Friday, December 31, 2004

The Promised Update of Anna Benson pics

The promised update of Anna Benson pics.

Voted sexiest wife in Baseball.

More pics of Anna Benson here

Here

Here

And another thread of pics begins here


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Tidbit (Those Wacky Canadians)

From Mark Steyn in The Spectator 12/31/2004:

According to spokesperson Huguette Shouldice, many asylum-seekers try to pass
themselves off as terrorists to ‘exaggerate the persecution they fear in their homeland in order to impress Canadian immigration officials’. Read that again slowly: according to Mme Shouldice, claiming to be a terrorist increases your chances of being admitted to Canada, so immigration officials have learnt to disregard it as no more than a little light resumé-padding. Yawn: here’s someone trying to slip in on the mad-bomber fast-track admission quota again.
This is regarding Ahmed Rassam, the man stopped at the US/Canada border with a car load of bombs. Rassam had admitting to having done jail time in Algeria for terrorism, an admission that was brushed off by Canadian immigration officials.




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Thursday, December 30, 2004

America First

Quote from a NYT article today:

But the aid effort that has now begun presents Mr. Bush with an opportunity to
battle, with action rather than just words, the perception that took root in his first four years in office that he is all about America first.
I am all behind getting aid to the folks who are suffering as a result of the tsunamis, but let's get one thing straight: I don't just want the perception that our President is all about America first, I want that to be reality.

The Preisident of the United States should be about America first. Not America only, but certainly America first. That is his job. Likewise, French leaders (for example) should be about France first. It is absurd to suggest otherwise.

Plus, the author is really saying little here except: Liberals don't like Bush but if he does what they want here I will think less poorly of him. How is that news? Isn't that true of all policies always.


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N-O, no

In Washington, Call for a Second Election

Dino Rossi, having fallen behind in the last recount, has called on his opponent, Christine Gregoire to call for a re-election. Her spokesman's response: "N-o, no".

Mark me down with Ms. Gregoire on this one. I have some serious reservations about the re-recounting in Washington, but Mr. Rossi's stated principle: "People need to know for sure that the next governor actually won the election" is a farce.

When Rossi was ahead by 42 votes he was on CNN. Judy "Woodruff asked if this election wasn't basically a tie. Rossi responded that a tie is when you actually tie. When you have more votes than the other person, you win.

That smart ass comment has now come back to haunt Rossi, as well it should. Plus, if Rossi *really* believed in the prinicple stated above he would have called for a re-election when he was up by 42 votes, not just when the tables were turned.

Sorry, Dino, they may have stolen the election from you, but you screwed yourself.


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Tidbit (Shooting Yourself in the Foot)

From 2002:

Namibia's president, the loutish Sam Nujoma, is upset by the sanctions that the EU has imposed on the Mugabe regime.He is suggesting that the African Union retaliate with economic sanctions of its own on Europe.

Plus, I just really liked this line:

Mr Nujoma, 73, known for his verbal assaults on homosexuals and white farmers,...





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Tidbit (Running for School Board)

Reading isn't fundamental after all, according to Jim Patch. Patch is running for the Des Moines, Iowa, school board, and he has the support of the local teachers union. The Des Moines Register prints this excerpt of a discussion between patch and radio talk-show host Jonathan Narcisse:

Patch: "I would like to see us be accountable, but as far as tying graduation to
reading, we're going to have a lot of architects and artists and doctors but there who aren't going to graduate from high school if we do that. The fact is, a higher percentage of those three occupations have this word-blindness or dyslexic problem."

Narcisse: So you're saying if a kid can't read, we still ought to consider, if he meets other criteria, giving that kid a high school diploma?

Patch: "I think we're going to have to."

Patch apparently never saw a problem for which the answer is not: surrender. Yeah, God forbid we have more artists without high school diplomas. I know how the artisitic community can be really snobby about which prep school one attended.

But the killer comment is "we're going to have a lot of...doctors who aren't going to graduate from High School". No, Mr. Patch, we aren't if we can keep people like you off our school boards.


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Death Toll Rises

It now stands at over 115,000 dead. This number will rise as communities deal with food and water shortages and outbreaks of disease related to to both the dead and the stagnant water.

My family lived through losing everything in a natural disaster and I can vouch for the amazing work the Red Cross does in these situations. Please condider giving.


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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Moonbat Prediction

Ramsey Clarke to defend Saddam

Ramsey Clark, for those who don't know, is Lord Emperor of the Moonbat left. It is only a matter of time before his minions begin ramping up the "Saddam wasn't so bad; he made the trains run on time unlike that fascist chimp Bush" rhetoric. I'll start the bidding at Thursday, 11:00 AM.

Here is a quote to get the left up and running:

Clark also said the US itself must be tried for the November assault on Falluja, destruction of houses, torture in prisons and its role in the deaths of thousands of Iraqis in the war.

Max



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The Perils of Polling

From 2002:

The Senate Ethics Committee severely admonished Torricelli for his dealing with convicted businessman David Chang. Does this make you more or less likely to vote for Torricelli? Unsurprisingly, 46 percent said less likely. Unsurprisingly, 44 percent said it would have little effect. What was shocking is that 5 percent of voters–and 9 percent of Democrats–said Torricelli’s ethical outrages made it more likely they would vote for him. Where do pollsters find these people?


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Spam Subject Line of the Day

Subject: Denudation Endosperm


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Starting them off on the Right Foot

"Eunike" Baby Names of 2004
True story: I used to work in the city where I worked with a guy named Abc pronounced "Uhhbeesee". We had a customer named Fragile pronounced "fraa-G-lay". Fragile's mom got his name off the side of a box that said "Fragile: Do not Drop".

Anyway, here are some more doozies. Click Read More.

Herbs and spices: Curry, Nutmeg, Sorel

Ethnic food: Tahini, Farfalla, Sushi

Drinks: Chianti, Chardonnay, Hennessey

Brands: Ikea, Disney, Infiniti

Peaceful: Zurrenity, Phaith, Ohm

More classics at the baby center.


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Tidbit (Those Wacky Commies)

"North Korea says it is setting up a 51-square-mile walled enclave to serve as a capitalist economic zone," Knight Ridder reports from Tokyo. "The 'special administrative region' will have its own Legislature, courts, and casinos, and will use US dollars as its currency and permit visa-free access to everyone except North Koreans."

Of course, there's already a capitalist zone that permits access to everyone except North Koreans. It's called the rest of the world.


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Tidbit (Quota Killer)

From 2002:

A gunman is on the loose in Montgomery County, Md., having shot and killed a man Wednesday night and four people yesterday morning. For the Washington Post, this is an occasion to celebrate diversity. Seriously. The headline and subheadline on an article about the victims read: "Arbitrary Victims, Identical Fate: County's Growing Diversity Reflected in Those Gunned Down."


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Tidbit (Stupidity Watch)

From WSJ Best of the Web in 2002

Here's a promo for CNN's "American Morning With Paula Zahn: "Will Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's future be determined at the ballot box rather than the battlefield? Iraqi citizens are preparing to go to the polls to decide whether Hussein stays in office. We bring you the story in part one of our week-long series, 'Iraq, You Decide.' "


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Priority One: Shun Jews; Priority Two: Get Disaster Help

Sri Lanka rejects Israel rescuers

On the other hand, maybe the Sri Lankens are on to something. You just know those pesky Jews had a plan to wait for a major disaster then send in a team of 60 soldiers to take over the country of 20,000,000 people.


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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tidbit (And you just know he was super polite, too.)

Mon Sep 9,10:16 AM ET STOCKHOLM (Reuters)

Swedish police must wish all criminals were as naive as the Halmstad robber.
The 47-year-old man walked into the post office of the small town in southern Sweden, told the cashier he was armed and demanded a bag of cash -- plus 350 million crowns ($37.2 million) to be paid into his bank account, whose number he handed her on a piece of paper.

Police had no trouble tracking him down and made a speedy arrest, the Swedish news agency TT reported Monday.


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Anna Benson pic

Nice portrait pic of Anna Benson.

pic from AnnaBenson.net

More Anna Benson pics here


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Chris Benson's wife, Anna Benson

Yet another Anna Benson pic. You can order her catalog at http://www.annabenson.net/shopping.html

pic of Anna Benson is from annabenson.net

More Anna Benson pics here


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Kris Benson's Wife, Anna Benson

Your daily dose of Anna Benson pics


Pic from annabenson.net

More pics and a thread of anna benson pics here


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Ohio Recount: 285 Down, 118,457 to go

Ohio Recount Ends, Shows Vote Closer

Press on Democrats. Sure, at this rate it'll take 22,444 more days to get John Kerry declared the winner, but your vindication in 2066 will be all the more sweet for the time put into it.


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The Anna Benson Pics Update

Our most popular feature has now become Anna Benson pics. Here's three more Anna Benson pics. Enjoy.


