Archive for the ‘Corporate greed’ Category

One of the things that both Bruce and I abhor is “charity”. Not the concept. No, we tithe regularly, we contribute to the United Way (but do wonder what they’re united against, but that’s another story), and we buy Girl Scout cookies, though with expanding waistlines, that may stop this year. Oh, the horror – no more Thin Mints or Samoas!

We take umbrage against all those charities that: A. have money to advertise on TV; B. send people door-to-door asking/begging/pleading for money; C: have t-shirts with cleverly designed, expensive ad agency designed logos; and D: anything that manipulates and tugs at our heart strings; you know the kind, the ones with sad-eyed puppies and kitties. Blechh! We are not heartless. But we have become increasingly cynical if that is at all possible. Just because they may have a band, doesn’t mean we have to contribute our money. Now if they had a new CD out, maybe we’d buy it.

Can’t wait to hear the new CD.

If I see one more TV commercial with some sad-faced dog or cat, I will personally start boycotting all pet stores. Bruce does not agree with me on this being the capitalist lackey that he is, but I believe they are all part of a larger pet cartel bent on separating us from our money to lavish expensive and unnecessary gifts and toys on unappreciative pets. When have you ever heard of a dog asking for a toy ball with bells in it? Never! Really!

On the other hand, Bruce has absolutely no sympathy at all for any of these suspects foundations seeking a cure for a disease no one has ever heard of or at the very least only in one in 736 million ever contracts. Then there are groups who lobby for money because they can. The Foundation for Dandruff Research will not save lives and Bruce will not help people with itchy scalps. It’s just not in his DNA. Use a better shampoo damn it!

We both respect fire fighters very much. But that they have to stand at the side of the road with their boots held out for spare change is just wrong. Give ’em a bucket at least! Standing barefoot on a concrete road in the winter is just wrong!

Christmas time brings out the most egregious abuse of “charitable” excesses. A forlorn, wasted bell-ringer does not put either of us in the holiday spirit. And dressing up the poor guy in a Santa costume? What does that tell kids? It must stop! The message that conveys is that Santa is poor and has to beg for change in order to buy your gift made in China is not a good one. After all, the hard-working under-paid workers in China deserve a better representation. Don’t they? It’s enough to make our blood boil. Actually, that pot they use would be good for that or at least a very hearty stew so good on the cold days after standing outside of the mall.

Happy bell ringers!

And let us weigh in on people who knock on your door at inopportune times asking if you have found the way? No. But I wasn’t looking. Thank you for asking. Now go away. Now! Jeez!

We would like to propose that charities must pass an Acceptability Examination. This AE would separate the wheat from the chaff and would set limits on how much they could collect in a single year. Each category would have a collection limit threshold. Go over that and Uncle Sam gets the balance. This way the gross profits that say the Foundation for Dandruff Research receives would not find their way into their CEO’s pockets. It would also have the added benefit of limiting how many requests for money we all would receive.

So in this season of giving thanks, presents, a damn maybe, give a second thought to who you might be giving your money to. If they can afford to ask for it, they can probably afford to give it. Yeah, I know – Bah, Humbug! Better the devil you know…

Get aside Bruce, I’m writing this one myself, move it! I’m pissed! I just lost an hour and a half of my day that I’ll never get back and it’s all Larry’s fault. Stop it Bruce, I’m warning you. I’m doing this one alone. Oh, put down the fireplace poker and have another sherry. You’re getting tedious. There, that’s better. And, Readers, please forgive me in advance as the post that follows is not written with our usual decorum and tasteful prose. Poor service gets both of us upset. We tip exceedingly well and expect exemplary service. It’s only proper.

I don’t know who to blame for this, but the concept of globalization and out-sourcing has gone too far. Maybe Ross Perot was right after all.

We have plenty of non-English speaking people here without jobs in the US without having to employ non-English speaking people in Pakistan. That’s just not fair. It’s truly a non-partisan issue as far as I’m concerned and that IS all that counts.

