Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Groundhog Day is coming soon on this upcoming February the Twooth and PETA is not liking it one bit. No sir!

The animal rights group wants the organizers of the Pennsylvania Groundhog Day Festival to replace Punxsutawney Phil, the Groundhog-in-Chief and official predictor of winters length to be replaced by a robotic groundhog. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claim it is not ethical to keep a groundhog captive, feed him, pet and groom him and give him human love, then drag his little groundhog ass in front of crowds and news crews making a humilitating spectacle of the wee beastie.

PETA suggests that Phil be turned loose to romp and play with fellow groundhogs and possibly be eaten by a coyote.

The group would like the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club to purchase a robot groundhog.

The president and member of the clubs' secret Inner Circle tell the press, "The animal is "being treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania. The groundhog is kept in a climate-controlled environment and is inspected annually by the state Department of Agriculture."

He goes on to say that PETA is not actually interested in groudhog welfair, but looking for publicity.

We will see what happens if PETA shows up in Punxsutawney with their obligatory neck'id ladies group members shouting;

"Hell no, Phil Must Go!"


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why Soft Drinks Do Not Contain Sugar

I was at the supermarket yesterday and I saw a display of Mountain Dew Throw-back, which turns out to be Mountain Dew made with real sugar.

This made me think of why most companies no longer use sugar in producing soft drinks, a fact which may have been forgotten through the years .

Since 1951 my Dad owned a grocery store. And since he owned a store, the pantry in my home was seldom empty and we always had plenty of Pop. In this part of the country most people use the term Soft Drinks, rather than Pop.

As a child Pop/Soft Drinks were made with sugar. Good ol' cane sugar, which gave your young self lots of energy and the bonus of a marvelous sugar buzz.

This era was the days of the Cold War. A time in history when angry threats, veiled political remarks and inuendo between the United States and the United Socialist Soviet Republic aka Russia were made on a daily basis.

Nikita Krushchev promised to bury us by pounding his shoe on the U.N. podium. We all learned how to Duck and Cover when the Nukes hit and declared it was better to be dead, than red. Our elementary school was declared a Fall-Out shelter, a fact we were reminded of this fact every school day as we walked to the cafeteria and saw the large yellow sign with black letters announcing Fall Out Shelter. We kids all had visions of scurrying the family 3 blocks to the school when Walt Cronkite announced the commies were dropping bombs on Cincinnati.

I learned there was an Iron Curtain, which was an allegory. At five years of age, no one had explained to me what was an allegory.

I'm certain if someone used the word in a sentence I would have assumed they were refering to a small alligator. I was certain there was an actual Iron Curtain. I wanted to see it. I was very curious why no one showed any pictures of it on TV. Even if it was a black and white image on the old Zenith, I would have enjoyed seeing this Iron Curtain. Someday I'll tell you about my childhood thoughts on Human Beans.

So to quit digressing and get to the point allow me to continue.

Fidel Castro had appointed himself President for life of Cuba.

He had fought off the evil people that wanted a democracy in Cuba and as a reward for turning Cuba into a Communistic nation with downtrodden masses and government run industry Castro was appointed Dictator in Chief forever.

Leading up to those years, Cuba had been controlled by the U.S. Mafia who ran many casinoes. So Cuba was a nation funded by gambling. Unfortunately for the Mafia, Castro took control of all the casinoes, shutting down the organization's source of revenue and eliminating many jobs.

Cuba was also one of the largest sugar producing nations in the world.

Castro, being a commie, sided with Russia and launched an attempte to allow the Soviets to store nuclear missles in Cuba. I don't know if I mentioned that Cuba is a mere 90 miles away from the United States. Life in the early 1960's became pretty nasty. A debacle arose between the United States and Cuba. President Kennedy was ready to drop the Big One. Check it out by Googling Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missle Crisis.

Missle site in Cuba circa 1962
An embargo was put in place and trade with Cuba was halted. This stopped the importation raw cane sugar from that country. The Pepsi-cola and Coca-cola and all the other pop companies panicked. The five cent Coke or Pepsi doubled in price. Sugar producing states could not cover the need and besides, these states mostly produced beet sugar rather than the preferable cane sugar. The result was sugar prices skyrocketing. Dropping the Big One seemed like a good idea, since sugar was in short supply.

There were no sugar substitutes until 1965 when some scientist came up with aspertame. It was sold in a bottle as a colorless liquid and it just tasted awful.

So the Soft Drink industry needed to come up with a solution and come up with it quickly. They settled on Corn Syrup. Corn was plentiful and could be turned into a sweet tasting syrup. Infants of the day were raised on Karo syrup as a part of homemade baby formula.

Thus begun our dependency on corn. And even now that raw cane sugar is plentiful in the U.S. and from other nations, the Soft Drink companies continues to rely on corn syrup as a basis for sweetening, due to its low cost for soft drinks.

Some folks say High Fructose Corn Syrup is bad for us and that it makes us fat. I do not know.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


So what is the deal with all these paranormal shows on the TV? We all had a great laugh when Ackroyd, Murray, Ramis and Weaver came out with Ghostbusters, because it was so absurd.

But now we have several cable TV shows with the investigators that act sillier than the Ghostbusters. They hear a noise in a dark old building and jump about 10 feet in the air.

The most recent is Paranormal State on A&E. It’s a show about a group of fraidy cats that visit supposedly haunted sites, and then ask for dry pants.

By the way, A&E is the station that continually runs documentaries on Biblical topics in which experts of dubious credibility make stuff up.

