then the website asks me to fill out a survey.  So, here we go again:

Our service hasn’t worked in the 4 weeks that we’ve had it. Since moving in, the OnDemand, and the DVR services have barely (or not at all worked).
1. Weeks ago, we called tech support: Did the unplug, reset, restart, and re-download thing. OnDemand starts working, hang up with tech support.
2. Services not working. We called tech support: Did the unplug, reset, restart, and re-download thing. Couldn’t fix problem. They sent a tech who claims problem was fixed.
3. Services not working. We called tech support: Did the unplug, reset, restart, and re-download thing. Couldn’t fix problem. They scheduled a tech to show up, he NEVER SHOWED.
4. Services STILL not working. We called tech support: Did the unplug, reset, restart, and re-download thing. Couldn’t fix problem. They scheduled a tech to show up on Friday, he came Thursday luckily someone happened to be home, couldn’t fix problem, said “problem is outside, need to send a different tech, he will come tomorrow”. He NEVER SHOWED UP EITHER.
5. Tonight: Services STILL not working. We called tech support, spent 40 minutes on hold. Finally went to internet and used “chat” service to schedule ANOTHER tech to show up Tuesday, 8/16.
Let’s make a bet: This month’s bill says he doesn’t show. Prove me wrong and I’ll happily pay it.

Wish us luck!

My cable company: Failcast

You might say, “The Devil knows software”.  You might say “Yeah, he’s been doing that for a little while”.  And you’d be right.  I do know software.  I know software as a service as if I’d been doing it my whole life for massive Fortune 100 companies.  And that’s because I HAVE.  So here’s a nice example of a complete and utter failure of “Software as a Service”:  Three weeks straight.  That’s how long our OnDemand functionality has been on the fritz.  Not consistently  mind you.  But on-again-off-again (more often off than on) for the past three weeks.  “How long have you had this service?” you might find yourself asking.  And I would answer… 3 weeks.

Yeah, just about every fucking day since I started this service it has been broken.  I’ve been on the phone with tech support at least seven times.  I have their menu systems memorized.  Seriously, I do.

Thursday marked the second time they’ve sent techs out to the house.  I should mention that it will also mark the 3rd time they’ve promised to send techs to the house.  That second one just never came to fruition, but who’s counting?  So, Wednesday (a full day early) a tech shows up and tells my girlfriend that he was able to “fit us in”, spends an hour looking at the cable box, and determines that “the problem is with the lines outside”.  So, now he’s going to send another tech to the house tomorrow…

Friday comes, and guess fucking what?  NO ONE SHOWS UP.  Again…

Last week I tweeted to @ComcastCares who’s Twitter account boasts “My name is Bill Gerth also known as @comcastcares. My background is Computer Networking and I really enjoy helping others. William_Gerth@comcast.com”

@ComcastBill Very disappointed in service, OnDemand has been down every day for a week, 800-number is no help. Another refresh signal? LOL

And, inevitably I got a response, which was promptly deleted after I sent him a link to this blog post.

@KeyboardDevil How can I help?

We also spent an hour on the phone with tech support again.  Mostly because I like the sound of their voices.  It isn’t so much what they say, because I don’t speak Comcast-Islandese, which I have to assume is the language they are speaking when I get an actual human on the phone, but more the sound of their voice.  It’s soothing in a dental drill kind of way, and reminds me of filing my taxes.

The sheer red-hot-fire-poker-in-the-eye of “And who do I have the pleasure of speaking to?” and “Please try unplugging the unit, again” truly enhance my customer experience.

Unplug the unit… Brilliant, I hadn’t thought of that, nor had I tried to do it while sitting through 40 minutes of hold music and the reminder “Your call is important to us”.

Thank god, Comcast associate.  Thank god you are here to guide me through this difficult time in our relationship.

Censor this

Censor this, you wacky cult:

http://www.xenu.net/

http://exscientologykids.com/

http://leavescientology.blogspot.com/2008/02/if-youve-made-it-here-youre-halfway.html

http://psychassualt.org/

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/07/05/are-list-scientologist-scandals-hurting-church-in-hollywood/

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/02/14/110214fa_fact_wright

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Scientology-1751/Lord-Xenu.htm

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Fishman/time-behar.html

http://www.rickross.com/groups/scientology.html

News article explaining how the “church” of Scientology has asked its followers to try and censor internet commentary with negative comments.

“Bath Salt” Zombies (or not)

Back on May 26th this guy (photo right) attacked a homeless guy, and… I’m sure you’ve heard this already but brace yourself if you haven’t: Chewed off his face.  Of course the “Zombie” chants carried internet-wide, and the media, presumably in conjunction with the CDC, sprung into action and blamed a new drug called “Bath-Salts” almost immediately.

Earlier today, Yahoo news broke the story that Rudy Eugene’s toxicology report had been completed and

“…toxicology tests performed on Eugene found marijuana in his system, but no street drugs, prescription drugs or alcohol. Eugene also tested negative for adulterants commonly mixed with street drugs…”

So there’s that.  No street drugs, no Bath-Salts, no handy-dandy explanation of exactly why this dude was eating someone else’s FACE.  Well, no explanation except maybe… This kid.

He looks friendly enough.  “What ya got there sonny?  Turkey leg? No? Looks delicious!”  Side note:  Back in May, Rudy’s girlfriend claimed that he was a religious man, and may have been under a “voodoo spell”.  Stop laughing, she actually said that, and it’s apparently a better defense than the whole Bath-Salt thing.

So, don’t panic.  Stay away from doors and windows.  Pay no attention to the KeyboardDevil as he cleans and loads his guns…  Again.