You know it’s one thing to complain about immigration and illegal aliens taking our “high-paying” jobs here at home. It’s quite another to send those same “high-paying” jobs out of the country and give ’em to people who don’t shop at your local Walmart, keeping the money here. Where’s all the political hoo-hah over that? Yeah, neither is doing much about it. And for those of you out there who may be so inclined, this is not a Tea Party rant. Both of us are too grounded in reality on that one. Well, at least I am.

No, what this is about is Larry…from Pakistan. How do I know he’s from Pakistan? I don’t, but he had an accent that certainly wasn’t from New Jersey and he was way too polite to come from the Garden State as well. Now, he may have been from another country. I’m not singling any one country out, but it seems like a lot of “customer service” is handled way outside of the country. It could be that they’ll work for a lot less than our illegals will. “High paying” has a whole different meaning to them. They are certainly more polite than most of us. All I needed to do was transfer my satellite radio account from my old car to a new one. Simple, huh? Only in the delusions of a cost-counting, corporate hack.

So, Larry, this one’s for you…wherever you may be. I have to give it you, you are one polite guy. You were patient and very understanding, I think. I say I think, because in the over one hour we shared with each other on the phone, not once did you lose it. On the other hand, you never really found it either. You called a lot of other people to help you help me. After our sweet time together embraced in cellular bliss, my problem still existed. Politeness only goes so far before competency needs to weigh in on the issue. But, I did say you were polite, right? You offered me more trial plans and options. Low rates even. But truthfully, that’s not what I wanted. I just wanted my problem fixed. I would have even foregone the politeness.

Uh-huh. That’s Larry in the background.

So, after our hour into our “customer service” courtship, our relationship remained unconsummated. You didn’t even offer me a cigarette or call me a cab. Like some inconsiderate one-night stand, you put my number on the wall and passed me off to another “customer service” guy. Believe me, I’m not waiting for you to call me in the morning.

But, at least the second “customer service” pro, let’s call him Bob (with a midwestern accent!) had the right phone numbers to call, even if meant going in to a chat room. Really! I didn’t know those even existed any more. Maybe he went on to the Customer Service FaceBook page for the answer.

So now Bob and I were in a budding relationship too. Bob was also polite and contrite. Please remember that those two words together (in behavior especially) will work wonders. That and knowing what you’re doing too helps immensely! Bob took yet another half hour plus of my time to get it fixed. And don’t forget, he was polite and contrite.

Well, almost. He got most of it fixed, but for some reason one poor channel refused to come in. Of course it was Bruce’s and my favorite channel – Cormorant Fancier Radio. As this is their pre-mating season, we need to keep up on things as they progress, but will we be able to? Not likely, unless Bob, or Larry, or whoever picks up the phone knows the right chat room to go to.

And the kicker… their closing line, “Thanks for choosing us.” Like we have a choice!

Everywhere I look, it’s Olympic this or Olympic that. It’s all Bruce has on TV these days. I think it reminds him of his halcyon days as an alternate for the Olympic Snipe Hunting Team. One could not see a sadder face than when Bruce was told he wasn’t going to the 1986 games. Crushed is too mild a word for his disappointment. He was in the best form of his life only to be beaten by some toothless guy from the Ozarks. So sad.

Winning Snipe Hunter! (the collaredsheep.com)

But this year, Bruce and I have come up with a remedy for that – one that will open up entirely new opportunities for hopeful athletes everywhere. It’s one where a number of the cable networks will be clamoring for involvement. Just the sponsorship possibilities are staggering. We are certain at this time you’re asking, “What could this incredibly marvelous thing be? And how do I get involved?”

The Over the Hill Olympics (Othympics or OTHO for short) – pure and simple. Of course some of the current events will have to be modified to accommodate the increasingly fragile participants, but hey, no pain, no gain, right?

All events measured by time will now always have the time rounded up to the nearest minute. We’re not trying to fool anyone into thinking world records will be set by this, we’re just trying to be realistic. And fair. After all, these will be everyday Othympians.

The premier section of the games will be track and field. There will be an ambulatory set of events and a set for those Othympians with walkers. All walkers must conform to specifications lest anyone hold an unfair advantage, such as NASCAR-style drafting design elements. Some events will be shortened in time and/or distance in consideration of eventual darkness, commercial breaks, and nap time. Others will allow for some assistance as in the not-so-high jump. We are trying to be considerate of the injuries that may occur and the infirmities with which the Othympians arrive.