Another Anna Benson pic here

and Here

and several more here

This Anna Benson pic is from FHM.com


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Tidbit (Dan Rather cheap shot)

Former CIA Boss Tenet Calls CBS Memos 'Slam Dunk'

(2004-09-15) -- Former CIA director George Tenet today defended CBS news reporter Dan Rather for his use of potentially inauthentic documents to prove that then-Lt. George W. Bush sought special treatment to evade service in the Air National Guard in the early 1970s.

"Those memos are a slam-dunk," said Mr. Tenet, gesturing broadly, "Dan Rather did the due diligence of seeking document experts who agreed with his predetermined opinion. What more can you ask?"


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Tidbit (Classic Debate Maneuvering)

LOWERING EXPECTATIONS FOR DEBATE, WHITE HOUSE SAYS BUSH HAS I.Q. OF 67

Spokesman Shows Footage of President Tumbling from Bike

In what some political insiders were calling an attempt to lower expectations in the days leading up to the first presidential debate, the White House today announced that President Bush has an I.Q. of 67.

""The president is far, far less intelligent than is commonly thought,"" White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. ""Even the simplest tasks remain well beyond his reach.""

Reinforcing the impression that the president will be overmatched in Thursday's debate with Sen. John Kerry, Mr. McClellan showed reporters never-before-seen footage of Mr. Bush oafishly tumbling from his mountain bike.

""What a moron,"" Mr. McClellan said.

The White House spokesman said that Mr. Bush cannot possibly be expected to do well in a debate with Sen. Kerry, who Mr. McClellan said ""has an I.Q. of 193"" and ""is widely considered the best debater on the planet.""

But within minutes of the White House press conference, Kerry spokesman Joe Lockhart fired back, telling reporters, ""John Kerry is much stupider than he looks.""

As evidence of Mr. Kerry's idiocy, Mr. Lockhart referred to the floral-patterned windsurfing pants the senator wears while enjoying his favorite water sport.

""His ass looks enormous in those pants,"" Mr. Lockhart said. ""What kind of a moron would leave the house with his ass looking like that?""


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Tidbit (State Department Slips; Makes Clear Statement)

From Oct 27th:

QUESTION: Did you hear that Castro fell?

MR. BOUCHER: We heard that Castro fell. There are, I think, various reports that he broke a leg, an arm, a foot, and other things, and I'd guess you'd have to check with the Cubans to find out what's broken about Mr. Castro. We, obviously, have expressed our views about what's broken in Cuba.

QUESTION: Do you wish him a speedy recovery?

MR. BOUCHER: No.


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UN Meddling

Day two is a little early for this kind of grandstanding: U.N. official slams U.S. as 'stingy' over aid.

This line is typical of a certain mindset:

But U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested
that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.

How true. If only we would allow the UN to determine the proper level of taxation for us, they would be able to do so much more. Keep in mind as this UN toady lectures us that the UN is the institution that engaged in over 20 billion dollars of fraud putting money in Saddam's pockets rather than those of the Iraqi people in need of food and medicine.

PS: our initial aid package is $15 million dollars, almost four times the initial aid package of the entire European Union. The US gets singled out, however, because her tax rates don't meet Jan Egeland's demanding requirements.


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Friends in Need

The death count from the tsunami's is now estimated at 60,000. More folks dead from one day of tidal waves than the US lost in the entire Vietnam war.

Be thankful for what you have and reach out to help those in need. My wife's family lost their farm and house to flooding 11 years ago. It is hard and expensive to recover. The American Red Cross did a wonderful job of providing aid. Please consider giving.


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Re: H-man's Who is the Bigger Whore Post

I promise there will be more Anna Benson pics by tomorrow.

That's right, more pics of AnnaBenson.

Also, pics of Kris Benson's wife.

Some people misspell Kris as Chris in which case there would be pics of Chris Benson's wife.

Clearly, I will win this contest.


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Priorities

Well, the elections in the Ukraine are over (though the court battles are not, apparently). Isn't it great to see emerging democracies learning from the United States that just because you lose an election doesn't mean you can't spend months attempting to litigate your way to victory.

Anyhoo, recall that in the last round of voting there was widespread voter fraud and the attempted assasination of Victor Yushchenko both on behalf of Moscow backed anti-western candidate. Showing the nuance and subtlety for which liberals think themselves famous, Tolles condemned the Bush administration for questioning the obviously bogus results of the previous election there. The chain of logic goes something like this: Colin Powell works for Bush, Tolles can't accept that Bush won, Bush is bad, therefore Bush cannot speak out against obvious electoral fraud. See it is OK if an openly anti-American candidate uses a foreign power to help clearly cheat his way to victory while using the secret service of the same foreign power to attempt to assasinate your rival. What is not OK is for President Bush to point to the fraud. Gotta have your priorities straight, you know.

In a particularly chuckleworthy comment, Tolles says: "Russia had better stay the hell out of Ukraine's business as well." This is AFTER Russia had helped throw the election and attempted to assasinate the opposition. Good call. 'Cause those two things are almost, *almost* as worthy of condemnation as Bush standing up for free and fair elections.


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New NotSoMuch Reader Poll

The recent new porn-friendly format of our site begs a new question:

Who's a bigger whore?

Is it Anna Benson, who threatened to sleep with every New York Met?

Or is it Max, who continues to lure unsuspecting readers to our blog with the promise of more Benson pics?

After one precinct reporting, we're showing 1 vote for Max, none for Mrs. Benson.


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The Tidbits

Long before wasting my time with this blog, I wasted my time by e-mailing "tidbits" to my friends every day. A tidbit is any stupid thing that catches my eye. For the next week or so, I am going to post some of my favorites from 2004 (credited where I can remember the source.)


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Monday, December 27, 2004

He's Back

Hey, Tolles is commenting on a lot of posts today. For whatever reason, he doesn't mention his blog when he posts. So I'll mention it for him. Check it out sometime.


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The Spirit of Christmas

Ohio Couple Plunk Down $85 to Have Pew for Christmas Eve

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Joe and Kathy Tricaso, who live in the Akron suburb of Green, spent $85 in a church auction last summer to reserve a pew. Their investment paid off. The parking lot at Queen of Heaven Catholic Church was filling fast when they arrived an hour before Friday's 4 p.m. service.

"The rule is you're not allowed to save seats, and kind, loving Christians can get pretty mean-spirited if you tell them they can't sit down when they see an empty seat on a pew," Joe Tricaso said. He said one reason for bidding on the reserved pew during the church's Summer Fun Fest was to keep his mom, Doris, from arguing with the ushers about seat availability on Christmas Eve. The couple also wanted the family to sit together.

"We agreed that no matter how much the pew would have cost, it would have been worth it to save my mom from getting into a fight," Tricaso said.

A couple of years ago I would have thought this article was a joke. This year, however, click read more
we almost had a fight break out in our church. The church seats about 1000. At 3:15 it was standing room only for a 4:00 mass. By 3:30 there were several hundred people standing. There was one woman saving an entire pew for her family. So literally hundreds of people were standing including quite a few infirm elderly folks and this woman was blocking off a row of 12 seats for her family. Some fairly serious words were exchanged (quietly) and I am fairly certain a fight was only averted because the man in question couldn’t bring himself to hit a woman. He certainly wasn’t embarrassed about having it out in church as he went on looking to enlist help getting her removed.

Justice came when Father decided to start mass 25 minutes early (there were now almost as many people standing as sitting and really no way to get anyone else in. So the woman found herself attending mass alone in an empty pew with about 1000 people standing and staring at her. Her family showed up right at 4:00 and had to “excuse me” past all of them only to find themselves 25 minutes late.



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Bring Out Your Dead

Tolles is back and weighs in on my chiding the NYTs with this line:

In all, 1,067 people are said to have died trying to flee East Germany's Communist dictatorship. Are *said* to have died? What, is there some question that maybe they were actually magically transported to fantasy island?
Tolles points out:

"are said to have died" refers to the difficulty in determining the exact number of people killed. It's not a cop-out as to whether or not there were actually killings. I suspect that you know that.
True, true. But... Click read more
there are a couple of problems here. The NYT actually does a really good job of nailing these things down. Where the true number is unknown they will say something like: "While the exact number of dead is unknown" or "With more than XXX known dead" or something along those lines. Look at today's reporting re: the Tsunami, for example ("...killing more than 19,000"). They would never say: "over 19,000 are said to have died" precisely because that wording minimizes the deaths and places the emphasis on the "claim" of some number of dead.

Plus, the idea that the exact number isn't known is a little silly given the fact that we commonly use exact numbers for say the Vietnam War or the Civil War. There is no way those figures reach some transcendent level of accuracy while the number of people killed by the East German police is shrouded in mystery. There are commonly accepted numbers and we simply use them with the knowledge that they are reflecting order of magnitude rather than metaphysical certainty on the digit place.


