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Sincerely, Unacceptable

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Mockery is unacceptable. Far more unacceptable is attempting to silence mockery.

I’ve had my convictions and beliefs mocked, and by one who didn’t even know what my beliefs were. The mockery didn’t influence me to change my beliefs or my actions or my choices at all — making fun of someone for what they believe only hurts the one committing the ill, not the target of the abuse. I do know one friend who was briefly silenced when her own spiritual beliefs were ridiculed. Even then, the intolerance did nothing to erode her faith nor to change who she was in any way, and she could not be silenced permanently.

Literary satire or political comedy have their place, granted. But making a personal joke out of an individual’s spiritual beliefs only gets laughter out of those who know no better. There is no wisdom, no integrity, no good to be had out of religious mockery. But advising that a mocker would do well to choose silence over their foolishness is a completely different thing – infinitely different – than taking action to force the mocker to be silent.

As hypocritical as it is for one who preaches acceptance to run around mocking others’ beliefs, far more idiotic is one who is openly intolerant of others’ beliefs to think that killing someone can ever silence their voice. Unacceptable.

Accept one another. Respect one another. Love one another. Sincerely. Not just when it’s convenient.

Je suis Charlie.

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Written by macheide

12 January 2015 at 9:57 pm

Posted in capslock

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Distended Warranty

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Suzi’s Sophie had to return to the shop today. That’s twice in less than five months since purchase new. Even the sales manager doesn’t need to be all that astute to verbalize how equipment as expensive as Sophie ought not need to go into the shop twice so soon after sale. I’ll add that one would think that Sophie’s company would realize that fact well enough to make getting it right a rather high, immediate priority, so as to ensure the references they might expect of a happy customer as knowledgeable in this equipment as Suzi is. Which is not quite the impression given by the estimation that Sophie will be in the shop for 4 weeks, despite payment of an extra $50 for expedited service on the extended warranty already in place on the machine.

This is exactly the sort of “customer service” that turned me from an IBM evangelist into a power user who will never again touch an IBM machine and who has persuaded many users to follow him out the door. That I am unkind or that I wish anyone ill will, that is a lie. Just that, show me so very bluntly that you don’t want my business, and I’ll say fare thee well, as you wish, and don’t come back looking for me later on pretending like you never sent me away.

As for the warranty, in my opinion companies should extend any warranty by the period of time that an item is in the shop for repairs. In IBM’s case, that would have extended the 1-year warranty to more than 20 months solely on the basis of shop time during my machine’s first year; then given how defective the equipment was well known to be, eventually the warranty might not have accumulated 12 full months in my own possession until maybe 3 to 4 years after its sale. Yeah, I know, that’ll never happen. What companies ought understand, though, is that the alternative is that their best customers leave and never look back. Those companies should expect no better.

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Written by macheide

28 September 2014 at 10:44 pm

Posted in capslock

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NASA Nada

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Would it have been too much trouble to advise everyone who woke up at this ungodly hour for the scheduled shuttle launch that they could go back to sleep?

Bad enough that one of the local stations briefly flashed a live video of the shuttle on the launch pad, but made no comment about that brief glimpse as they raced off to a batch of worthless commercials, then ignored the launch completely upon finally returning to the morning news. Or that what passes as “Headline News” didn’t appear to have any about the shuttle at any point during the entire past hour.

What’s unforgiveable is that the NASA channel was broadcasting stale history programming, without so much as a ticker or text message on the screen informing viewers that a hydrogen leak had forced the launch to be cancelled.

Why bother the expense of broadcasting a NASA channel if NASA’s key event of the morning goes completely ignored?

For that matter, why should I care to continue to have so useless a channel cluttering up any of our TV’s favorites listings?

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Written by macheide

17 June 2009 at 3:53 am

Posted in capslock

Fraud Co-Conspirators

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If you receive a telephone call originating from the Harris County Jail, from an unknown caller, who requests you call a number for him/her preceded by *72 please hang-up immediately! While the caller may seem genuine and may even say something to the effect of, “Please help, I’ve been arrested for traffic tickets. I was supposed to pick up my children from school, this was my only phone call and I dialed the wrong number. Please dial *72 xxx-xxx-xxxx for me so I can check on my children.” This is a common call forwarding scam. If you follow this procedure, your phone will be “call forwarded” to the number provided by the inmate. All future calls to your telephone number will bypass your phone and ring at the number you entered after dialing *72. The inmate will now continue to dial your number but your phone will not ring. All inmate collect calls, accepted by the person at the other number, will be charged to you.

What You Should Do

  • Immediately dial *73 to cancel “Call Forwarding”
  • Contact your telephone service provider and report the fraud to them
  • If you desire, contact SBC at 1-800-984-8800 to have calls originating from the Harris County Jail blocked

Harris County Sheriff’s Office

No!!!! This is so insanely wrong, it would be euphemistically kind to characterize it as ass backwards. Yet the tritely obvious stupidity of this isn’t stopping SBC from billing innocent victims for what the phone company knows full well to be actively blatant fraud. Nor has Harris County taken any serious steps to protect citizens, this idiotic puff of hot air posted on the web included.

What next? Is there a phone number I can call to request that my house not be robbed, else Harris County will feel free to hand my house keys and alarm code over to its inmates? Is there a form I should fill out to request that I not be murdered, else Harris County will feel free to hand over a gun to its inmates to give them some recreational activity? Shall we do this for every crime, letting the sheriff give access and tools to criminals to do as they please to any citizen who has not formally put in explicit request for any particular specific protection?