Other games will have new measurements. Take the shot put for example. Throwing it will not be the determining factor who wins. Rather, it will be who can pick it up the fastest without hurting themselves. This will be must-see TV.

Gymnastics will be reduced to one event, but one so important, it’s impact cannot be over-looked. This will the “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up” competition. All participants will be bodily thrown to the ground. The one who gets up the quickest without using their Life-Alert (TM) wins. This will be incredible on slo-mo instant replay as it will probably be faster than the actual competition and will provide ample commercial opportunity.

Uh-Huh. Gold! (flickr.com)

So, you get the idea. If you have any events you would like us to include, shoot us a comment. We’re open to any ideas.

As we mentioned, this will be ripe for commercial sponsorship and participation. All events can be co-branded by their sponsor. We’ve already compiled a partial list of these. If you have any contacts within these companies, please let us know. Anything that greases the skids will help immensely. Speaking of greasing the skids, one sure-fire sponsor would be Metamucil. Others would include but certainly not limited to: Depends, Life-Alert, One-Touch monitors, Ensure, Beltone Hearing Aids, Flomax, Dollar Stores, the large print edition of the New York Times, Phoenix Life Insurance, the Lillian Vernon catalog, Gold Bond powders, Walk-In bathtubs, Denny’s, and much, much more. The possibilities are staggering. Corporate greed knows no boundaries.

How often does an opportunity like this come along? With the increased amount of baby-boomers going on Social Security, they have more time on their hands to compete or watch on their big-screen TV’s complete with audio assistance. It’s a marketers dream. Who’s with us?

The Bruce and I were driving our vintage 1983 Pignasaurus back from the Concours d’Elegance. We were somewhat disappointed that our much beloved yet widely maligned “Pig” once again won no honors for its design and lineage. The Pignasaurus was an unlicensed, therefore illegitimate (read bastard of a car) version of the illustrious Italian classic Pignatelli.

                                                                                                                                                                                         The real Pignatelli. (autoweek.com)

We believe the Pignasaurus to be one of the finest examples of Romanian racing technology. Most people are unaware of that as it was kept secret under the paranoid Ceaucescu administration. It had its debut and subsequently final race (bursting into flames as the starter button was pushed) at the Bucharest Grand Prix one year after Ceaucescu’s involuntary decision to leave this mortal coil.

Ceaucescu in an early Pignasaurus sedan. (sv.wikipedia.org)

The “Pig” on the few occasions it was viewed by the western press, astounded all who fell under its thrall. Its porcine heritage was obvious by the fuel it consumed: pork fat. That being the primary food source in Romania at the time, there were often fuel shortages that the government played up to it’s own benefit. But when there was fuel, the “Pig” was in its glory, a true hog heaven. There isn’t a middle-aged Romanian who when they smell bacon, isn’t reminded of the fragrant exhaust of a vintage “Pig”.

Powered by the inestimable WildBoar V-3, (a uniquely Romanian design, characterized by the grunting sound upon starting), the “Pig” while not fast on level or inclined roads, more than held its own on most descents. With a unique 75%/18% weight distribution (the missing 7% being claimed as an intentional design feature), the snout-heavy “Pig” once rolling was nearly impossible to stop. This was exacerbated by the questionable design feature of being brakeless. Pignasaurus engineers claim it was to save weight which is also questionable since the frame was made of a state-of-the-art bonded composite consisting of two-ply Charmin and balsa wood. Corporate greed insisted they pursue this questionable design. But, that was not important to us as much as the sheer in-your-face presence it displayed.

An early “Pig” Prototype, not in Romanian racing colors. (clayzmama.com)

Available in only two colors, Romanian Racing Beige and Ceaucescu Fawn, and providing only few options allowed delivery on these wonders quickly. Most automobile archivists have extreme difficulty in discerning between these two colors. Seen in the proper light though, one can detect the early photo-chromic qualities of the Fawn version. Or it could just be the mildew coming through. As examples of these automobiles are increasingly scarce, no one is willing to examine them any closer than necessary for fear of damaging them. Mere exposure to air has been know to incapacitate them for weeks.