There was another show on a few years back called The Psi Factor. Unexplained Mysteries wasted some viewers time. So did Psychic Witness and Scariest Places on Earth. Even National Geographic had a series called Paranormal.

The SyFy channel has Ghost Hunter. This is about a bunch of mishugginah mamzers running free in old buildings looking for spooks.

I'd rather watch Count Floyd on Monster, Chiller, Horror Theater. At least he had some "Spooky stuff kids."

The fact is, Ghost TV shows are experiencing a wave of popularity. I have some theories on this:

1. People want to believe in something, just not the Bible.
2. We like to see other people become scared.
3. Law and Order is becoming Trite and Hackneyed.
4. Even the lowest common denominator deserves to be entertained.
5. The folks that produce these shows spent too much of their childhood watching reruns of Scooby-Doo.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How to Drive a Customer Service Representative Crazy

In an effort to make you more knowledgeable, I present these useful tips that are guaranteed to work:

1. Use the toilet while talking to the customer service rep. They will be able to hear all your body noises and flushing sound. This is an excellent way to repulse those representatives.

2. Eat potato chips while talking on the phone. The constant crunching drives them crazy.

3. Do your dishes while talking to the service representative. The clanking of the plates and running water is amplified on the representatives phone.

4. Two words - Crying Babies

5. Turn the TV or Radio up real loud.

6. Make certain you have a house full of people that talk very loud when you call your service representative.

7. When making important decisions on your insurance or retirement plans and investments or when speaking with your doctor or lawyer's office, do this on a cell phone while driving on the Interstate. Let the representative know that you are unable to take any notes or phone numbers since you are busy driving.

8. Call the representative requesting information on your spouse, relative or friend. Explain that your spouse, relative or friend is just too $%&* stupid to understand information so you take care of all their affairs and be sure to say "no" when they ask you for power of attorney since you don't need that nonsense.

9. While on the phone, excuse yourself, then scream at your spouse, kids or relative.

10. Ask them continually to repeat what they have just said. This works great if the representative is from an outsourced call center and speak English as a second language.

11. Excuse yourself and in a loud voice scream, "Honey, what did you do with my underwear?" This will burn a lasting visual image in the reps mind of you talking to them in your "all-together" with your love-handles, pot-belly and stretch marks being exposed.

12. When the representative answers the phone, immediately demand to speak with their manager. When they ask what are you calling about, reply, "You know what I am calling about! I want to talk with your manager!"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fifth Third Bank - I'm Angry and I'm NOT Going to Take It Anymore!

A Letter To my Senator and Congressman regarding unreasonable & unethical bank overdraft fees in regards to Fifth Third Bank

Dear Honorable Jim Bunning and Honorable Geoff Davis,

I am asking for your full support for S. 1799, introduced by Senator Dodd in October of 2009 and please support H.R. 3904 which was introduced by Congresswoman Maloney.

Banks and credit unions are engaging in unfair practices on a large scale which are costing people like me unfair and unreasonable amounts of money. These institutions have never to my knowledge enrolled me or my wife in this expensive overdraft coverage yet I am paying for it without knowledge and consent.

Banks should not be permitted to charge $37 fees for small overdrafts without warning the consumer.

They should not engage in practices that drive up my fees to favor their organisation by negating the fiduciary duty they have to the consumer, such as changing the order daily transactions come through to the bank, thus causing the largest draft to be put through first even though it was the last draft.

By shuffling the way the payments were made, instead of charging the $37 fee to just the last largest transaction, they enable themselves to charge it to all the transactions. Therefore a $37 fee can be changed into $370 if there were nine the smaller transactions that came through before the tenth largest and latest transaction was processed that caused the account to be overdrawn.

For example, I can view my account on the bank's website on one evening and view the order of pending debits. The next day the order has been rearranged. In my opinion his is blatant fraud.

I have owned a retail business for most of my adult life and recall that in bygone days if a customer wrote a check and didn't have funds to cover the draft, the bank would not pay and send the non-sufficient item back to the payee and inform the merchant of the returned check. The customer was charged a fee for the bad check and the merchant was charged for submitting the check (which may have also been passed on to the consumer). Somewhere along the way the rules were changed. Banks now have learned that paying the overdrafts on their customer’s behalf enables them to charge usurious fees to their customers on a daily basis. By doing this bankers and make hundreds and hundreds of dollars off individual customers that can least afford to pay the fees. This amounts to predatory lending without even getting the consent of the customer.

My bank, Fifth Third, offers something called Early Access which allows a customer to borrow a short term loan up to $500 with a 10% fee. The usual purpose of this access is to prevent overdraft fees. The $500 plus the $50 interest must be paid within 20 days and is automatically taken out of any EFT deposit. For those that can least afford to pay an overdraft, wagging this carrot in front on them is very tempting offer, however as they receive their next paycheck or Social Security check it will have a short fall of what is owed. Therefore this "payday loan" which can go on and on causing a cycle of continual debt with interest.

Although Kentucky is unaffected, in May of 2008 Ohio State legislators passed H.R. Bill 545 which capped annual interest at no more than 28%. Payday lenders pulled their business out of the state since they could no longer make loans that had annual interest rates of up to 423% to 680%. Fifth Third Bank has managed to thwart this law by charging a 10% fee for the 20 day loan. However the cycle of debt continues for those desperate to not pay overdraft fees.

Please consider any legislation that would prohibit financial institutions from taking advantage of the public in this manner through predatory fees and require banks to have signed customer consent before offering overdraft protection.