Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I knew there was a reason why I didn't like this guy....
I could never figure out the appeal of John Edwards, not withstanding the good looks. I mean, when you think about it, the man is a lawyer. That was strike one. Have you ever heard the man answer a substantive question? Answer: never. Edwards never answers a question, he simply sidesteps them. What has the man ever done? Well, besides making a pile of money suing doctors for malpractice when his client's real problem was weak genetics, he somehow managed to get elected to office in North Carolina. Which is surprising since North Carolinians, mostly, seem to be a sensible lot to me. I can only surmise it must have been the transplanted Yankees that got him into office.

Now I know. If you would like to know, too, then read this:

The secret to a successful political career? Imitate G.W. Bush and then lie your ass off about it!
The ULTIMATE Me Moment...
Obese, they-tell-me-he-is-a filmaker Michael Moore attended the Republican National Convention this week, ostensibly to provide coverage for USA Today of what transpires within the walls of Madison Square Garden. What Moore has really been doing, is research. Research for his next film -- a grotesque look inside the belly of the beast that is the Republican Party. I'm betting the best dinner in Charlotte, right now, that in two years time, we'll see a Michael Moore hit piece based largely on his experiences at the convention.

How do I know? Read this:

THIS is the reason Michael Moore went to the convention. He was waiting for the gratutious swipe. That it was delivered by John McCain (who may be a contender in 2008), is even more delicious. Yes, Michael, it's all about you. It was always about you. You are the center of the universe, you bloated, moronic mass of protoplasm. I'll bet you even had this "editorial" pre-written, waiting out on hard disk, with a bunch of blanks where the names would be written in later.

That's what happened at the convention, folks: someone made a joke about me. Not even a very good joke, or a very funny one, but it was about ME. How dare they? Never mind some of the best political rhetoric from Rudy Guiliani, Ahhh-nuld, and John McCain. Micheal Moore was being discussed, and in very unflattering terms.

Call it karma, Mike, and grow up and get on with yer bad self. Your tour-de-farce-Bush-Knew-Bush-Lied screed (Farenheight 911) was a near two-hour gratuitous swipe at the President, the Vice President, and the Republican party as a whole. Don't get all snotty and bent out of shape when they return the favor. Especially when they do so mildly. Quite frankly, you're lucky you weren't beaten to a bloody pulp on the floor of MSG. After all, that's what the freaky teenagers outside would have done to their opponents, right?

Mikey, get over yourself and start to realize that the rest of us live in a totally different world than you do, and just because YOU believe something to be the truth does not mean the rest of us are obliged to believe it to. John Kerry has the same problem, by the way. Perhaps you two could console each other in therapy this coming November.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Customer Service no longer exists...
Trying to get anything done these days with an impersonal, behemoth-like corporation is a frustrating experience, to say the least. To begin with, you cannot get a human being on the phone unless you waste 20 minutes of your life working your way through the "key tree" of an "automated response system". The first indication that something is wrong is when you get the message to press 1 for English and something else for Spanish. Now, I don't know about you, but this is the United States and the last time I looked, this was an English-speaking country. Apparently not anymore. Sometimes I wonder just would happen if I accidentally pressed the button for Spanish and got all the way through to a REAL LIVE HUMAN BEING and insisted on using English? Sometimes, you just have to make your own fun.

Now, normally, things like this bother me for about 12 seconds, but in the last month or so, I've spent more time pressing digits to direct my call to a "customer service representative" than I care to think about. After the exhaustive and annoying experience of dialing for attention, when you do finally manage to reach a human being, three things immediately jump out at you:

1. The person on the other end is an idiot, and, usually, an affirmative action hire.
2. Most of the time, after you've gone through this process, the person can't help you anyway.
3. You suddenly discover just WHY people go beserk in a post office and shoot every living thing in sight.