While there were few offered options, (door handles, gas and radiator caps, passenger seats to name a few), the after-market was enormous. If a part had a hole for a screw, clever owners found ingenious ways to work it into/onto (they were not very discriminating) the vehicle. One favorite add-on was the fin from a D-Type Jaguar racing car. Since the D-Types themselves were rare, yet another aftermarket arose for counterfeit Jaguar fins. The “Pig’s” design allowed for the curious placement of this only on the front of the already nose heavy car. Claiming it enhanced the aero-dynamics, owners couldn’t buy these fast enough. “Pig” owners are eccentric. Their pride exists as the owners of a rare and broadly perceived undesirable and undistinguished automobile. They are so wrong.

In 1973, during the height of the gas crisis, Tazio Schmitt won the Pike’s Peak Downhill Grand Prix race owing to the “Pig’s” malevolently placed center of gravity. Not for the faint of heart, Schmitt crossed the finish line at an unbelievable speed only to die tragically because of the aforementioned brakeless design of the car. Shortly afterwards, Pignasaurus’s were forever banned from downhill racing.

The Pignasaurus final downhill race. (nextgn.com)

That said, one can occasionally spot a “Pig” driving in a VFW Memorial Day parade followed by a bunch of Shriners on little go-carts – an ignominious declaration on an otherwise overlooked classic.

Even with this history, Bruce and I will never give up our “Pig.” We love it way too much. All our children beg us to get rid of it, but we know they would then fight each other tooth and nail to get their grubby little hands on it. It deserves so much better than that.

Any offers?

If you read the Sunday papers like I do (Bruce likes to look at the comics and the Walmart flyers – I am trying to break him of THAT habit!)), then you know the primary reason for that edition is to sell you garbage you don’t need. Get over it, there is no news on a Sunday. They print that sucker days in advance. The only thing remotely news worthy are the sports scores so you can see how much you now owe your bookie.

(dribble.com)

As we mentioned earlier, it’s just to sell you stuff. Do you think all this “new” technology is making your life better? OK, altogether now, a big, emphatic NO! Of course not. It’s what keeps whatever is left of our economy moving until we can find another war. The sad part of it all is this stuff is made in China…as if we didn’t have enough issues with trade. Before long we’ll all be flying the flag of the United States of Walmart. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Bruce and I have found a way to deal with this.

We’ve done some research and found that the new technology really isn’t any better than the old. Blu-Ray? Yeah, right – we gotcha Blu-Ray right here! That sucker’s nothing more than a DVD player with a tuning knob. And we fell for it. Not any damn longer! No! It’s just new paint on an old building. The old stuff was good and it worked, mostly.

Bruce and I are proud to announce the Grand Opening of the new F’ed Up Freddie’s Antique Tech Emporium, or just Freddie’s for those with small. impressionable children. The premise is simple and based upon the notion that “They just don’t build ’em like they used to.” And they’re right. They don’t. But, did you ever wonder what happened to all those new, unopened still boxed, never used DVD players after the Blu-Ray player came out? Bruce and I do. Through shrewd investments and an our off-shore account (Staten Island!), we’ve been buying up all this “new” merchandise and we’re now ready to pass on these incredible savings to you. It may not now be the newest technology, but hey, it works and it is new, so to speak.

Think about it. You’re not that old where you don’t want to hear some of those old scratchy 78RPM records you inherited when your great grandfather died. But the phonograph is dead. Not any more! Come on down to our Route 22 warehouse in Paramus, New Jersey and see the wide selection of RCA Victrolas. We got ’em!

(collectorsweekly.com)

Portable radios and TV’s? All makes, all colors and all styles in stock now for immediate delivery! We know there are plenty of women out there just pining for a new 8 track player to play their tapes of “Bread” again. Wait no more – we got home and car players ready for you.

Or even Neil Diamond! (ebay.com)

And it doesn’t stop there. Relive the sixties (not your age) with a transistor radio. How about a stereo with a record changer? Yeah, those were cool, especially when you stacked the records with “Bolero” strategically placed for the big make-out scene you had planned. Good times, good times.

But while we’re all getting older, it doesn’t mean we have to grow up. We can hold on to those symbols of our youth, our innocence, our disposal cash.

