Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Reurgentification while still in its Googlenope phase

How is it that, according to a quick Google search, nobody has coined this term before now? It's the perfectly concise explanation for several recent changes in the priority of a particular work project that simply won't die.


"This needs to be your group's top priority. This project needs to be finished by end of the quarter, although earlier would be preferred."

"Actually, we won't need this until April of next year."

"Next April? Who told you next April? We need it ASAP!"

"Oh, never mind. We need to regroup and rework the requirements."

"Hey, can you redo this project and complete it by next week?"

"It's going to take that long and cost that much, huh? Well, no, forget it: we just don't have it in the budget."

"Great news! We worked out a new arrangement! So are you still on schedule to finish this by end of the day today?"


Monday, May 7, 2012

One of These Statements Is a Lie

I received a letter from my car insurance company over the weekend.  This is an excellent example of sending mixed signals.

On the one hand,
Thank you for allowing State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company the opportunity to provide your automobile insurance under this policy.  You are a valued policyholder and we appreciate your business.
We highly value and strive to maintain your business.  Thank you, again, for allowing State Farm to provide for your automobile insurance needs.
On the other hand,
After a thorough review, we have determined changes to your policy are needed.  These changes are effective [12 business days after date of notice; 10 business days after receipt of notice].
To the extent Liability, Medical Payments, Uninsured Motorists, or Underinsured Motorists Coverages are included in your policy, those coverages are being ceded (transferred) to the North Carolina Reinsurance Facility, a state-mandated program established to ensure that qualified North Carolina drivers are able to obtain automobile coverage.
Comprehensive and Collision Coverages are being canceled.
Towing and Labor Costs Coverage is being canceled.
Increased Limits Transportation Expenses Coverage is being canceled.
Automobile Death Indemnity and Specific Disability Benefits Coverage is being canceled.
The changes are being made to your policy for the following reason(s):
You have not provided valid driver information necessary to complete an underwriting review for [name of driver/insured party].

That first part about my status as a State Farm valued customer?  Yeah, I'm thinking that part of the letter is what you might call insincere. 

I made a quick call to my local agent's office this morning and, after a five-minute conversation, feel fairly confident that I'll have follow up correspondence in about a week stating that everything is now fine, that they have the info they need for the underwriting review, and that they've graciously decided to allow me to keep them for my auto insurance needs.  

So what was the issue?  It turned out that they didn't have my North Carolina driver license number, so they hadn't been able to pull all of my records.  That's it.  That was the sum total of what led to the threatening letter.  

With that in mind, think back to that line in the letter that starts out, "After a thorough review..."  Oh, a thorough review, my ass.

And not only was this letter the first notice I'd received about it, the notice that my agent's office received last week was the first they'd heard of it, as well.  Nearly as damning is the fact that the person at the local office wasn't surprised by that.  

So despite my having been with State Farm for coming up on 30 years, having a spotless driving record, and having filed but a single claim for a new windshield 10 years ago (perhaps a $200 cost, at most), the first time there is something out of sorts about my account -- something that is easily cleared up by contacting me -- they're willing to throw me overboard?  Specifically, they're going to throw me into the pool of high risk drivers who can't get insurance elsewhere, subjecting me to what are no doubt astronomical rates and probably causing me untold problems trying to get on with another reputable insurer? 

As as say, it looks like this will soon be sorted out soon.  It certainly ought to be.  And as soon as I have confirmation of that, then we'll see who throws whom overboard.  You disloyal, inconsiderate, worthless [censored text - censored text - censored text - censored text - censored text - censored text].

[Joe Pesci voice with simultaneous Brooklyn style crotch grab]: "Hey, yo!  Insurance guy!  Yeah, you!  Why don't you try insuring this, huh?"

Monday, April 30, 2012

Contrivances for Sale

Just a quick question.  A rhetorical one, at that.  Is there any reality television more contrived than the storage auction shows on several of the cable networks?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

William Aramony: Worst Hustler Centerfold Ever

I used to work for a certain nonprofit, one you may have heard of.  United Way of America.  Back about 20 years ago, you might remember that we had some troubles with several of our corporate officers, including our president, William Aramony.  Stuff involving fraudulent use of charitable funds.  Oh, and how some of the funds were used to support a relationship between the sexagenarian president and his teenaged mistress.  It was in the papers back in '92 as the scandal unfolded and again in '95 when Aramony and his bootlicking co-conspirators were convicted on federal fraud charges and sentenced to prison.  It's starting to ring some bells now, am I right?

What you may not have known at the time -- or perhaps you did know but won't admit -- was that the scandal even found its way into Hustler Magazine, inspiring a brilliant parody of a fundraising campaign ad along with a commentary that was as direct as anything else printed about the matter.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Austin, Part 2

I humbly apologize to the author of The List and to the city of Austin for the doubts I expressed in my previous post Saturday afternoon.  While I stand by my original contention that the Sixth St area (specifically, Sixth between Congress Ave and Red River St) is trashy and not worth the time of anybody who isn't whoring or looking for whores or just looking for bad bars that feature bad themes and bad music, I eventually found South Congress (that area south of the Colorado River/Lady Bird Lake).  Good food, good music, good beers, good times.

Beyond that, I've greatly enjoyed Serranos (Tex-Mex), Mohawk (music club), Royal Blue Grocery (cafe/deli), The Ginger Man (bar), Stubbs (bbq; live music, too, but I didn't see any shows), Live Oak (even better bbq), The Continental Club (music club), Jo's Hot Coffee and Good Food (take a guess), Home Slice Pizza (take another guess), Guero's Taco Bar (haven't eaten there but enjoyed a mercifully cold beer while watching a smokin' hot Bakersfield-style band in the incomparable Guero's Oak Garden)...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Austin, TX

Okay, so who here is familiar with Austin?  I'm in town for a short period and this is my first visit, so I don't care to screw around and waste time.  Toward that end, I've sketched out a partial agenda based upon a long list of recommendations from someone who once lived here for many years. 

After checking into hotel, I was pointed to the a great Tex-Mex place for lunch.  This place wasn't on The List, but no matter: relaxing after a long morning of air travel with a beer, fish tacos, and a margarita, I was now prepared to start exploring Austin.

I headed straight for 6th Street, which, according to The List's author, is the center I'd all that is Cool in the universe.

Holy cripes, I felt like I was walking Atlantic Ave in VA Beach or Decatur/Bourbon in NOLA.  It was trashy and geared toward tourists and frat boys (with apologies to frat members who probably -- and likely with good reason -- resent that stereotype).  It was just loud and obnoxious and absolutely contrived.

So, the question is this: Has the 6th St area undergone a significant and horrible transformation in the last few years or has that strip been this way for a long while, a fact that might well The List in its entirety in serious doubt.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012


Early Morning Smokers Are More Addicted and at Greater Risk of Cancer

This is an amazing discovery. Just stunning. As a former smoker who's coming up on five years of being substantially less stinky, I'm astounded to read that there are people who wait more than an hour after waking up before they smoke their first cigarette of the day.

And they call themselves smokers? No way. Buncha poseurs.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One Last Time

The SoulaBillySwampBoogie Band

Live at BMC, New Orleans

Friday, May 27, 2011

Yes, the camerawork is a bit shaky on this one; I think it must have been an especially windy afternoon in the bar.  Yeah, that's it: it was the wind.