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Headline of the Day

Professor objects to mountain sex


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Life Goes On

Just googled Sumatra to read about the Tsunami and this was the sponsored link:

Sexy Sumatra Singles
View photos, personals and hot
profiles of local singles.
www.realnameremoved.com

As Yogi Berra once said: only in America.


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Another Classic NYT piece

Memorial to Berlin Wall Victims Divides the City Again

BERLIN, Dec. 24 - Fifteen years after the fall of the wall, Berlin finally has a memorial to the many people shot and killed while trying to escape from the East to the West. But rather than a source of pride and satisfaction, the memorial is proving to be the cause of contention and conflict.

Unfortunately a pretty high percentage of readers just look at the opening paragraph of a news article, then move on. Those folks would come away with the idea that the memorial is a source of conflict. But, what does the article actually say?
click Read More
In all, 1,067 people are said to have died trying to flee East Germany's Communist dictatorship.

Are *said* to have died? What, is there some question that maybe they were actually magically transported to fantasy island?

The memorial, put up by Alexandra Hildebrandt, the director of the private
Checkpoint Charlie Museum, which receives some 700,000 visitors a year, is disliked by the Berlin authorities, who find it unhistorical and symbolically inaccurate, the wrong design in the wrong place. They also do not like it that it is a memorial in one of the city's most visible locations established by a private individual according to her private inclinations, rather than one that has the seal of approval of Berlin itself.

So the contention and conflict in the opening graf is simply that the government doesn't like the memorial. I can understand that. If I were in the German government I probably wouldn't want people pointing out recent history either. Much better to have a memorial over which the government has control so they can control the story. But the memorial is unhistorical, right?

"This is not the location where people died," Rainer Klemke, the head of the memorials department of Berlin's cultural senate, said in a telephone interview,
arguing the unsuitability of Checkpoint Charlie as a place for a memorial to the dead.

That is the unhistorical bit: No fair, this memorial is not on the exact site where we killed those 1,000 people so it should be dismantled.

"Mrs. Hildebrandt is an artist and doesn't have a single historian in her house," Mr. Klemke continued. "She doesn't have a scientific adviser, so she can think about something in bed on Saturday night and do it on Monday, and of course that is the core problem of the whole discussion - whether a state or a city can allow a single person to take over responsibility, regardless of whether what she is doing is good or bad."


The "core problem" seems to be that Mrs. Hildebrandt is suffering from a bout of freedom of speech. Incidentally, the memorial is a field of crosses, one for each of the dead. But if she had an historian or "scientific advisor" in her house (sort of creepy, no) perhaps they could have made it more historically accurate in some totally unspecified way. And what is this bit about "allow[ing] a single person to take over responsibility..."? Has Mrs. Hildebrandt somehow prevented the German government from addressing the dead? Newsflash: here's is how you prevent her from taking over responsibitlity. Deal with the issue yourselves.

Turns out the bank is going to cancel her lease on the site (no reporting from the NYT on why).

Check the rest of the article. Klemke is the only person quoted as having a problem with the memorial and he is a government bureacrat in charge of memorials. There is no controversy and contention. There is a bureacrat who sees the private sector intruding on what he believes is solely his domain. Wouldn't a better headline for this non-story be: German Government Harrasses Widowed Artist?





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Too good to pass up

From an article in the Washington Post:

Kanfer noted that since Response Dynamics took the account, "the College Republican budget has increased twenty-five-fold." The mailings, he said, use "the same lists that every Republican fundraiser basically mails -- gun owners, pro-life activists, businessmen who don't like attorneys. It would be absurd to think we have lists called 'dementia people.' "
Yes, it *would* be absurd to think they *called* the list "dementia people".


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Tidbit (True story from AP wires on 9/29)

Psychic dogs smell Bush victory

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Psychic dogs belonging to actor Sylvester Stallone's mother have projected President George Bush the winner in November, the Los Angeles Times said Monday.

The paper said the dogs foresee the president will beat Democratic challenger John Kerry by 15 percent [Just goes to show how dumb these dogs are. 15%].

Jackie Stallone said her animals also predict California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will take advantage of a future constitutional amendment allowing foreign-born U.S. citizens to serve as president, and take on Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, in the presidential campaign of 2008. However, the dogs can't tell yet who will win that race.

The Times said Mama Stallone's dogs correctly predicted in July 2000 Bush would capture the White House that year. They also called Schwarzenegger's victory -- "by a major margin" -- in California's recall election last year.

On the other hand, the paper said, the dogs predicted Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant would go to prison. Prosecutors in Colorado recently dropped sexual assault charges against Bryant.

Jackie Stallone has said her dogs channel messages from the spirit world and send them to her telepathically.


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Tidbit (If I had a Nickel for every time...)

Romanian Man Mistakes Penis For "Chicken Neck;" Chops it Off, Feeds it To Dog

When someone sends you a link about a man "mistaking his penis for a chicken neck" and then cutting it off and feeding it to his dog before he realized his "mistake," you link that story.

That's my policy:

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - A elderly Romanian man mistook his penis for a chicken's neck, cut it off and his dog rushed up and ate it, the state Rompres news agency says.
The report on Monday said 67 year-old Constantin Mocanu, from a village near the southeastern town of Galati, rushed out into his yard in his underwear to kill a noisy chicken keeping him awake at night.

"I confused it with the chicken's neck," Mocanu, who was admitted to the emergency hospital in Galati, was quoted as saying. "I cut it ... and the dog rushed and ate it."

Doctors said the man, who was brought in by an ambulance bleeding heavily, was now out of danger.
"Out of danger?" That's one way to put it.

Now, I never mistook my penis for a chicken neck, but I did once erroneously believe that one of my testicles was a tangerine that would be very tasty blended up into a margarita, so I can sympathize with this guy.

Yes, I lost a testicle, but I did invent Mangerine Margarita Mix, and I'm now well on my way to being a multi-millionaire. As my Pappy used to say, no door closes without a window being opened.

My time is far too precious to make up jokes about this, but I can make up a few punchlines. Fill in the straight lines as you see fit.

Top Ten Punchlines About Man Who Mistook His Penis For A Chicken Neck and Fed It To His Dog

10. "In fairness, you can understand my mistake. It was up every morning at the crack of dawn waking the neighbors. And, also, it had bright red wattles."

To see the rest go to Ace's site: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/048621.php


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Tidbit (on "Rathergate")

"It's possible that CBS was flim-flammed".


It's possible, you understand. In theory. Hypothetically, there's an infinitesimally small chance that these are forgeries. More likely, Jerry Killian had a MS Word computer fall through a temporal-distortion wormhole; he then printed up his "true feelings" on Bush and gave them to an unknown, shadowy livestock enthusiast named "Lucy Ramirez."

I am pretty sure this one was from http://www.ace.mu.nu/


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tidbit (wait for the punchline)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The wife of Portland Trail Blazers center Arvydas Sabonis has been charged a second time with drunken driving, violating her court agreement to avoid alcohol, officials said Monday.

Ingrida Sabonis, who turned 30 last Tuesday, was arrested near her home on Sunday after the Washington County sheriff's office received a cell phone call about an erratic driver.

Her blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.26 percent, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent, said sheriff's spokesman Cleo Howell.

Ingrida Sabonis had been cited May 16 for drunken driving, the week after her husband's Lithuanian parents had come to watch him play an NBA game for the first time. She was driving to pick up the couple's four children when police received calls about an erratic driver.


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I guess we have different notions of "in the mood"

An added benefit of Smart Playlists is that they can reduce the chances of having your iPod ruin an intimate moment.

Bob Angus, the Columbia Business School student, became enthusiastic at the mention of the Smart Playlist function and wanted to hear more.

Once when he and his girlfriend were together in his bedroom, he said, his iPod started blasting the Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn."

"I jumped out of bed as fast as I could," he recalled. "But it had already wrecked the mood." In the future, he said, he will try not to let his iPod run wild.


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Tidbit (Hughes H. Christ)

From 2002:
Last night I caught an interview with new LAPD top cop Bill Bratton on CNN. I was surprised to hear the reporter use "Jesus" totally unnecessarily, and disrespectfully, during one of his questions. I just checked the transcript and it looks like the censor got to it. In the published transcript, "Jesus" is replaced with "Hughes." (Am I missing something?) This is how the question now reads: "A lot of people will think, Hughes, you know, after a multi decade career, he'd want to just, you know, write books, retire, you know, have a lot of fun. What do you miss?"


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Sunday, December 26, 2004

Another Smoking Anna Benson pic



Anna Benson pic from Annabenson.net

More Anna Benson pics here

Here

Here

Here


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Nice Anna Benson pic

Optical illusion: Stare at this picture of Anna Benson long enough and you will see books behind her.