How about this for the default: if SBC can so easily block calls originating from the Harris County Jail upon request, then let’s have call forwarding with respect to any Harris County Jail pay telephones automatically blocked for all other telephones. Period.

Oh, are there any legitimate reasons for which and arrangements whereby an inmate might legally have a basis for such a call forwarding arrangement? Then damn it, get it in writing on file with the Sheriff from the outside party in advance of the call. In other words, instead of the default being fraud-friendly, with protection provided only on request and law enforcement not provided even then; instead make the default no call forwarding, with exceptions made only when authorized in advance. Duh.

Absent that obvious solution, call it what it is: SBC and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office are willingly and knowingly complicit in the fraud: providing the weapon, the means, the opportunity, and the justification to the perpetrators; sharing in the monetary damages suffered by the victims; and failing to enforce the law or in any way restrict the fraudulent activities of offenders.

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Written by macheide

1 March 2009 at 1:31 am

Posted in capslock

On Minding One’s Own Business

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So, we’re at our bank completing the process for cashing the check we finally squeezed out of our homeowner’s insurer (a different story). And so since the bank still owns most of the house, and since so many others these days are what is being called “under water,” the insurer has the bank co-signing on the check. And so the bank has some additional form that needs to be completed (which makes sense, seeing how they’re signing off on a check that isn’t really their money . . . kinda like that bailout money they’ve been getting . . . another different story). So, the bank manager fills out the date of damages without hesitation: 9/13/2008. And when I take note of how automatic that seemed for him, he shrugs, pointing out that even for this tiny local bank branch, he’s done several hundred of these reimbursement checks for Ike.

So I suppose then, by comparison, that the reason our homeowner’s insurer got the date of damages wrong on the check would probably be because even supposedly being a large nationwide insurer, for the entire Houston region they’ve probably not yet handed out more than maybe a dozen of these checks? One would think.

I’ve seen worse. There was the bank I had gone to for setting up a new account, only to have them try to give me a checkbook full of checks with my name miserably spelled wrong, then have them shrug at the mistake, not getting the point of what it might mean to their own business for me to be handing out checks with false information about my identity – didn’t take me any more than that indifference to tell me I needed to find me a new bank. Or there was the title company at the closing for our current house, who shrugged at the misspelling of the address on all major documents until we put our foot down and refused to continue until corrections had been made – more recent problems within the past few years of mixing our property up with a foreclosure on a separate property with too similar an address ought not to have actually occurred for a title company to have an inkling of the problems that could arise from an incorrect deed.

So yes, I’ve seen worse. But still. Getting the date wrong on the biggest hurricane to hit the largest city in the Atlantic hurricane zone doesn’t speak well of an insurance company that likes to pretend it has good hands.

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Written by macheide

24 February 2009 at 3:26 pm

Posted in capslock

IExit Stage Left

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iecenter090224Since I use Internet Explorer even less than I dirty myself sneaking back through the suicidal LiveJournal, I had to peek over Susan‘s shoulder reading Rode Hard to remind myself that IE doesn’t understand the concept that HTML is supposed to be a standard. Although the block in which I set any poem is meant to be centered in aftermath’s main blog space, the poem itself is supposed to be left-aligned. Firefox (and some older versions of IE, since Microsoft doesn’t even keep standard to its own whims, forcing anyone still bothering with IE to continually return to grade school to re-learn their basics) gets it right.

What’s worse is that WordPress has its own amalgam of random non-standard quirks about what constitutes HTML, changing for any given code from setting to setting and from time to time. So putting in the time to re-work all my poems (yes, looking back, they’ve all been messed up) is like exploring a dense jungle never before touched by human feet.

If IE or WordPress had a clue about the value of HTML standardization, this would all be so unnecessary. I already spend more time on the formatting and logistics of each of my posts than I give to the actual writing of them, no thanks to WordPress. This is all I need: taking extra time to re-code each entry so it will display correctly in a browser that readers should be abandoning anyway.

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Written by macheide

24 February 2009 at 8:43 am

Posted in capslock

Telemarketers Keep Out

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I could have sworn that in addition to our land line, I had also registered our cell phones with the National Do Not Call Registry. But just in case I failed to do so before – or to update my e-mail addy with the NDNCR even if I’m duplicating the registration of the phone numbers – the cell phone numbers for both Susan and me are now off-limits to telemarketers. And I do file complaints against offenders, and I do pursue those complaints. Telemarketers should get the point. They have no market here.

Politicians who have carved out exemptions for themselves should get a brain too. If a person feels strongly enough opposed to being bothered by a telemarketer late Sunday evening, he’s not going to switch his vote because you feel like you have some special right to invade his privacy . . . unless it would be to switch to voting against you.

Ditto charities and tax-exempt organizations. I am one who loves a good ballet or opera. But after the egregious commando telemarketing tactics of the Houston Ballet, the only ballet performances you’ll catch me at will be when I’m out of town on business or vacation, like maybe our next visit to Manhattan.

Ditto the exemption for companies that have previously done business with me. If we still have an on-going business relationship, such as the one I have with our exterminator, then fine – don’t wait for me to call if there’s something you need to do to watch out for my interests, as long as you don’t cross the line too many telemarketers do and barge in when normal people have long ago headed off to sleep. But braindead enterprises like Sears who persist in using the mistake I made in ever doing business with them as an excuse for continuing to set up camp in my home years after I told them to get lost should understand that their tactics only make their services and products less desireable than they already were.

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Written by macheide

7 August 2008 at 1:02 pm

Posted in capslock