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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Publisher's Clearinghouse is majorly annoying

Back when it was done all hardcopy, I enjoyed receiving the mailing from Publisher's Clearinghouse concerning their big annual sweepstakes drawing for a million bucks.  I would take some time and look through the several pages of little stickers for potential magazine subscriptions.  The subscription prices usually looked pretty good compared to regular nondiscounted subscription rates.  And more often than not I would choose some new magazine to take for a year.  I normally balanced this out by dropping one of the subscriptions I had for some magazine that didn't get read cover to cover when it arrived in the mail each month.  And each year when they had the TV show where they showed the Grand Prize winner I made like the Cubs and said to myself, "Wait until next year!"

But now, in 2014, I am annoyed with Publisher's Clearinghouse.  They may still have the hardcopy version  I've paid no attention.  But I know that they have gone mostly to online entries and communication.  And the way they have done this leads me to scream, "No mas"!  The first time I signed up on their website for the drawing they took me through some 15 or 20 screens of having to tell them "No' on selecting products and services to purchase as part of the entry process.  And while they did have the obligatory disclaimer that no purchase was required for  valid entry, they then overrode that with multiple guilt-laden suggestions that I was a fool for not spending a bunch of money with them.

But that was not enough.  No!  They then proceeded some 5 days a week after that to send special cryptic messages mandating that I reconfirm my entry or risk having a "winning entry" disqualified or cancelled.  And every one of these followup messages also involved paging through many screens of goods and services that I would obviously want to purchase. 

I have now gotten to the point where I definitely will not watch the nationally televised award presentation the end of August.  And I no longer even open any of the daily messages I get from PCH.  I have entered the sweepstakes for the last time.   Is this the result they were intending?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Shinseki Falls on Sword

Not a huge surprise that Eric Shinseki took one for the team and tendered his resignation as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Either he knew or he should have known that his minions were not stretching their budgets far enough to satisfy everyone and provide the level of service the American public thinks it has promised our veterans.  What remains to be seen is whether or not some of the heads of VA hospitals in various states also admit they were in on the concealment and inability to cope.

But what I'm waiting for is the mass resignation from Congress of all legislators who repeatedly voted against sufficient resources so that the VA could, in fact, comply with the expectations of the American public and veterans.  Will the lackeys of the Koch brothers publicly admit they fully understood the VA had no chance of providing the levels of care they were demanding with the budgets that were being approved?    Pretty sure I'll have a long, long disappointing wait.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

California shootings

The least I can do following the actions by the deranged young man in southern California this week is to repeat my screed once again.  And for those who are counting this is the fifth time I've done this. But I think I missed at least one additional opportunity in the last year or two.

"Multiple deaths similar to the Aurora movie house massacre are the price we pay as a society to underwrite the Second Amendment “rights” for “lawful gun owners.”" This is, sadly, the fourth and likely not the last time that I will use the above statement to begin a posting. I first used it following the Aurora CO moviehouse shooting and then following the Newtown CT school shooting and at least one other lesser but equally sad shooting incident. The only differences this time around are minor. The site of the shooting was a federal installation in Washington DC."

What continues to sadden and befuddle is the fact that by now even the kneejerk pundits and reporters no longer bother to raise the specter of suggesting that our insistence on worshipping the Second Amendment   has anything to do with this excessive string of similar events.  A few people on the tube dare to offer up the same tired rhetoric of whining that surely some lesson can be learned from this so that it will not continue.   But their solutions are always Monday morning quarterbacking type claims that local authorities "should have" identified the shooter as a threat and "done something" about him.

I agree that more resources could and should be devoted to addressing the needs and challenges of the emotionally and/or mentally challenged.  But we say that and then shrug our collective shoulders with the further thought, "What and spend our hard earned money on taxes to help others? Are you kidding?"

So, no.   This event will likely not produce any helpful change designed to prevent a recurrence. I wish it were not so.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

"Bait and Disappoint"

I am growing weary of the way I am treated on the Internet
by various marketers.  I shall begin this
screed with a caveat.  I understand that
as soon as I realize the message or “news article” is, in fact, a sales pitch
that I can and should terminate.  But the
fact that these people are intent on annoying me allows me to vent
nonetheless.   The actions taken that
rile me are these:
As implied above, many apparent “news articles”
end up being not the objective, impartial telling of events or causes, etc.
They are gimmicks to sell some product, process or action.
Even when I think the motives of the writer are
hidden, I sometimes am willing to consume the entire or much of an article in
order to receive information of interest to me. 
But invariably the writers refuse to share the
heart of their message, the most important points in a direct manner.  Instead they feel compelled to repeat
numerous times WHY I should believe them and why this information is
unassailable.  And they do this to the
point of distraction.
Almost never does the heart of the message
measure up to the hype, though. 

I realize that concrete examples are needed to prove my
point.  But I’m growing too weary to
provide them.   Maybe tomorrow.