More Anna Benson pics here

This pic is from FHM.com


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Saturday, December 25, 2004

Tidbit (Priorities)

Also with us is Adolf Ogi, a Swiss who is a major player in the U.N. and other bodies. I have glanced at his bio and seen that he once headed the Swiss Ski Federation. So, when I meet him, I say, “You’re a skier, aren’t you?” He answers, “Not really. I am an amateur skier. But my main work has lain elsewhere: For example, I was president of Switzerland, in two separate terms.”


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Friday, December 24, 2004

Tidbit (Creepy note in Clinton's Book)

Page 742: Strom Thurmond, 94, tells Chelsea, "If were 70 years younger, I'd court you!"


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Tidbit (Geez, You Let her in front of a Mic for two Minutes)

From Instapundit:

JANET RENO SAYS that you don't deal with a crazed, weapon-accumulating,
charismatic leader by sending in tanks. Sorry -- I'm suffering an irony overload
right now.


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Tidbit (Ohhh, *That* Communist Party)

"I couldn't believe it," says Valentine. "The street address for the Tennessee chapter of the CPUSA is the exact same address as the Nashville Peace and Justice Center." Sensing his readers might benefit from this information, Valentine took the story on air last Friday. Not everyone was happy he did so.
"Matt Leber, the peace center's director, called in," Valentine told me. "At first he denied any affiliation with the Communist party. He said they weren't any Communists within ten miles of him. I pointed out they have the same address as his organization. There was stunned silence. Then he admitted that the CPUSA is a member organization, but said that didn't mean anything."


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Tidbit (But the Rest of the Story was Good

The Chicago Tribune published the following correction last Tuesday (4/22 I think):

An article on Christians and Jews in Perspective on Sunday reflected the views of the author, but may have left the mistaken impression that all Jews refer to matzo during a seder as "the unity." In fact, that is a phrase used primarily by Messianic Jews. In addition, Jews no longer sacrifice animals. The practice ended nearly 2,000 years ago. Some Jews also objected to the notion that Christians see "references to Jesus" in the seder. Those references are not intended by mainstream Jews.

There were also several mistakes in a graphic on Page 3 of Perspective. Israel was mistakenly referred to as a "constitutional monarchy"; it is a parliamentary democracy. Yemen has a president, not a king. And the year 1979 marked the Islamic revolution in Iran, not Iran's independence as a nation.


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Tidbit (Warning Labels)

The gold award went to NYTOL sleep aid medicine for their: “Warning: May cause drowsiness.”.

In second place was the TIRAMISU dessert pot from Tesco. Buyers are urged: “Do not turn upside down” — printed on the bottom of the pack, of course.

Running Tesco a close third were American Airlines snack NUTS, packets which include the instruction to stunned passengers: “Open packet, eat nuts.” Click Read More.

Other finalists included a Marks & Spencer BREAD PUDDING warning: “Product will be hot after heating.”

Then there was the message on a pack of peanuts: “Warning: Contains peanuts.”

Sainsbury’s tell buyers of their SALMON loin: “Warning: Contains fish.”

And the blurb on Boots Children’s COUGH MEDICINE orders: “Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication.”

There were many more examples that tested the patience of the judges.

A range of FROZEN DINNERS came with the helpful: “Serving suggestion — defrost.”

And on a bar of hand soap it said: “Directions: Use like regular soap.”

Lexlips warns on their LIP ENHANCING GLOSS: “For external use on the oral lips only.”

And, on several Christmas lights, instructions order: “For indoor and outdoor use only.”


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Tidbit (No Bias Here)

From MSNBC:

"The report revealed that in a previously undisclosed secret diplomatic mission, Saudi Arabia won a commitment from the Taliban to expel bin Laden in 1998. But a clash between the Taliban’s leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and Saudi officials scuttled the arrangement, and Bush did not follow up."
Bush didn't follow up?

From Austin, Texas?

What the fuck was he supposed to do? Don his famous cowboy garb and "Yeee-haw!" his way into fucking Kabul and lasso hisself some terrorist?

Who knew that the President of the United States had, in 1998, delegated terrorist-lassoin' activities to the governor of Texas?

By the way, MSNBC apparently has corrected their original error. They deleted the reference to Bush not following up.

So, did they say that Clinton did not follow up?

Nope. They said the United States did not follow up.

Odd, that. When they think it's a Bush failure, they personalize the failure. When it turns out to be a Clinton failure, it's a failure of all Americans.


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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Tidbit (Cheap Excuse to post Jeri Ryan Pic)

Backstory: Jack Ryan dropped out of the Illinois senate race due to allegations he had tried to pressure his wife into having sex with him in public at a swingers club.

If I was Jack Ryan, every answer I gave at a debate would begin this way: "That's an excellent question, and one I often pondered in the quiet aftermath of a vigorous sex session with my former wife, Hollywood actress Jeri Ryan."


Or, as a friend noted: "Dude, if I was married to Jeri Ryan, I'd probably want witnesses too.


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A Man on a Mission

Earlier this year Bill Cosby took some heat for saying some pretty obvious things like:


Cosby blasted "lower-economic people" for "not holding up their end," for buying kids $500 sneakers instead of "Hooked on Phonics."
Other comments pointed to some fairly common pathologies in lower class communities (black or white) like poor grammar, lack of concern over education, and the epidemic nature of single motherhood (critisizing both the women for making themselves available and the men for abdicating responsibility).

Now he is back in public again and if anything is turning it up a little. Newsweek's idea of a hard hitting story on the subject:


Does Cosby Help?
He's railed at black kids for choosing bling over books. What they think—and what Cos must do to reach them
Step one: Miss the entire point of Cosby's message. He is not speaking to the kids. He is speaking to their parents and grandparents and saying: you are responsible for these kids; clean up your act, help them clean up theirs.

Step two: interview hoodlum kids about whether Cosby's message resonates with them.

Kenny was one of several young offenders called together, at NEWSWEEK's request, by the Fortune Society, a nonprofit that works with at-risk youths and ex-cons.
None saw salvation at the end of Cosby's crusade.


Good thinking. On the one hand we could listen to the lessons of a black man who grew up in the face of far greater adversity than what kids today face, a man with a PhD in education who devoted his life to teaching people through the medium of television and went out of his way to promote the idea that blacks could be integral upstanding members of society, all the while becoming fantastically successful. On the other hand we can listen to "Kenny, 17, a onetime stick-up man".

"Times are different" than in Cosby's heyday, said Sonia, 20. "Back then even if [men] worked at a factory they'd get up every day and go to a job in a suit.
Nowadays ... most black males don't have good enough jobs."


Yeah, the 50s and 60s were heady times for blacks in America. Truly the glory years. See, because Cosby is of a certain age, he is far too polite to lay into these idjits with the truth. And because of the very ignorance Cosby complains of, these kids genuinely believe that life in America today is much worse for blacks than the America of 50 years ago.

The article goes on to (in the parlance of modern liberalism) "educate" Cosby about all the problems kids today face completely missing the point that what he is doing is addressing all these issues head on.

It's always easier to make excuses than to take action. Just ask Newsweek.


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Tidbit (At least he didn't claim to invent the TV)

"In my family, when we were little, television was somewhat of a bonding experience. When we were young my father was very busy, he came home late every night and he didn't see us much. But when he came home, we'd watch The Three Stooges together, Abbott and Costello. We thought that was just terrific stuff.
We'd just sit there and watch it together."--Howard Dean, interview with People
magazine, Jan. 8
"In general, I'm not a fan of TV. I grew up without a TV."--Howard Dean, same
interview



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Tidbit (Quote of the Year)

"The fact is, President Clinton approved every snatch that he was ever asked to review."
--Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror by Richard A. Clarke (Page 145)

Didn't verify this 'cause it is too good to check.


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Tidbit (No bias here)

Thursday's (4/22/04) New York Times misidentified GOP Senate candidate Pete Coors as a Ku Klux Klan member who murdered a black sharecropper.


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Tidbit (Classic bit of Weather-related Scare Mongering)

"There is a 50 percent probability that the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season will have above-normal activity, the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration NOAA) said in its outlook," Reuters reports.

So what's the probability it'll have below-normal activity?


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Orwell Would be Proud

I have no personal stake in who becomes Governor of Washington. I do have a rooting interest, however, in the integrity of our voting procedures and the English language. So I find the following concerning:

Vote Recount for Washington Governor Tips to Democrat

"It's time for Democrats somewhere to draw a line in the sand and say we are not going to let bully Republican tactics determine who our governor is or how an election is going to be determined," he said.
The "bully Republican tactics" included: following the laws on the books as of election day, fighting the inclusion of over 10,000 ballots "found" two days before the election results were to be certified, and fighting the "enhancement" of hundreds of votes before the first recount. See, the deal is: when Republicans stick by the rules of the game and try to prevent fraud they are bullies, when Democrats change the rules of the game and do so in ways that pretty much ensure fraud, they are heroes. Here is more Repulbican bullying from the NY Times piece:

The Democrats repeatedly went to court to challenge the Republicans. The party's
communications director, Kirstin Brost, fired off a daily stream of news releases with biting words for Mr. Rossi, calling him a thief and the "accidental governor-elect" and deriding him for his "HypocRossi."
Whoops that wasn't the Republicans. Well, I'm sure the Republicans were bullying in some way, I mean they tried to claim victory on the grounds that they won the count and recount, right? Come on. Oh yeah: the NY Times piece features a picture of Democrat protestors one of whom is holding a sign that says: "GOP Wants to Change the Rules". Perfect.

