Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I have decided to move my blog over to wordpress...


Hope to see you there...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sometimes It's the Leaf That Does the Raking...

Being a pawn in a game between an insurance company, and an unscrupulous auto shop while said auto shop held my car hostage has left me feeling...opinionated.

Having just experienced the "exit ramp window cleaner game" on a somewhat more inclusive scale (automotively speaking), I felt compelled to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Wait...what is the "exit ramp window cleaner game" you ask??? To take part in this "game" you need an exit ramp, a crackhead, a car with an intact windshield, a brick, and a damp rag (spray bottle optional).

The game is pretty simple. A crackhead approaches your car with a brick in one hand, and a rag in the other. The choice is given to the driver of either paying the crackhead to "clean" your window, or face the brick through the aforementioned intact windshield. The end result is that either way the driver gets a clean windshield. It is probably not a very fun game for the driver, but the crackhead makes a profit while appearing to do hard work.

My experience in dealing with my own insurance company, and a local auto shop has left me feeling like the driver in the "exit ramp window cleaner game". My car was held hostage while the shop, and my insurance company played games. Two weeks of them going back and forth, an attempt by the shop to see if they could get any cash out of me, and an absent insurance adjuster had me frustrated beyond belief. I decided to pick up my jeep.

Faced with the possibility of losing the insurance companies deep pockets, the auto shop decided to make it hard by coming up with a magic "vehicle storage fee" number. They assured me that the owner had done me a favor and cut the number in half. But, if I wanted to pick up my jeep I would have to come out of pocket with 390 bucks. So my options were pay 390 dollars for "storage", or get the work done despite the fact that I never received an estimate.

Long story short, I was leveraged into getting the work done. The work was awful, the part was not even for my jeep. The shop jammed it on anyway, telling me that I needed to take it up with my insurance company. My insurance company told me to take it up with the shop. So while those guys use each others policies to absolve themselves of any responsibility, I sit with a broken jeep, a vague sense of being violated, and frustration that's rapidly diminishing as I type.

I don't like being scammed. I don't like it when the company that is supposed to be watching out for me assists in the scamming. Being an honest, and reputable business person is not that hard. I cancelled my insurance, went with a new agent, and I won't be taking my car back to that shop.

To the shop owner...

Being intentionally misleading,dodging direct questions, and performing horrible work all while touting yourself as the champion of the little guy is deplorable. So here is the little guy taking power back. You got me...no doubt. But, you only get me once. Is it really worth it?

Had you been an honest business person you would have me, my family, and my friends for life...what do you think would have put more money in your pocket? You played checkers in a chess world. Not very smart.

The images depict random holes that were not in my old tailgate, a rip in the window that I was charged 200 dollars to replace (no new window yet), and stripped/unpainted screws for the tailgate hinge. I was charged to replace those as well. Additionally, they seemed to drill random holes to route wires...wires which were hidden in my old tailgate.
My tailgate looked better immediately after the accident.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just Call Me Ebenezer...

This is going to be a full on rant...If you are a fan of Christmas, and the horrible music that accompanies it, you might want to stop reading now. Also, I wrote this on my iphone...spelling might be an issue.


Ahhh, I feel better now. Sorry but that outburst was completely necessary. Every year around Thanksgiving they all start the heavy rotation of the same Christmas carols I have heard since I was a child. It makes me want to go to the nearest radio station studio and throw a jingle bell rock through the booth window,drag the DJ out, and run over his grandma with a reindeer.

I was sick of Michael Jackson screaming about Santa Claus coming to town in 1981. That song is not like a fine wine. It does not get any better with age. Despite being a Bruce Springsteen fan, he did not do any better. Dont even get me started with Biebers take on it. These were the thoughts running through my head as I sat in traffic on 95 yesterday.

