Would it kill you to treat me like a human being?

15 12 2009

I hate Time Warner Cable. I’m sure that’s not really anything earth-shattering, since just about everyone who doesn’t collect a paycheck from them hates them.
I especially think the cable company lists treating people like idiots and scum and having a nasty disposition as requirements for working in its customer service department.
Unfortunately, I had to deal with one of these urchins yesterday. The next time, I think I’ll staple an American flag to my butt and walk around downtown Tehran, because I’ll probably be treated better there than I did by this person.
The kicker of the whole thing was I called them because of Time Warner’s screw-up, and they acted like I was a common criminal trying to rip them off.
The woman on the other end of the phone was rude, condescending, and talked to me as if I couldn’t count to 20 without taking my shoes off. And at the end of the conversation, no “thank you for calling” or anything like that. Stupid maggot simply hung up.
The whole ordeal got me thinking about how customer service overall has been tanking over the past several years. It’s not just Time Warner.
Ever head through a McDonald’s drive-thru and have the person whose job is to take your order act like you’re a bother because you’re placing an order? Ever make a transaction at a bank without even speaking to the teller? Or buy a bottle of pop at a convenience store, and have to wait because the clerk is on that all important phone call making plans to go out later?
I just don’t get it. It’s goofy. I thought the whole point of customer service was to deal with customers.
Is it so hard to simply say “hey” and “thanks?” Saying “hello” is quicker than texting “OMG! LOL!” to everyone on your contact list.
Is it so hard to treat people with just the slightest smidgen of courtesy, especially when they’re paying you for a good or service?
I realize people can be a monumental pain in the tuckus from time to time. Believe me, I deal with them on a daily basis.
It still doesn’t mean they’re dog dookie on the bottom of your shoe.

I just realized that sounded like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli. Whatever.


Smells like Gen X spirit

13 12 2009

I normally don’t get too giddy about the local news I put in the paper on a daily basis. But I’m feeling pretty good about my generation at the moment.
In today’s Recorder, superstar reporter Jessica Maher wrote this fantastic story about four people in Amsterdam, N.Y., who are about to take elected office come Jan. 1. The neat thing about the story is that all four are under the age of 40, a pretty remarkable feat considering it used to be a common thought around here that in order to hold public office, you had to be a retired, balding white male Republican who remembers where they were the day Lincoln was shot. At least that was the joke some of us used to tell.
It’s really cool to see members of my generation get interested in local politics and government. More than that, it’s even cooler to see members of my generation get involved because they actually care about their communities, they like living here, and they want to make this area a better place to live.
This is our time, and, agree with their politics or not, I hope these four individuals will inspire other people in my age group who have decided to stick around to get more involved in their communities and show some civic pride.

Damn teenagers ruin everything … mmmmmmm

9 12 2009

I couldn’t help but chuckle at this letter that appeared in a local newspaper earlier this week.
According to the letter writer, teenagers are the new terrorists because they wear dark hoodies and are therefore responsible for every fire and break-in that takes place around town.
If there’s a wider brush that can be found to paint an entire sub-group of people, I’d like to see it.
Equally as amusing was this response that appeared in the same newspaper. However, this author’s point is well-taken.
Unfortunately, the author first mentioned in this post probably sums up the exact attitude many local residents share when it comes to the younger generation, and is exactly the reason why our young people can’t wait to get the hell out of Dodge once they graduate high school.
Granted, there are bad seeds in any bunch, but many of those bad seeds under the age of 18 are more than likely the products of crappy homes led by negligent parents.
I have a son who is merely seven months from officially being one of those teenagers. You know how he spent part of his snow day today? Helping a local business owner clear the sidewalk in front of their store.
As he grows older and is well into his teen years, I really hate the fact that there are people around here who will look at him an automatically assume that he’s up to no good.
It really irks me that some ignorant old fart would write a letter making assumptions just because he doesn’t like the way people a lot younger than him look. Hey idiot, you were a teenager, too.
And like everyone going through their teen years, you were probably a jackass, too. Maybe in a different fashion, but a jackass nonetheless.
I was one in my teen years. And, to anyone who actually reads this, admit it, you were, too.
At the same time, it doesn’t mean every person between the ages of 13 and 19 is hell-bent on ruining the community they live in.
In fact, it’s ignorant geezers like the original letter writer who are ruining our area, becuase that type of outlook is exactly what chases our young people, the future of our community, away, sometimes for good.
We can’t afford to let that happen.

Is Rusty still in the Navy?

8 12 2009

I going to go ahead and say this: I am not a fan of the Christmas season. I don’t like the frenzy at the shopping centers, I hate the tacky decorations that pop up at homes all over the place (word of advice, blow-up Santas or snowmen or blinking lights do NOT look nice), and I despise the cheesy Christmas music blaring over department store sound systems and radio stations.
However, I am a big fan of the movies and television specials that air this time of year.
No, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is not among those favorites, but there are so many movies and TV shows that make this season bearable. The combination of great humor, great storytelling and great message outweighs the cage matches over the latest holiday toy or the blow-up Tony Stewart cars with red bows on top of them (yes, I’ve actually seen one of those).
Without further ado … here are my top five Christmas season movies and specials of all time:

5. A Christmas Story (1983). The lamp. The Santa. The BB gun. I hope I put my eye out.

4. White Christmas (1954). Who doesn’t like a couple of Army buddies looking out for their old general? Plus, it’s got the best Christmas-season song of all time. And Rosemary Clooney was really hot back in the day.

3. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965). Love the tree. Love how everything is brought back to the real Christmas story. Love the song at the end.