Here is some more of the clearly fair and routine voting procedures from an article by John Fund. After allowing the newly discovered 10,000 absentee ballots to be counted, Rossi still held a lead. Then:

A local judge allowed Democratic Party officials to obtain the names and addresses of 723 people who had cast provisional ballots but were in danger of not being counted because of mismatching or missing signatures. Democratic officials then contacted voters and asked them who they had voted for in the race for governor. If the answer was Ms. Gregoire, the voter was allowed to correct his or her signature and thus have their ballot counted. Republicans belatedly began contacting their voters. The result was a net gain of some 400 votes for Ms. Gregoire. Mr. Rossi's lead fell to 261 votes.
Think about the numbers here. King County split 60-40 for Gregoire. From 723 votes she could expect 433 while Rossi could expect 290. Gregoire GAINED 400 votes. So either the Republicans didn't catch any of the 290 (Fund suggests they got a late start but doesn't indicate vote totals) or these 723 went 560 to Gregoire and 160 to Rossi. Given the fact that it is now clear that Democrats have difficulty engaging in the simple act of voting, perhaps these numbers are accurate, but they are certainly suspect.

Think also about this: "Democratic officials then contacted voters and asked them who they had voted for in the race for governor. If the answer was Ms. Gregoire, the voter was allowed to correct his or her signature and thus have their ballot counted." Do you want political parties calling your home and asking who you voted for? Would you trust them make it right? I would be highly suspicious if either party called me and claimed they were trying to validate my vote. Sidenote: I'm sure intimidation could never be a factor here, right? Remember when Republicans wanted to do nasty stuff like verify identification at polling places? Remember how intimidating it was suppposed to be to actually have to produce ID? Now we have people calling you at your home to verify your actual vote.

At that point, the state began a mandatory machine recount of all ballots. But in King County the recount went beyond running the ballots through the counting machines. Officials there "enhanced" some 300 votes that had been rejected by the machines, in some cases altering them with white-out or filling in the ovals on the optical scan ballots. Again, these additional ballots benefited Ms. Gregoire. In 38 of the state's 39 counties, only 208 net votes were added to either Mr. Rossi or Ms. Gregoire in the recount. Then came King County, which represents 30% of the state's votes. Ms. Gregoire, who won 58% of the overall King County vote, harvested a net gain of 245 votes--more than the changes in the rest of the state for both candidates combined[my emphasis]. At that point, with Mr. Rossi holding only a 42-vote lead, Democrats put up the money to pay for a third recount that would be conducted by hand, a process that most election observers, including those in charge of King County, view as less accurate than a machine count.
I guess you can make a case for filling in the ovals a little, but I'd prefer to have a disinterested machine determining votes. Altering them with white out? Wait...how is that ensuring every vote is counted. That sounds like guessing which one of two bubbles the person "meant" to fill in and deleting the other. That is less "count every vote" than it is "pick up votes where ever possible."

On Dec. 7, more than a month after the election, King County said it had found 573 absentee ballots which had been rejected because they lacked or had improper signatures.
Missing signatures goes back to one of the fundimental issues: why bother having any voting laws at all. If the law says you must have a signature, then require a signature. Don't go back after the fact and change the law so that folks without signatures get a second chance. What about the 50% of folks who didn't vote at all? Do they get a second chance now that they know the outcome to go back and vote.

Improper signatures is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Improper signatures sounds a lot like: someone else signed my name. There is a double problem there. First, vote fraud. Second, the 80-20 chance that the vote fraud selected the candidate you would have voted for had you gotten off your ass and voted. 80-20 because the idea that vote fraud is evenly divided between Ds and Rs is laughable.

In fact, the whole concept of Ds arguing R voting fraud is laughable. The D machine churns out untold numbers of illegal votes each election cycle as my wife's dead grandfather who to this day votes in Illinois can attest. Mayor Daley the elder bragged about being able to add 100,000 votes to the D column given two hours notice on election night. In 2000 the polls stayed open in downtown St. Louis hours after they closed in the county due to a court ruling. The next day it was discovered that the "man who filed the lawsuit" was in fact dead. And had been for a while.

On top of all this, the actual hand tabulation of the rest of the ballots in King County also saw a change in procedures midway through the count last week. Officials announced that they were overturning the policy of not counting ballots that had ovals filled in for both candidates ("over votes") and now would send these ballots to the canvassing board for final review. Officials said this represented no change in the rules, but the fact is that ballots are now being treated differently depending at what point in the recount they were examined.

So after all the other counties are counted, the most heavily democratic county gets to add in 10,000 votes, then gets to find another 723 votes after that, then gets to "enhance" 300 votes, then gets to add votes with "improper signatures", then gets to change the rules for counting votes.

But Dems in all seriousness talk about Republican bullying tactics and "GOP Want[ing] to Change the Rules". Priceless.


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Adventures in Customer Service (Sears Sucks Edition) Volume One

Bumped to top of Queue

Funny thing about customer service at Sears. They don't have any. If customer service means "serving your customers", Sears simply gave up this practice years ago and replaced it with its inverse. Let's call it "Sears Employee Service". It works like this:


When the lovely wife (LW) and I married, my mother gave us a washer, a dryer, and a service contract on them from Sears. LW and I moved to Houston. Part of the service contract was that they would come out to our new place in Houston and hook up the washer and dryer for us. Pretty neat deal, I thought. Problem one: we had to schedule a service call almost three weeks in advance.

The spot for the washer and dryer was a really tight fit and the vent hole out of our house was on the right side of the dryer. The service guy came out took one look at the external vent and said he couldn't do it because we needed a plastic hose rather than a metal one. The plastic hose would come out of the back of the dryer, snake around to the side and go connect to the external vent. A metal one won't. They are not allowed for insurance reasons to install plastic ones.

So when LW got home I told her the story. She said: "Why didn't he just run the pipe out of the side vent on the dryer". Turns out the dryer has the ability to vent out of either side or the back so he could have hooked up the metal piping he had. Problem two: the Sears service guy either didn't know about this feature or knew about it and completely blew us off by trading on my ignorance of the feature.

I called the local store (the one that dispatched the service guy.) The woman on the floor said that no dryers had side venting capabilities. Problem three: the salespeople on the floor in the correct department not only don't know their product, in true anti-Aristotelian fashion: they don't know that they don't know their product.

I asked to speak with a manager. She questioned me about the model number etc. then also suggested that there was no side venting hole. I explained to her that I literally had my hand in the hole as we spoke. She said I was lying. I am not exaggerating here. She literally said: "That's not true, you are lying about that". Then she asked if the hole I was looking at was jagged or scarred in any way. This stupid question, it turns out, was designed to figure out if I had PUNCHED A HOLE IN THE SIDE OF MY DRYER (I kid you not). After about 15 minutes of this sort of nonsense, she actually looked up the model number I provided and found out that indeed there is a side vent hole. Problem four: they waste your time dealing with nonsense even if you can provide them helpful information.

Having established the point that I had made almost half an hour ago (15 minutes with dimwitted sales rep and 15 minutes with clueless manager), they kicked up the customer service level a notch (See Volume Two).

Volume Two here

Volume Three here

Volume Four here

Volume Five here

Volume Six (conclusion) here


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Editorial Fun

Probably totally coincidental, but check out the headline and the accompanying picture.



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The Art of Voting

In my last post I teased Democrats for not being smart enough to vote. True story:

One of my best friends is a good lifelong Democrat. After the 2000 election he immediately began attacking the butterfly ballot as confusing and suggested that if only the folks in Florida had an easy to understand system like that used in St. Louis, Al Gore would be president.

He really worked up a head of steam about the whole issue at dinner one night. About 5 minutes into the harangue, I stopped him and asked if he really thought our voting system was easy.

He did.

Our system: butterfly ballots.


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That Damn Bush Cheats Again

If Democrats know one thing about George W. Bush it is that he is an idiot, while they are mentally superior. See this, for example.

The question, then, is how does this keep happening:

Wrong John Kerry Gets NY Electoral Votes

WASHINGTON -- Even John Q. Public knows the middle initial of losing presidential candidate John F. Kerry. But New York's 31 electoral college votes are currently on the books for some guy named John L. Kerry. State officials acknowledged the mistake Tuesday after the official "certificate of vote" appeared on the Web site of the National Archives.

