June 18, 2009

Adios, AOL … Sort of.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:33 pm

aol-kickI bought my first computer (somewhere in the early 90’s, I seem to recall) when Prodigy and Compuserve were cutting edge. I opted for Prodigy and later moved to AOL for features offered by AOL that were not available on Prodigy. I have purchased two computers since then and both of them came with AOL software already installed. In each case, I kept my AOL account, initially because many people knew my screen name and email address on AOL.

Over time, I found myself using AOL less and less, and was all set to cancel when I heard a news broadcast featuring that infamous telephone call between a subscriber and an AOL “customer service” person. The customer merely wanted his account canceled, but the AOL guy did everything possible to keep the subscriber from canceling the account, including being downright belligerent with the subscriber. I remember thinking, “Oy! I’ll wait on canceling the account. Surely AOL will make it easier after this PR disaster.”

Life 101 resulted in my putting off canceling. Indeed, I never used AOL or gave it much thought, except once per month when AOL left its footprint on my credit card statement. On those occasions, I’d kick myself in the ass and promise myself that I would figure out how to cancel the account. Finally, after many, many months and many, many wasted dollars, I finally decided to do whatever I had to do to cancel the account.

I logged in to AOL, and spent about 45 minutes looking for instructions for canceling an account. I used all sorts of key words and came up dry. Obviously, AOL wants to make it difficult for customers to cancel. That gave me case of the ass.

I went to Google and entered “How do I cancel my AOL account.” After reading more than a few horror stories, I came upon this site, which explained how to do it, either by phone or by letter. I opted for a letter (certified). I provided all the information the website advised was necessary for AOL to cancel the account and ended the letter by stating, “If you require any additional information to cancel the account, please call me at my home [number] or my office [number]. Do not call if the purpose of the call is to ask me why I am canceling or to try to convince me not to cancel.”

EUREKA! A day or so later, I entered my password and got a message stating essentially that there is no such account. I take that to mean that the account was canceled, AOL’s non-existent online instructions notwithstanding.

Sooooo, I figured, now that the account has been canceled, I should uninstall the software, which, by virtue of my most recent visit to AOL (to try to figure out how to cancel), was now sending pop up messages reminding me to install a “critical” update to AOL. The pop ups were occurring every few minutes and disrupting whatever I was doing online. Now I really wanted AOL the hell off my computer, and now I was harboring a serious case of the ass.

I followed Microsoft’s instructions to find the place where one uninstalls programs, and, sure enough, there was a button thing there called “AOL Uninstaller.” Sweet!

I clicked on it and it opened a window advising me that the computer was searching for older versions of AOL. I thought, “Excellent! It wants to delete older versions, which I may well have on my hard drive. This is going to be a snap!”

Not excellent, not a snap. The spinny-widget (indicating that the computer was looking for older versions of the AOL software) just kept spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning. It finally hung up the computer. WTF? I tried again. Same shit. Now, I had a nuclear case of the ass. Was I doomed to live with this goddamned pop up as long as I own this computer?

Back to Google: Enter “uninstall AOL software.” Holy crap! Apparently, uninstalling AOL software is even more difficult that canceling an account. I gather that the software intertwines itself like a boa constrictor with non-AOL software, so that it’s easy to uninstall files one doesn’t want uninstalled. My hatred of AOL was increasing exponentially as was my nuclear case of the ass.

I found a load of horror stories in forums and advice from geeks who wrote things like, “Wipe the hard drive and reinstall the OS.” Yeah, right. Let me get right on that. Other advice contained about twenty-five steps and talked about “registries” and other shit about which I know nothing. In several of the steps, the advice began with “BE VERY CAREFUL not to do XYZ [and I didn’t even understand what the XYZ’s meant].” I figured that uninstalling AOL using that method would be sort of like defusing a live bomb.

I decided to treat AOL like a much like one treats a skunk, which is to just leave it alone. Unfortunately, that left me with the problem of that annoying farookin’ pop-up. Out of sheer frustration, and admitted cyber-defeat by AOL, I decided on a sorry ass course of action.

I installed the goddamned “critical” update to goddamned software I will goddamned well never, ever use.

Conclusion: AOL = SATAN.

Oh, one more thing. I’ve heard stories of AOL canceling accounts, but continuing to bill credit cards. If that happens, things are going to get real ugly, real fast.

P.S. I’ve located AOL’s online instructions for uninstalling AOL software. Maybe in a year or so I’ll work up the courage to give it a try.

June 17, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:29 pm

I started to write something earlier this evening when a buddy of mine called and asked if I felt like doing a bit of guitar pickin’.

Hmmmmm. Writing a post v. pickin’.

Pickin’ won.

Later, Peeps.

June 16, 2009

Bourbon on the Rocks.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:09 pm

Here is a special gift idea for the annoying literalist.

Thanks to my buddy Mike, who is not a literalist.

June 15, 2009

A Word or Two About “Miranda Rights.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:37 pm

Much has been written recently about the Obama Administration’s “granting Miranda Rights” to enemy combatants captured in Afghanistan.

Show of hands: How many of you think that in Miranda v. Arizona the Supreme Court granted criminal suspects in custody the “right to remain silent” and the “right to an attorney?”

If you raised your hand, you’re wrong.

