March 8th, 2010


They Never Heard You To Begin With

I have a cell phone.  Unlike most people, it isn't a status symbol.  I mean, I know people with four or five of them and like to show them off (no, I'm not counting iPhone users, those are gadgets and I can see why people would show those off).  Mine is a simple pay as you go phone.  It was originally through Cingular, and thanks to acquisitions, is now part of AT&T.  I don't use it very much.  Part of the joy of going out of the house is that I can't be reached by phone, so it gets emergency use or in case I'm trying to coordinate with meeting friends, and that's it.

I'm periodically approached by people in the mall trying to sell me a new cell phone and package.  The worst offenders in this regard are Verizon.  The people at their stand just don't quit.  One tried selling me a phone, saying I could send e-mails and such.  Part of the reason for Kylie, my IBM S10 netbook, is she has a near fully size keyboard I can actually touchtype with.  I go on waaaaaay too long with typing to make e-mailing from a cell phone practical.  How about surfing the Internet?  Well, I hate mobile sites, I don't like reading in Teeny Weeny Eye-Strain-O-Vision, and Kylie has a full blown Linux distro running on her, so literally, any site like YouTube, I can go to.  Can't do that with a cell phone.  Yeah, so I need a hot spot to get on the 'net.  That wasn't a big concern for a long time, and now is even less of a concern now that Micky D's has wifi everywhere.

But the biggest reason is because it is Verizon.  I'm sorry, but I refuse to deal with a company that cannot handle basic math.  Most people I know can't wait to get out of their Verizon contracts.  But there are some who tell me Verizon isn't so bad and I'm just listening to the wrong people.

Not quite.

Cynthia Lacy lives in Treasure Island, FL.  Her father in Calvin, WV recently passed away.  It fell to her to help finish things up, and among them was calling Verizon to cancel his phone service.  She needed to close up the phone to settle the estate and clear things for the new owners of her dad's house.

Verizon refused to.  They said she needed her dad's PIN in order to do it.

Lacy sent them a copy of her dad's death certificate.  Verizon still refused to cancel it.  "Well, there's nothing else I can do for you," the phone rep said.  He then laughed and hung up.

Lacy eventually complained to the media.  Her local paper has one of those "We'll help you with a consumer problem if we can get some good column inches out of it" features.  After several calls from them and a write-up of Lacy's troubles, Verizon finally sprang into action and canceled the account.  Bob Elek is a spokesman for Verizon.  He said the rep did not handle the case properly (NO SHIT!) and he has been written up and given coaching.  Yeah.  That'll teach 'im.  "The account in question has been discontinued and backdated to Sept. 1," Elek said. "The daughter will receive a credit/refund for the months she paid since September."

I've always hated phones.  They just make it too easy.  And make sure you have those PIN numbers where someone can find them if something happens to you.

"Keep Your Laws Off My Body" Just Got An Upgrade To 2.0

In a "Milk And Cheese" story, Cheese, after a particularly bad day, screams, "I wish I had a baseball bat the size of Rhode Island so I could beat the shit out of this stupid-ass planet!"  This is one of those stories that makes me go, I know how he feels.  It really makes me despair of being stuck for a lifetime in this world.

Hello, Utah.  Thank you making living in Illinois seem better.

A 17 year old girl in Utah was pregnant and didn't want to be.  She was seven months along when she got the none-too-bright idea to pay a 30-year old guy $150 to give her the Falcon Punch.  Her hope was that the assault would trigger a miscarriage.  It didn't work, the baby was born anyway and put up for adoption, and the guy got thrown in the stir.  However, there was nothing on the law books prosecutors could use against the teen.  I would like to remind everybody that reactionary law is never a good idea.  Just look at the Patriot Act.

Earlier this month, both of its state houses passed a bill that Gov. Gary Herbert (a Republican, I should note.  I bash Obama a lot, but you can't say I'm not bipartisan in my ire).  The bill would make it so women who suffer a miscarriage can be criminally prosecuted and face life imprisonment.  The bill is written in a way to dissuade women from seeking abortions by basically criminalizing what happens in the procedure.  This is bad enough, but the passed bill includes the clause that charges can be filed for an "intentional, knowing or reckless act".  So, in theory (I almost wrote "conceivably" there.  Not the best choice of wording given the subject matter), if you drink one glass of wine too many or slip on icy pavement, you could be spending the rest of your life in the Big House.  There was a movement to remove the "intentional, knowing or reckless act" language from the bill, but it failed.  So any miscarriage is trouble.  This is a real possibility -- it's estimated that 15-20% of pregnancies miscarry.

There's no way this will survive a legal challenge, although it may have to go to the US Supreme Court.  I can't imagine the heavily Mormon state of Utah (which helped astroturf the passage of California's "No gay marriage" Constitutional amendment) striking down this law.  The US Supremes will just have to consider the logistics of prosecuting this -- how do establish this?  Do you send people around to the houses of women every few weeks, make them pee in a cup, and record whether or not they have a bun in the oven, and then if nine months pass with no baby, put 'em on the chain gang?  How do you prove the act was intentional, knowing or reckless?  And if they don't apply it consistently, the law can be deemed unfairly applied and struck down, so they have to go Big Brother to keep this on the books.

The cost of enforcing this are going to be expensive.  Interestingly, there is also a proposal in the state leg to cancel the last year of school for kids to save money.  I say go ahead.  There's apparently no brains to educate there to begin with.

Someone's In The Kitchen With Stupid

I love food.  Love it love it love it.  You can tell because I'm pear shaped.  A recurring theme in my test sketches for Head Above Water was the two female leads with food.  They were cooking food.  They were eating food.  They were getting food.  They were gathering ingredients for food.  Food food food.

I'm at the grocery store just now figuring out what I want to make for dinner.  My path takes me down the aisle of box cakes.  And I stop dead, thinking I couldn't have just seen what I saw.

There was a box mix to make a pound cake.


For those of you wondering why it's called a pound cake, it's because the original recipe was made using a pound of milk, a pound of flour, a pound of butter, and a pound of eggs.  It was the baking equivalent of duct tape -- crude, but effective (and could really stick to your ribs.  Thank you, I'll be here all week).

If you can't handle making a pound cake, if you're that bad you need a box mix to make one, just convert your kitchen into a den and don't cook ever again.