I kept hitting the seek button desperately hoping one radio station had a program director who felt the same way I did. Twenty minutes of hitting the button had me seething with something that bordered on rage. I admitted defeat when the station landed on Mariah Carey screeching out some terrible Christmas torture. If I were Nick Cannon I do believe I would partake in the Cobain solution.

Every year some recording artist decides to make his/her mark with a Christmas album. They always hype the album as some original twist on an old favorite. It's the same damn song as last years artist recording his/her "original" twist. Re-packaging "White Christmas" every year since the damn song was written does not make it any better. That's right...I AM a mean one Mr. Grinch. I would much rather take a Holiday In Cambodia.

"How can you hate Christmas?" has been asked of me more than once. My unapologetic answer is "it's pretty easy". Spend 5 minutes watching the idiots trample/pepper spray one another so their precious child can spend the rest of the year playing the latest Grand Theft Auto. Spend twenty miles, and several hours, in traffic on an interstate listening to the same five Christmas carols recorded by different artists on every single station. Buy an 800 dollar plane ticket that costs 250 on any other day.

"Well it's all about family"

Another favorite line uttered by Christmas lovers everywhere. I love my family. I love my girlfriends family. I love spending time with both. What makes December 25th the end all and be all of family days??

"Well it's for the children"

Don't even get me started on that one.

"It's a celebration of the birth of the son of God"

Really?? I stopped believing that when I was 11 and asked a Sunday school teacher how it was possible that a woman could give birth without having sex. Im pretty sure IVF was not an option back then. Not to mention all the other aspects of that story that defy science.

Christmas, and all the trappings of, makes me want to hibernate like a bear. On any other day of the year if you find a fat dude crawling out of your chimney, said fat dude would be getting a load of buckshot and an ambulance ride. Apparently breaking and entering is OK on December 25th. Tell me I am wrong!

The spirit of giving, family time, and general niceness should be everyday, not just amplified to sickening dimensions on 25 December. I am the anti-Christmas...Scrooge incarnate. Send the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future...I will take them all!

My past has zero regret, my present is more incredible than I can possibly imagine, and my future is completely unwritten...but it looks like it's shaping up to be pretty awesome. Merry effin Christmas everyone...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lowes Drops the Ball...

My views on Islam are complicated, and conflicted. That is a painfully honest admission. My views on religious freedom and everyone’s inherent right to worship as they choose are not. Our country came to be because a group of people were fleeing religious persecution in their own country. Religious freedom is so important that it is covered in two amendments the 1st and the 14th. The 1st guarantees the free exercise of religion. The 14th prohibits discrimination and guarantees equal protection of the laws for every person, including on the basis of religious beliefs. The founding fathers thought that was pretty important.

Lowes, a big box hardware/materials store, portrays itself as an All-American store. Their advertising is big on red, white, and blue and patriotism (at least during the patriotic holidays). It is a great store with a huge selection. If you can’t find it at Lowes it probably doesn’t exist. OK that may be a bit of an exaggeration but I think I made my point. Indeed, the chain of stores is a monument to capitalism and the principles of American ingenuity. So I was astounded to read that they decided to pull their advertising for a TV show that depicts hard working American families on the Learning Channel. You would think any corporation would be chomping at the bit to put their name to a show that depicts the societal norm for families. A mother, a father, and children all living under one roof in a "traditional" family atmosphere on TV is a rarity. Likewise, you would think the "family values" folks would be singing the praises of an actual family doing family things on TV. Especially in an age that portrays "reality" as drunks living in a beach house, children objectified in pageants,and Kardashians being Kardashians.

Apparently "family values" actually means "family values as long as you don’t call God Allah". Or, in other words, religious freedom is cool as long as you are not Muslim. It saddens me to see that in this day and age a hate group disguised as a quasi religious/political organization can influence a company like Lowes. It is truly reminiscent of the days when the Klan controlled municipalities with their message of hate disguised as Christianity.