Now imagine, for a second, that you have, somehow, signed up for a service that your internet provider manages not to tell you about, but somehow manages to charge to your credit card anyway. You call said ISP and once you have clearly and precisely spelled your screenname for a computer, given your home phone number and a blood sample, you are instructed to wait for a customer service representative. Who informs you that despite the fact that you have used their service for 8 years, and that somehow they have been managing to charge it all to your credit cards, that she cannot find any record whatsoever that you exist. No screenname, no address, no phone number, not even the credit card number they charge it to, yet somehow, the ISP manages to get paid. Now you complain about what you intended to complain about: I never ordered this particular feature, I do not wish to pay for it, please discontinue the service. No problem, they'll just mail you a form, fill it in, and send it back -- no hassle, no fuss, and it gives them the opportunity to charge you at least one last time.

Three weeks go by and you have not received the form.

So, you press 1 for English, etc, etc, etc, and finally get a different nitwit. She also cannot find your account information. Since I'm sure that somewhere down the line SOMEONE knows who I am and they're getting paid, this is not relevant at the moment. All I want is that stupid form you said you would mail me. Guess what? There is no form. Whoever told you there was a form was mistaken! And until your customer information somehow mysteriously appears from within "my system", I cannot stop this feature you do not wish to pay for.

Well, isn't that just f*cking dandy!

Is there anyone else I can talk to? A manager, a supervisor, someone who isn't using his brain for a seat cushion? Certainly sir, just a moment, please. The moment lasts long enough for the grass on the front lawn to grow three inches before someone with an important-sounding title gets on the line. You go through your spiel again for their benefit, and they inform you that they also cannot find your account information, and unless that somehow appears, there is nothing that can be done. However, if you wish to dispute the charges, please send copies of the credit card statements and a letter explaining which charges you wish to dispute. I have to serve customer service!

We go through this all the time, and it's not just ISP's. The phone company is good for this too. You paid for a certain calling plan, at a certain price, and then they pile up charges on you that were never explained to you by the salesperson, the 62 page document they sent you, or even on the bill itself. Eventually, you wind up paying $181.09 for exactly $15.29 of long-distance charges, when you agreed to pay $49.95 per month. "How does this happen?", you ask the person on the other end of the phone, "Well, Sir, you opted for this particular plan and..." Yes, I know I did, and the plan stated that I would have a flat price, this ain't it. And, if I'm not using $49.95 of long distance per month, why am I still paying $49.95? "Well, Sir, you opted for this particular plan..." Can I go back to a "pay-as-I-use" plan? "Sure, Sir, but then you can't guarentee the flat rate that you have with this plan..." So, I have the guarenteed flat rate, even if I don't use the phone that much, and the bill doesn't reflect the flat rate at all? "That's correct, Sir". Who can I complain to? "Here's another toll-free number..."

You have to call a DIFFERENT customer service line to get customer service.

Is this any way to do business? Records cannot be found, prices are never what you contractually agreed to and when you need to have a question answered you can't? Do you have recourse? Certainly! But have you ever tried to get through to a human being at the Public Sevice Commission?

Press 1 for English, press 2 to rant about the phone company, 3 for the electric company, 4 for the gas company, 5 for cable tv complaints, 6 if it's your mother's birthday, sit through the announcements until it says "press 0 for an operator" and then get disconnected, or worse, be connected to someone in Bombay who would ordinarily be working the night shift in a gas station, and who has a speech impediment.

What a racket!

Blogging for a, anyway...
When I started this rant in December of 2003, it was for no particular reason that made sense. In a way, I thought of it as therapy --- I have had some issues in the past that have come back to haunt me, and some new ones (like 9/11, for example), and this was a way to scream my head off without hurting anyone. Almost like your dog howling at the moon: you don't know why he does it, he probably doesn't know why he does it, but he feels compelled to all the same.

But, no more. Now I sorta-kinda have a purpose behind this crap and that purpose is Not only will I continue to post the lunatic ravings of my own demented psyche here, in color, for all to see, but I will also now be posting them on a national forum. The four or five of you (besides myself and my therapist) who regularly read this nonsense will now (hopefully) be joined by thousands of others. Perhaps this might be a new career for me, perhaps not. You can find out all about it at You'll find my posts signed "Matthew E. Noto" (which, coincidentally, happens to be my name).

Who knows? Perhaps this thing could turn into a pot of gold. And to think: I only did this because I had nothing better to do at the time (and possibly, I still don't).