Recall that this is on the heels of a Democrat in Minnesota who cast his presidential electoral vote for John Ewards. Not John Edwards, mind you, but John Ewards.

I'm sure this is Bush's fault somehow. Its all part of the conspiracy to steal the election. In case he didn't get enough electoral votes he had planted Republican operatives amongst the Democrats electoral voters to throw the votes away. Or something. Anything to avoid the mounting pile of evidence that Democrats are literally not smart enough to vote in elections.


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A Reminder that All is Fair in Love and War

Our enemy in Iraq carried out an attack yesterday killing 22 of our troops. The sophistication of the attack suggested that quite a bit of planning went into the timing and location of the attack.

Although the Tet Offensive was much larger in scope, recall that it too was a Christmas-time attack.

We ought to keep in mind that war does not take a holiday next time there is a suggestion that we avoid bombing during Ramadan out of respect for Muslims.


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News from Around the World

I was playing around on Yahoo News tonight and started looking up the Yahoo News for other countries. The "Most Popular" pictures of the day feature gives an interesting look at what folks in different countries are interested in.

In America, for instance, the top 10 pictures include one of some NBA players, one of President Bush, some Christmas themed pictures, and one of an actress.

Ireland, Spain, and Italy are fairly similar with their countries' variations on sports and politics.

India's also seems "normal" to me and as a bonus includes pictures of the lovely Aishwarya Rai.

France and Germany are, however, another story.

So, while Indians are looking at this, Germans and Frenchmen are looking at this, this, and this.


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God Bless India

While the Germans and French are looking at this and this, below we see what interests our friends in India.



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French Sophistication

Yet another reason to be annoyed that France looks down on us.


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News pic from Germany

Maybe that ref was blowing the whistle on this hot German news item.

I kid you not this was the number one news pic of the day in Germany.


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Upon seeing the top news pic of the day in Germany



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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Anna Benson Pic

A while back I posted a story about Anna Benson threatening to have sex with everyone on the New York Mets if she ever caught her husband cheating on her. Got a lot of requests for pictures. Here she is:


Anna Benson pics are from www.annabenson.net

More pics here

Here

and Here


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One More Anna Benson pic

Anna Benson, wife of Mets pitcher Kris Benson.

Click Read more to view Anna Benson pic




Anna Benson pics are from www.annabenson.net





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By Popular Request

Another Anna Benson pic





Anna Benson pics are from www.annabenson.net




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Voted Sexiest Wife in Baseball

Last Anna Benson pic of the day




Anna Benson pics are from www.annabenson.net




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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Guest Posting by Paris Hilton?

The HR department in my company has me listed as living in Michigan (MI) instead of Missouri (MO).

In a sane world this would require a 30 second phone call to my HR guy. In the world I work in, it requires me to fill out a new W-4 form (Long story short: I have been here for 5 years and have filled out approximately 15 W-4s.)

When I get to the IRS website, however, this is the first link I see:

What's Hot In Tax Forms, Pubs, and Other Tax Products
Check out the latest changes on our published tax forms and publications and get a heads up on tax law changes that will be reflected in future revisions of tax products.
That's right. "What's Hot in Tax Forms..." Check it out. There's some smoking stuff on changes to excise taxes.


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Max's Lead Pipe Lock of the Week, Vol. II

Hey, check out the Sports Guy's running diary of the Pats-Dolphins game last night. As you're reading, don't forget to add an entry at about the halfway mark:

7:16 -- Max Power wildly predicts unlikely Patriots victory.


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From the Mondays Off! Legal Bureau

An article appears in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch detailing how lawyers representing Rams pro-bowl defensive end Leonard Little are petitioning the Missouri Supreme Court to dismiss Little's felony drunk driving charge.

First, a very little background:

Six years ago, Little was driving drunk in downtown St. Louis and killed some kid's mother. Somehow, he avoided any prison time. And the worst part? Little was arrested for driving drunk AGAIN this past April. That's all you need to know.

Second, a little foreground:

We at Mondays Off! are based in St. Louis, and therefore spend a great deal of time watching the Rams. This quality football viewing is marred every time Leonard Little makes one of his remarkable athletic plays, as we are unable to dismiss the thoughts that somewhere nearby lives a teenager who lives without a mom due to his recklessness. Now well past the hopes that the Rams would take a stand and cut Little, we at Mondays Off! can certainly hold onto our expectation that the Missouri Supreme Court won't allow Little to again shed the grasp of justice as though it were a rookie right tackle. Justices, we beg you--embarrass Mr. Little's attorneys with a summary dismissal of their petition, and spare the St. Louis fans the malaise of another season cheering for a murderer.


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Spam with a little thought put into it

Here is the text from a spam e-mail I got today (I removed thier address):

Client Update:

Several Companies have been competing for your mortgage refinance application over the past 2 weeks. The company that offered the lowest rate, and largest loan quantity has requested your information be verified.

http://notgivingthemthetraffic.com/

Regards,
Phony Name
Financial Coordinator

Happy Holidays!
Thank you for your time, we would like to hear from you but if not then continue.
http://notgivingthemthetraffic.com/

OK, on the down side: this was obviously mass e-mailed (based on the "To:" field and the fact that the name in the "From:" field didn't match the name in the e-mail address in the "From:" field and neither matched the name of the financial coordinator in the text. Also, the subject line was "Repairmen," which is a bit odd.

Getting past that: these folks actually thought about their spam.

First: the client update gets them believing that someone is out there doing the leg work for them. If they have talked to any re-fi people, they might believe this is the response.

Second, "Several companies have been competing for your mortgage refinance...". Brilliant. If you own a house you get several re-fi offers every week. Let's say 5% of folks are actively thinking about it.

Third, that 5% is told that the company with the best deal needs to verify. Seems reasonable.

Fourth, the website address is down home hokey yet filled with important words like "primerate".

Fifth, they wrap up by suggesting (but not stating) that there is a link to unsubscribe. What the text actually says is basically: We hope you'll come to our website, but if not then go to our website.

Much, much better than the standard: Wild_and Crazy Russian Girl Pr0N/P3nus_3nlarg3r junk.



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Not sure how Fox does it

About a year and a half ago Fox put on some reality show that I thought was about as low as you can go. The fact that I have no idea what that show was, is indicative of the fact that they have topped it several times since then.

Anyhoo, at the time I suggested that Fox couldn't go any lower without involving midgets or the elderly. They promptly put on a show called "The Littlest Groom", while NBC beat them to the punch with an American Idol show with senior citizens called "Second Chance". (Note to NBC: your show sucked. Fox would have called it "Last Chance" and banished the losers to an old age home).

So, watching football yesterday on Fox I was not surprised to see an ad for "Who's Your Daddy", a show where a young woman orphaned at birth meets a group of older men and had to determine which one is her biological father. Bravo, Fox, bravo.


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What do Publicists Do?

Isn't a PR person's job to keep bad news under wraps? Wesley Snipes needs to seek some new council here. Check out this article:

Action star Wesley Snipes sues NYC
So the headline already makes him look bad and does a good job of hooking readers. If this were Julia Roberts that headline would read: NYC defames Julia; Will she forgive? Not Wesley. He has to sue NYC for, as best I understand it, requesting a paternity test from a guy (Snipes) who lives in Florida for a woman who lives in Indiana and claims Snipes impregnated her in a Chicago crackhouse.

So the Publicist drops the ball on all of this while apparently working what he felt was a far more important angle:

Snipes has appeared in blockbuster films such as Passenger 57,White Men Can't
Jump and Wildcats.

"Sure, tie my client to several lawsuits and associate him with a mentally unstable crack whore, but be sure to mention his blockbuster hit: Wildcats."



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Max's Lead-Pipe Lock of the Week

Hey Max--how 'bout those Dolphins? When you picked the Pats, was it under the assumption that Tom Brady would be playing with his eyes open or closed? Gotta be careful about that--those Vegas linemakers are tricky.


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Tidbit of the Day

Alleged Fake Stewardess Gets Jail, Lashes

You know this is going to be good. Why would the headline say "alleged" fake stewardess. Is it possible that the woman actually is a stewardess and we just don't know all the facts yet?

SINGAPORE - A Myanmar man has been sentenced by a Singapore court to four years in prison and six lashes with a cane after posing as a stewardess to pick up men in nightclubs and then stealing from them, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Wait. It's a guy? The "alleged" is just nonsense then. This guy is not a real stewardess, period. Not the classic journalistic nonsense of throwing alleged into any judicial story just to cover their asses. Here the "alleged" is stupid on two levels. The guy is clearly a fake stewardess regardless of any crime he may or may not have committed. AND... he has been convicted already so the "alleged" doesn't make sense anyway.