The Florida Family Association is a "Christian" organization whose main purpose is to bash homosexuality. Apparently they think being gay is a sin. They also think being Muslim is a sin. David Caton, their executive director, is a self admitted porn addict who was "cured" by praying. He spends all his time perusing TV shows to make sure they are wholesome. When he finds something he deems not wholesome he gets his followers to bug advertisers to pull advertising on these unwholesome networks. The funny thing is Islam also forbids homosexuality, and porn. Hate is hate, and the Florida Family Association is without a doubt a hate group of the highest order. For Lowes to comply with their message of hate speaks volumes of the people that run that company.

We are ALL endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights...among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I did not see any footnotes listing exceptions in that part of the Declaration of Independence! If happiness is two dudes cuddled up on a couch in a home they share, then who are they to decide that that is wrong? If happiness is spending time with your family reading the Q'uran, and attending services at the Mosque, then who are they to decide that is wrong? Who is ANYONE to decide that is wrong? It really is not even a question of tolerance, but common sense. Our forefathers set forth the principles that this country was founded on. People have fought, and died defending those principles. They should be defended across the board without exception. Shame on Lowes for bowing to hate, and bigotry. I wont be spending any of my money with Lowes anymore, and I encourage everyone to do the same.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Can I Get a Witness...(to leave me the hell alone)

You would think being in such close proximity to a Mormon church I would be safe from the solicitations of the Jehovas Witnesses...No such luck. I have had four groups of witnesses come to my house in the last 3 weeks. Ok, that is not entirely true. I have had three seperate groups of witnesses show up, and one was a duplicate. Apparently my "not interested" was interpreted as "not interested right now" so they came back for good measure. While I admire the tenacity of the duplicate group, that knock on the door is not any less annoying.

I was born into a catholic family, and I attended catholic schools. I was an altar boy, I was confirmed, and I went to confession every month when I was a kid. When it became apparent to me that the catholic church had a policy of hiding pedophile priests, I stopped being catholic. People laugh when I say this, and think that I just stopped going to church. I stopped being catholic. I emailed the Vatican and asked how to officially end my participation in the Catholic church. I was given a short list of instructions, and a note from a concerned priest asking why I wanted to leave the church. I politely explained my reasons, and thanked him for his concern. I emailed the parish where I was baptized, and had my name removed from the baptismal records. I stopped being catholic...officially.

Now if I can do that with the religion that I was born into, how do you think I feel about perfect strangers knocking on my door asking me if I know Jesus? The answer is, it offends me like a Yankees fan in Fenway. OK so the flip side is that these perfect strangers are just looking out for my eternal soul...I get it. You dont have to knock on my door to tell me. Their concern for my soul is their business, and I really dont want to hear it. Maybe they are looking for a new poster child since Michael Jacksons father clearly is not good for public relations. Maybe I should be flattered?

Admittedly,all I really knew about the Jehovas Witnesses were that they knocked on doors, and distributed copies of "The Watchtower" magazine. Before sitting down to write this I decided to do a little research. What I found just reinforces the indisputable fact that I have zero business being a member of that faith. Next time they come around, and they will, I will engage them in discussion. I promise you they will leave thinking that I will spend eternity as a department head in hell.

Here are a few bullet points I intend to share with them next time they come a knockin'.

1.In order to be baptised into the faith you have to answer a series of 80 questions in front of a panel of elders.

I have always been a horrible test taker so there is one strike.

2.You can't have a tattoo.

That counts me out.

3. You must give up vacations in order to attend the annual convention.

My guess is that convention is not held in a cool place like Vegas. Furthermore anybody that knocks on my door thinking I am going to give up vacations to attend religious meetings had best go back to the drawing board in the thinking department.

4. You can't buy girl scout cookies.

This one needs no commentary...nuff said.