Freddie’s stock is complete with Walkman’s, phonographs, laser disc players, betamax players, VHS players, reel-to-reel tape decks(for the snobby afficianadoes), discmans, slide projectors, AM radios, B+W TV’s, digital audio tape decks, 8mm film projectors, radar ranges, box cameras, and so much more it’ll give you a headache. But our prices won’t! All of this merchandise is new!

Spock shilling for Magnavox! (article.wn.com)

And buying from Freddie’s helps the economy. All of this stuff had been written off already, years ago. No tax deductions from retailers, just pure, sweet American profit. Let’s get this country moving again with F’ed Freddy!

Remember F’ed Up Freddie’s slogan, “It ain’t the latest, but it was the greatest!”

This message has not been approved by the Chamber of Commerce nor the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Does that surprise you?

Bruce and I have different viewpoints on food. Bruce has very catholic (which will surprise his mother very much) tastes in food while I am the quintessential picky, snobby eater. We also disagree on portion sizes. But not as you might think.

For instance, how much pink slime in your hamburger is too much? Bruce thinks that’s what it gives it its flavor. I disagree violently. Is it the amount or the actual additive that is harmful? Cosmic questions are seemingly answered by such petro-chemical giants as DuPont and other companies that revel in nature’s sense of humor – read this as deformities. Now before any of you are incensed by this seemingly unfeeling, un-PC viewpoint, we have this to say – Get a life!

The Blob – the original pink slime. (lonelyreviewer.com)

We’re not talking deformities in the physical sense – we’re talking about the deformities of personality, the misshapen decision-making of all political participants and finally – anything on the Bravo channel. These are all the results of pink slime and its like minded molecularly related kin. Oh, yeah, there’s a lot of that crap going on and you’re eating it big time!

Pink slime is only the most recent discovery of food companies using really weird stuff, not natural by any stretch of the imagination to make things more palatable. Sounds sort of like a politician changing his views to reach and convince more unsuspecting people he will make their taxes lower and their teeth whiter. Ain’t gonna happen! But that doesn’t stop them from trying, oh nooo! Doesn’t the name Con-Agra sort of give it away?

But, we digress. What else are these neighborly companies graciously providing us in our increasingly dubious food supply? How’s this for a starter? Angelica. Awww, sounds really nice and harmless, doesn’t it? (Sort of like Sister Mary Angelica, the kind of sister who slapped your knuckles silly for mouthing off in class.) But then you learn a certain species of this is similar in appearance to poisonous hemlock. You know the stuff, the kind Socrates took to leave this mortal coil. We don’t know about you, but we do not under any circumstance trust these companies to pick the right Angelica. Pick the wrong one and you’ll be singing with the angels. Call it the Tony Soprano weed. That’s more accurate.

  Wrong and gratuitous Angelica. (blingcheese.com)

Right angelica, maybe. (altnature.com)

Or here’s something with a rather truthful name – false flax oil. This is found in Russia, suspect already, right? – and is considered viable as a vegetable oil or fuel. Either way, you’re going to get gas whether you like it not. Just stay downwind of us, please.

However, our investigations have revealed the seedy side of this and we’re blowing the whistle now. Variegated dreck is one you probably haven’t hear of yet until now. VD as it’s known in the trade is used for making all those tasteless, multi-colored gummy bears. Think it’s harmless? Not on your life. What do you think happens to your old, worn tires? Yep, gummy bears. Good one, huh? At least make sure you get the stuff made with radial ply tires – it lasts longer.

Been to a county fair or carnival lately? If so, it’s probably a safe bet (we really shouldn’t say safe on this one) that you had cotton candy. Cotton? Oh yeah, and we’ve got some seaside property in New Mexico you’re gonna love. That “cotton candy” is made courtesy of Libbey Owens Ford. Yeah, that’s right the makers of the stuff with the Pink Panther as its spokesperson. It’s fiberglass! And you’re eating it and so are your chiildren. Don’t worry, you’ll be hearing from social services on this one, buddy, but at least you’ll be warm!

So next time you open that big yaw of yours, think about what you’re putting into it. Pink slime is not even the half of it.