The Court in Miranda didn’t create those rights. Those rights have always belonged to Americans (and those on American soil) by virtue of the Fifth Amendment (right not to bear witness against oneself) and Sixth Amendment (right to an attorney) to the U.S. Constitution. Basically, the Court reasoned that, as a practical matter, having those rights doesn’t amount to much if you’re under arrest and you don’t know you have them, or are too frazzled at the moment to remember that you have them.

The point here is that the only “right” the Miranda Court created was the right to be reminded of constitutional rights the person always had. Thus, it seems to me that the Obama Administration in “granting Miranda Rights” to enemy combatants in Afghanistan is skipping a crucial step. Neither the Supreme Court nor Congress, to my knowledge, has granted enemy combatants rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution, and last time I checked, the Constitution does not confer upon the President the power to grant such rights by Presidential fiat.

As such, reading people their “Miranda Rights” presupposes that they have Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights, which enemy combatants do not have – at least not yet.

June 13, 2009

Rain — Not the Wet Stuff. Updated.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:04 am

Today, the Usual Suspects will be heading to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to see “Rain — a Tribute to the Beatles”. After that, dinner at a local Northern Italian Bistro. I’m looking forward to both.

Promises to be a good day, the forecasted rain notwithstanding.

Update: Here’s a quick update with regard to yesterday’s performance by Rain. The show was, quite simply, fabulous. If you’re a Beatles fan and this show comes to a venue near you, go see it. It is a multi-media show with five distinct pieces, including costume and set changes.

But, it’s the music that is positively stunning. The songs are all faithful to the originals, and all the music is performed live. What is most impressive is that most of the songs performed by Rain were never performed live by the Beatles themselves (the group’s last live performance was in 1966).

I’d go see it again.

Yeah, yeah, yeah … YEAH!

June 12, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:38 pm

This positively stunning video of Congressman Alan Grayson politely and patiently questioning Elizabeth Coleman, the Inspector General of the Federal Reserve Board, about who received the trillions of dollars the Federal Reserve has lent or spent since September and whether she has any idea about what the deal is with the Fed’s 9 trillion dollars worth of off-balance-sheet transactions. Her responses (or lack thereof) are positively frightening.

This video has been circulating on the web for a bit, but even if you have seen it, you might want to watch it again, only this time keep your eye on the woman off Inspector General Coleman’s left shoulder. Obviously, Ms. Coleman’s assistant, she apparently realizes that her boss is in deep doo doo, and watching the disaster, she appears to be experiencing the beginning of a case of the hot squirts. She whispers in her boss’s ear to try to help her, and one at one point reaches for her Blackberry, presumably to get help from the office. Finally, you can see her ripping off a piece of paper from her pad to slip her boss a note.

I imagine the note said something like, “You’re being slaughtered! Christ! Do something! Pretend you’re having an epileptic fit!”

June 11, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:17 pm

Not being a culinary swashbuckler (unlike my friend Elisson, who has partaken of all sorts of horribles, including whale meat), I don’t normally dispense food advice. However, I learned yesterday that the way to absolutely ruin a beautiful piece of chicken all cut up and ready to become chicken salad is to use Hellmann’s Low Fat Mayonnaise.

In a word, BLECCHHH. One taste and the bowl of chicken salad went directly in the trash without passing Go.

Moral: Beware the green lid. If it’s not Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise, don’t bother.

That is all.

June 10, 2009

A Trip to the Verizon Store

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:58 pm

cell-phone-nokiaI accompanied Mrs. Parkway to the Verizon store for her purchase of a new cell phone. Her current phone has been a piece of crap from day one. Often, to get the damned thing even to turn on, you had to remove and reinsert the battery. Lately, it would hold a charge for about an hour. A new phone was definitely in order.

I was there merely for moral support but more importantly as the “account holder,” for without my presence, nothing can happen. Verizon is quirky that way, but it would a pain in the ass to set up two totally separate accounts, and one can only spend so much time in a phone store without risking a hypertensive crisis..

Anyway, she picked out a very nice, serviceable phone, with a minimum of doodads and without any meddling on my part (see above photo). Besides, Verizon doesn’t offer a phone with a doodad that I think would be very useful for her. That would be a phone with a doodad on it that would remind her to turn the farookin’ thing on.

June 9, 2009

Supply Sergeantspeak.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:15 pm

If you’ve ever been to an Army Supply Room (I suspect it’s no different in any other branch of service) and dealt with a Supply Sergeant, you know that they have a very matter-of-fact way to describe things. For instance, consider an ash tray.

The Army describes this as “tray, ash, 1 ea.” The curious language strips away all the frills and gets right down to the basics.

I got to thinking about how an Army Supply Sergeant would describe certain people:

head, dick, 1ea.

shitter, bull, 1 ea.

off, jerk, 1 ea.

bag, douche, 1 ea.

mouth, loud, 1 ea.

bastard, rat, 1 ea.

bag, scum, 1 ea.

stain, shit, 1 ea.

brains, shitfor, 1 ea.

bag, gas, 1 ea.

feeder, bottom, 1 ea.

suit, empty, 1 ea.

hole, ass, 1 ea.

tox, bo, 1 ea.

One, The, 1 ea.

June 8, 2009

The 2012 Pelosi GTxi SS/RT Sport Edition.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:25 pm

I suspect this gem from Iowahawk is making the rounds on the web, but this is one you shouldn’t miss.

Thanks to reader, Dick, for the tip.

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