5. Heaven is limited to 144,000 Jehovas Witnesses

I dont have to worry too much there but WTF? That is like blowing yourself up in the name of Allah and finding out that it isn't 72 virgins for every martyr but 72 virgins total. They ran out of virgins years ago. Really though, what if you are running late, and get to the pearly gates at spot number 144,001? I would cause a hell of a scene!

There are several more do's and donts I could spout off, but what is the point really? I have been polite with every single group that has come to my door. Not anymore! I am thinking pretty seriously about heading to Powells Books to see if they have a copy of Anton Laveys satanic bible. Don't get me wrong, I am not considering satanism as a religious choice. Think of it as a literary equivalent of a whistle for telemarketers. I just want to see the look on a Jehovas Witness' face when I bust out that satanic bible and ask them if they know satans plan for us. My guess is that I wont have to ask them to leave, and they wont be coming back anytime soon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


People,for the most part,rarely inspire me. I think the last time I was inspired by a person was when I met, and worked for, an author/activist living under a very credible threat from Islamic fundamentalists. She wrote a story about her life growing up in Islam. Her words were so inflammatory in some circles, that she was condemned to die for them. Her life was turned completely upside down. She had to move several times, and she had to have security with her everywhere she went. She continues to write today...her courage in the face of mortal threat is incredibly inspiring. She is the most courageous person I have ever met.

I just read an article entitled Occupy Earth, written by a 19 year old girl named Samantha Silverman. I am not much of a supporter of the methods of Occupy Portland (I know I sound like a broken record), but I do strongly believe in a need for change. Her article sums it all up in a very concise manner. I dont forward links often, and when I do it is usually through text to a small number of people. I thought this article was so well written that I feel compelled to share the link here.


If you are having trouble figuring out what all this Occupy business is about, I suggest reading this article. I was very impressed. I was closing my account with Bank of America anyway, and admittedly I was going to go with another big bank for convenience sake. I spent the morning researching my choices, and then I read this article. I dont think the big banks will miss me much. I may be making some other changes in my life as well. My banking choices are just a start.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Final Solution????

When did the entire world take a stupid pill? Having spent some time on the Portland Occupier site this morning I am forced to ask this question yet again. I asked that question shortly after reading yet another attempt to compare the "atrocities" of the evil corporate giants, to the actual ATROCITIES brought about by Adolph Hitler. I was at the bank last week, and I am pretty sure the vault was not doubling as a gas chamber. The last time I checked GM did not use their bail out money to set up concentration camps. I am pretty sure I would be able to tell if the wholesale slaughter of innocent people were taking place at my insurance company's regional office. I am a fairly observant guy, but I could be wrong.

Comparing the practices of corporate America to the ATROCITIES of the Nazis in Germany just to make a point is an insult to the memories of the millions slaughtered. Again, I could be wrong...but I did not read anything on the Portland Occupier site saying that all the people arrested were carted off to camps on boxcars because that is what the nazis did to people who disagreed with them.

I am not saying the the Occupiers dont have a legitimate gripe...they do. But, I want to hear accurate factual points, not the sensationalist crap I read earlier today. If I want to hear bullshit rhetoric with very little facts I can turn on any of the debates that are so widely covered by the evil networks piped into my house by the nefarious cable company. Therein lies my problem with most "movements". Trading a broken system for a bullshit system is not a solution. Neither is trashing a park, vandalizing a bank, or setting off firebombs in our city. Seems like the message being heard the loudest is that it's OK to burn the bridge despite the fact that you're standing on it.

There is no doubt that I strongly disagree with the methods used by Occupiers (Portland). I think most of their methods are just passive aggressive posturing lacking in both substance and conviction. If you really want a message to be heard, you take it to the person that you want to have hear it. When bringing that message make damn sure that every bit of it is fact. That way nobody can ever say that you misrepresented anything. Truth is absolute and needs no defense. Save the nazi comparisons until such time as they are appropriate. Should a time arise when those comparisons are appropriate then we would all have a lot more to worry about than the totally fixable problems going on in the world now.