Then, the article uses stewardess (which is shockingly out of date) instead of flight attendant, but gives us Myanmar rather than Burma. There is some confusion here. The biggest confusion however comes a little later:

Chan Zo Zo, 24, prowled Singapore's nightclubs to find his victims, calling himself "Michelle" and claiming he was a flight attendant, The Straits Times newspaper said. Chan then swiped credit cards, cash and cell phones from the men while they were asleep. It wasn't clear whether they knew he was a man.

While you ponder how unclear the victims were on what went down, enjoy the juicy detail that this was published in a newspaper named the "Straits Times". As Yogi Berra once said: "Only in America".


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Misleading Headline of the Day

Magazines await first photos of Julia's twins

Turns out it is about her babies.


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Monday, December 20, 2004

Prediction

Since H-man is touting predictions, I'll make a quick one:

Pats over the Dolphins tonight.

Go bold.


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Mondays Off!

Well, after a prolonged bye-month to get healthy, Mondays Off! is finally back for Week 15 of NFL action. This is the time—mid-December—when we separate the men from the boys, the contenders from the pretenders, the bold from the beautiful, etc. Right? Well, sort of. At least half of the league is working out that way, whereas the NFC continues its season-long quest for mediocrity. As of this moment, it is a mathematical certainty that at least one playoff team from the NFC will finish the season with a record of, at best, 8-8. Earning special consideration is the NFC West, the division from which that certain fortunate team will likely emerge.

Before we get on to our running features, Mondays Off! would like to devote a special portion of this week’s column to the creation of a new award, hereafter known as the Martz Award Recognizing Truly Zealous Incompetence and Egotism (MARTZIE). This week’s inaugural

MARTZIE goes, of course, to none other than its namesake, Mike Martz, for his play selection after the loss of his starting quarterback Marc Bulger two weeks ago and the abysmal play by his backup Chris Chandler. While great, veteran coaches like Bill Parcells, Andy Reid, Bill Belichick, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, and Jeff Fisher spend interminable amounts of time studying film, analyzing talent, eyeing injury reports and drawing on the knowledge of assistant coaches to determine the biggest strengths of their football teams, then using those strengths to their advantage to improve the chances of victory, Martz apparently did none of those things in the past two weeks. Mondays Off! wonders aloud: what has Bill Parcells done in the past few weeks, as his Cowboys have suffered through bad quarterback play? Why, run the ball, of course! Mondays Off! poses an additional query: What did Bill Cowher do this year, as his Steelers suffered an injury to their starter and thus spent the last months grooming along a rookie? Why, run the ball, of course! So what has Mike Martz done, in the event of his starter’s shoulder injury? Has he changed his strategy to play to the Rams’ strengths, putting the ball in the hands of future Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk and rookie phenom Stephen Jackson? Of course not! Hell-bent on winning his first MARTZIE, Martz handed the ball to two different over-the-hill backups and asked them to win the game by throwing on more than two-thirds of their offensive plays. The result? Two embarrassing losses and his coveted MARTZIE. Congratulations, Mike! At least a win wouldn’t have really improved the Rams’ chances of a playoff berth. Well, maybe it would have, but it wouldn’t have really improved his chances of a MARTZIE! After a month of blaming and cutting the punter, and now blaming the backup quarterbacks, it’s time for Mike to take his MARTZIE and try his luck somewhere else. I’m sure the Vikings never have injury problems…

And now, on to our running features:

Mondays Off! returns to its study of the Vick Effect:

As first reported in Mondays Off!, the Vick Effect has officially taken over the NFL. On Saturday night Michael Vick gave what was, essentially, an unspectacular statistical effort, yet dominated the game in every respect, and came up with the game-saving play in the fourth quarter. For you non-believers, just wait a few weeks. There is only one entity that the Philadelphia Eagles have to fear en route to the Super Bowl, and that is the Vick Effect. Just ask Brett Favre, whose Lambeau Mystique fell mightily to the Vick Effect not two years ago.

Mondays Off! officially proclaims these guys as "For Real"

Willis McGahee: For whatever reason, the Bills just win when he plays. It’s that simple. No matter how many Pro Bowls Travis Henry attended, he has never had the effect that really matters.
Julius Peppers: He may steal the moniker of "The Freak" from Jevon Kearse.
Antonio Gates: This weekend he tied the record for touchdowns by a tight end. Somewhere Tony Gonzalez wonders.
Billy Volek and Drew Bennett: This high-flying (8 TD in three weeks) combo has established itself as the post-McNair future of the Titans.

Mondays Off! Bullsh*t Play of the Week:

Jags safety Donovin Darius’s clothesline of Packers wideout Robert Ferguson. I’ve heard the arguments about the speed of the game, how he overran the play, he was just trying to separate the receiver from the ball, etc. Bullsh*t. Darius clobbered a defenseless guy, and he shouldn’t play for the rest of the year. It’s that simple.

Mondays Off! Fantasy Update

Well, to be honest, our crack research staff finally gave up on trying to keep track of the number of times ESPN analyst Paul Maguire has begun a sentence with "You talk about…" Instead, we’re entering the fantasy playoffs! Which means we'll be keeping track of the number of cosmically stupid things that Joe Theismann says. We’re getting the league back together!

The Triumphant Return of the "And Tweeins!" Award for the Most Creatively Chauvinistic Commercial

It should be clarified that the coveted "And Tweeins!" Award does not apply solely to male chauvinism. Thus, the award will be shared this week by two jewelers, Kay and Zales, who purchased approximately one hundred percent of the advertising time during the past two weekends of football. Let the record show that this particular award is not being presented for sexism, but rather for annoying the crap out of every male football fan. New official Mondays Off! mission: proving that every kiss, in fact, does NOT begin with Kay.

Mondays Off! Peyton Manning TD Record Update

As privately predicted by Mondays Off! prior to kickoff, Peyton Manning did not throw his 49th touchdown of the year against the Ravens last evening. In fact, he didn’t even bother throwing his 48th, choosing instead to call Edgerrin James’s number rather than his own. The result was a Colts victory, and Mondays Off! salutes this unique display of unselfishness. Rewards will surely be bestowed upon Mr. Manning come playoff time.

Mondays Off! Breaking News:

It appears that Eagles all-world (yet all-talk) wideout Terrell Owens has broken his leg and will be out for the remainder of the regular season and the NFC playoffs, meaning that an NFC team that is currently 6-8 now has a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl. Heaven help us all. The apocalypse is nigh.

Coming soon on Mondays Off!

Playoff Predictions! Draft Predictions! Coach Hotseat Predictions! Prediction Predictions! See you next week.


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Adventures in Customer Service (Sears Sucks) Volume Two

In the last episode, it turns out that the folks in Sears don't know their product, aren't willing to admit they don't know their product, probably lied (by omission of information) about their product in order to shirk work, and (judging by their MO on the phone) get paid by the hour to not be particularly helpful to customers. When we left off, the department manager had discovered that their dryers DO have side vent holes and was about to make a stunning concession to me. She offered to:

Make an appointment to have a rep come out and hook up the dryer. She had an appointment available in about two weeks. Ponder it. Let it roll slowly around your head for a moment. The service rep had left my place not 2 hours before having done nothing. Now they wanted me to wait two more weeks before he could come out again. Problem five: this is ridiculous.

I explained to her my thoughts on the matter: he should come back right now and do it, but I am willing to wait until the end of the day if necessary. She responded that we already had an appointment today, he was booked up, and because of some union regulations he could not work past his allotted schedule. Her problem, I suggested, not mine. I want this fixed today. She never ever budged from her position that she couldn't do anything for me before a scheduled appointment. Problem six: she genuinely did not recognize that there was a problem with me waiting two more weeks.

I explained to her that if his other stops were like mine, the service rep was in no danger of "working" past his allotted schedule as working didn't seem to be part of his job description. She didn't get the sarcasm. I guess that is not really a customer service issue, but nonetheless, I hold it against Sears anyway.

I told her not to schedule the appointment. I would do it myself. But I also told her to note that I was dissatisfied and that I was going to write a letter to Sears about it. That is when they decided to really get their "customer service" juices flowing.


Volume Three here

Volume Four here

Volume Five here

Volume Six (conclusion) here






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Adventures in Customer Service (Sears Sucks) Volume Three

In the last edition, Sears had generously offered to let me wait two more weeks before coming out to hook up my dryer. I ended up doing it myself. The next day I sat down to write a letter to Sears outlining their bad customer service. As I am writing the letter the phone rang. It was a customer service rep calling to check up on how my appointment went the day before. Click read more below.

So I told her. I told her what I just told you in parts one and two. Her response: There's a vent hole on the side of the dryer?!?!? Problem seven: I kid you not, she wanted to argue about whether or not the vent hole existed. Did I mention that about 1/3rd of my complaint to her was how the folks at Sears wasted my time arguing this exact point before simply looking it up? Problem eight: She put me on hold. Remember, she is a customer service rep who CALLED ME. She put me on hold. She came back about 2 minutes later and-problem nine-: confirmed that there was a vent hole on the side of the dryer.