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989). You don’t get much better than this when it comes to two hours of buffoonery that actually has a nice message about the importance of family. Plus, everyone has a Cousin Eddie in their lives.

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966). My favorite. Best Christmas special/movie of all time. The ultimate redemption story.

Winter driving tips

6 12 2009

First off, I didn’t realize today that I haven’t updated this site in three days, mainly because I’ve been spending time dealing with real life and getting The Venner Vox, my “official” blog at the Recorder, up and running.
On Saturday, this area got its first “real” snow of the soon-to-be-here winter season, and naturally that means everyone goes into a panic and forgets they live in upstate New York where, in case you didn’t know, it snows in December, January, February and March.
So, as a public service, I thought I’d offer the following suggestions when it comes to driving in the winter.
* As soon as the first snowflake hits the ground, state law automatically requires that drivers should immediately reduce their speed to 20 mph on 55 mph highways. Drivers of vehicles that have 4-wheel drive and are larger than a horse or Ron Artest’s ego are exempt from this law. Those drivers can go 75 mph.
* If you are the driver of one of those exempt vehicles, it is strongly encouraged that you keep your vehicle as close as possible to the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of you, especially at night. The lights shining into the vehicle in front of you will not make the driver even more nervous, in fact, it will keep him or her from making a mistake and will encourage the driver to pick up the pace.
* Before you head out in your vehicle, save time by only wiping off the windshield, the back window and the driver’s side window of your vehicle. Vehicles with snow hats look cool, plus the wind will take care of the rest of the white stuff on your car anyway, so why bother getting rid of it beforehand? Plus, you can leave a snow trail of your trip behind you, similar to the “Billy’s adventures” in the “Family Circus” comic strip.
* When approaching a yellow traffic signal, continue to blow through it as you would during the summer. Don’t worry, if you can’t make it, slam on the brakes at the last minute. If anything, you’re helping the driver behind you, who is probably not paying attention. Nothing says “get in the game” like forcing four or five cars behind you to slam on the brakes in the middle of a snowstorm.

These are just a few ideas to get you through the winter months. As always, feel free to chime in with other suggestions. You’d only be helping.

Stuck in the trap

3 12 2009

OK, so everyone is pretty much buzzing about golf great Tiger Woods’ oops, I got caught statement apologyafter several stories ran on tabloid US Weekly’s Web site focused on claims that Woods had an affair with a cocktail waitress. Speculation began following a car crash early Friday that sent the golfer to the hospital.
Part of the debate over the story is whether Woods’ privacy is being invaded, and whether focusing on the whole debacle in public is the right thing to do.
I say yes … up to this point.
It’s true the Woods is technically a private citizen and doesn’t have to be held accountable to the public. If Woods was just another golfer, I don’t think this should be a major news story, nor do I think it would be.
However, Woods’ public status goes way beyond the fact that he happens to be a pretty darn good golfer.
Being a celebrity comes with a price, because whether these people like it or not, they automatically become a role model (good or bad) for the rest of us schnooks in the real world.
It’s worse for professional athletes, especially since most young kids often turn to sportsmen as inspiration to do well in life.
Woods is one of those athletes. Twice, he’s been named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. He’s broken racial barriers in the sport of golf. He’s been hailed as a positive example for youths, especially young minorities, across the nation.
There’s also the numerous endorsements he does. Whether it’s hawking a product for a commercial, or backing something more charitable, Woods has put forth an image that says “I’m a good guy. You can trust me.”
Now, that image has been badly tarnished. Despite his playing down the whole thing as “personal failures,” you can’t escape that it looks like Woods has had a 31-month affair with this waitress.
That’s not just a one-stand, folks. For those of you who won’t do the math at home, that’s a long-term, two-year, seven-month affair.
That’s a purposeful relationship. That’s a deliberate relationship. That goes way beyond the I-used-poor-judgment argument.
And during that time, Woods has been passing himself off as an ultimate role model, and the ideal family man.
Given the societal position he’s put himself into, hell, yes he’s got some splainin’ to do. He owes it to every single person who has looked up to him not just as an amazing golfer, but as someone the public thought they could emulate.
He’s done that, and even if you think his statement was crap, it’s still a public confession and statement about his private life, and that’s where it should stop. Woods has made his statement … putting it out there that there are some issues in his personal life that need to be dealt with.
There’s no need to constantly badger him to give us more.
But now, it’s time for the rest of us to back off and let the man handle his business. He’s got a family to fix, and he’s got himself to fix.
And, now, in lieu of his public statement, he should be allowed to do that in private.

Barry says if you drop the ball, I hope it rolls over to me, just so I can see what I can do with it …

2 12 2009

I just realized I’m supposed to provide a post-RAW analysis, but to be honest, I was more interested in watching the Saints-Patriots game so I actually missed most of RAW.
I will say this about the little bit that I did see … I’ll never undertand how the WWE pushes wreslters to the point of uber-popularity, only to sqaush them into oblivion.
Case in point is what happened Monday Night. Here we have Kofi Kingston, who has been on a tear lately, facing off against ex-champion Randy Orton. They’ve been building this feud for weeks, only to waste a one-on-one encounter on a free show that ended up being a squash match thanks to Legacy beating Kingston to a pulp before the match.
The top stars in the company, save for Chris Jericho, are becoming stale and are aging right out of their characters. The WWE has some phenomenal young talent beyond Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes (yes, I remember watching their fathers wrestle), and it’s too bad, whether it’s egos, bad writing, etc., that it’s going to be a while before these guys get their shot, if it ever happens.