That is not a joke. I was stunned into silence. I swear to you that if at this precise second of stunned silence she had said: "Just kidding, actually I went down the hall and did a line off my boss's inner thigh", I would have had more respect for her. Hell, I probably would be calling this post: Why Sears is the best company in America to work for (in management, anyway).

Instead, she began selling me on how cool having this Sears product must be with all the fancy side vent holes and whatnot. Here is the deal: I am happy with the product. I am unhappy with the service. She gets back on track and offers to send out a tech next week. Oh the wheels of justice are turning now. Sears has offered to only make me wait ONE week to fix the simple problem that should have been done the day before. Annoyed, I tell her I hooked it up myself, she has wasted my time, I am highly unsatisfied, and I don't plan on shopping at Sears again.

Volume Four here

Volume Five here

Volume Six (conclusion) here





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Adventures in Customer Service (Sears Sucks) Volume Four

Anybody can suck at customer service. Even people who complain about the lack of good customer service can be guilty of screwing it up now and then. And since most people only have one or two interactions with a company/employee even really good customer service outfits will come off poorly at one time or another.

What really sets Sears apart, however, is their ability to be so consistently bad at customer service up and down the line. Recall that at this point I have had bad service from a service technician, a saleswoman, a manager, and a customer service rep. But Sears was just getting warmed up.

About a week after the call from the customer service rep, I got a call from a manager in the customer service call center. I was a little wary as the last manager I spoke with called me a liar, but what the hell. He started by asking me what the problem was. Problem ten: they don't keep notes on complaints so every time someone calls they are starting from scratch (this will happen 5 MORE TIMES). Heads up Sears: when someone has a problem, one way to feign caring is to actually know what the person has complained about rather than just calling and saying: "So, what's your problem?"

Anyway, I told the guy what had happened and that I wasn't interesting in dealing with Sears anymore. He asked if he could do anything. I suggested paying me for the time I spent getting the plastic hose and hooking it up. See, I am still out the full day I spent waiting for the service tech guy to not do his job, but if Sears paid me their going rate for the work I did for myself that they were contractually obliged to do, I would be less pissed off. He said no because, while they are contractually obliged to do it, they were willing to if I had only waited two weeks. I cut this conversation off by asking that they never call me again.

The genius behind Sears bad customer service is that it extends to all levels of the organization (as we shall continue to see) and that they go out of their way to impose bad customer service on you rather than wait for you to come to them. Look to the next post to see this in its glorious execution.

Volume Five here

Volume Six (conclusion) here





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Adventures in Customer Service (Sears Sucks) Volume Five

In the last edition I ended by asking the folks at Sears to never call me again. Wheels churned in the deep dark bowels of Sears. I imagine the thought process went something like this:

"Customer Service" rep number one: What could he mean: never call me again?

"Customer Service" rep number two: Surely he wants us to check in with him on a regular basis.

"Customer Service" rep number one: Wait, maybe he means that his problem was solved and we don't need to follow up.

"Customer Service" rep number three: "Brothers, let us not fight over this. The easy solution is to call him and ask him what he means".

"Customer Service" rep number one: "But what if he tells us he is unhappy and no longer wants to talk to us?"

"Customer Service" rep number three: "Have you not read our handbook? In that case, we will take no notes of the conversation other than to say he is still unhappy. That way, he will automatically get calls from us twice a year". Click Read more:

And so it began that twice a year a Sears rep would call having absolutely no idea what my complaint was or that I had asked that they stop calling me. I just told them to stop calling me as any attempt to tell the story of what had happened led either to their amazement that a dryer could have side vent holes or amazement that I didn't just wait two weeks to get it serviced. Four calls in the next two years each a wonderful reminder to tell all my friends, family, neighbors, mailman, people in line at the grocery stores etc. about how much Sears sucks.
Volume Six (conclusion) here



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Adventures in Customer Service (Sears Sucks) Volume Six

About a year into the saga I began getting copies of reciepts for appliance purchases and mailing them to their corporate HQ with a letter that explained that this was yet another thing I didn't buy from Sears. I had friends and family give me their reciepts and sent them in as proof that I was making them pay for their complete jackassery.

Almost three years into the saga I got a call from a guy who said he was the VP of the Southwest region. He had heard that I had a problem and was calling me personally. He, of course, had no idea what the problem was or that I had asked to not be called. My guess is that he was concerned that I might be under the impression that only the "little guys" are capable of truly bad service. Or maybe it is company policy for the big wigs to get out and give bad service to people a couple of times a year just to stay fresh.

Anyhoo, I was stupid enough to go through the whole story with him. Click Read More.

When I got done with the story his response was basically: That's it? That is the story that forced me to call you to get it cleared up? I am torn on this one. On one level, I understand that feeling. Why the hell is a VP having to call a customer about some small problem? I know how he feels. On the other hand, the reason it got bumped to him is that apparently everyone between him and me within Sears is an idiot. Don't belittle me because your company sucks.

Then he got all used-car salesmany on me: What's it gonna take to get you back in a Sears store? I told him that the problem was I had offered a solution on several occasions. The solution was never onerous or unreasonable. Sears refused over and over again. Used-car guy: Come on buddy, you'll look great in a Sears. Craftsman tools, ehh? Kenmore appliances. You know you want to come back.

So I told him my wife analogy: You know when you do something to really piss off your wife? Do you get to come back to her and say: Come on, baby, what's it gonna take to get you to forget about me blowing Cindy's college fund on hookers and blow? Or do you just shut up and do whatever extravagant thing you can to try to make it up to her? I am the angry wife. What is your offer?

Here was his offer: I see your service contract is up in 3 months. How about if I give you and extra three months added on for free?

Here was my response: You mean the service contract that you never honored to begin with? How about if you refund my money for that contract in full?

Him: Can't do that. [Of course not. I think they have a secret policy of not doing anything that a customer requests]. But think about it. Dryers gettin' old. Could break down soon.

Me: What percentage of your washers and dryers break down within 3 months of the end of the contract? [A brilliant question, if I do say so. If the number is high he is admitting their products are shoddy. If it is low, he is admitting that he is offering me little.]

Him: Don't know but it is low.

Me: OK, so you are offering me little. Please don't call me unless you have something worth my time to discuss.

Him: But I am the VP of the southwest region.

Me: The title sounds really impressive but it doesn't seem to be backed up by the ability to do anything for me.

Him: I don't think you know who you are [I hung up here]

And never heard from Sears again. I suspect he filled out some form that he spoke with me and I was satisfied. We moved shortly thereafter and got a new phone number. Sometimes I wonder if there is some guy in Houston still getting phone calls from Sears asking what his problem was. He insists he doesn't have a problem with Sears except for the fact that they keep calling him. Six months later he gets another call...


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Sunday, December 19, 2004

Adventures in Customer Service (AT&T edition)

Spoons has a story up about the nightmare of attempting to change his cellular phone service. Check it out for a view of how U.S. Cellular treats its customers. If I were him, I would start a petition or let folks know how to register with US Cellular that they disapprove of this tactic.

I offer this advice as someone who has had some experience dealing with truly bad customer service. Tonight if I get time I'll post my Sears Sucks story. In the meantime, I offer my AT&T hires jackasses to run customer service story:

My wife had an AT&T account for two years. I should point out up front that they lied to her about coverage and she didn't get service at our house (in a major metro area.) Anyhoo, her contract was set to expire in October (lets say October 2nd). She had called them to find out what she needed to do to cancel. She was told that as long as she did not cancel before October 2nd she was fine. So on the morning of October 3rd she cancelled and switched to T-Mobile (to be on my account).

AT&T charged her $39.99 for the next month arguing that her old contract ran out on October 2nd and she didn't cancel until the 3rd. But if she had cancelled on the 2nd they were going to charge an Early Termination Fee of $150. Pretty sneaky eh?

So my wife worked her way through the phone bureaucracy only to be told by managers and manager's managers that she would have to pay the $39.99. Frustrated, she asked a manager how you could end a contract with AT&T without paying more than the 24 months worth of fees that she signed up for.

Here is where it gets good.
One manager openly admitted that the only way to do so would be to cancel at EXACTLY midnight the night the contract ended. Then, he pretended that this was the a totally rational normal thing to expect.

After a couple hours of this nonsense (as an aside: at no point did anyone she spoke with acknoledge the complete asininity of the AT&T position) I told her to just pay the $39.99. But... I told her to tell the last AT&T person with whom she spoke that we would take far more than $39.99 worth of business away from them by badmouthing them far and wide.

The "customer service" rep accepted that "deal". By my count I have told 22 people this story in person and now posted it here as well.

Looks like Spoons is in a similar place right now. Fight it, spoons. Have folks send notes to U.S. Cellular. Sign me up.


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