Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Are you &**#*(@ing me?

Once again, I have to subject ignorant employers to reality and to a long walk down a short plank on the ark.  I mean really people, get a clue!

So I have to post again about my wonderful job search, which is now going on 18 months...that is right 1 1/2 years since I was laid off.  If you've checked in before, you know I have been looking, and looking and looking, as has my husband also going on 18 months.  I have looked in my old industry, explored new ones and even been offered a job...yes, but don't get too excited.  Because after 6 years of college and working hard on my thesis to get a terminal degree (sounds dangerous doesn't it?), which I obtained over 15 years ago and thus I have plenty of experience, the job I was offered is part time and pays minimum wage.  A fact they concealed pretty well throughout the interview process.  But it has potential for full time, which still pays crap, but gives myself, my husband and our three little chickens the health insurance I need.  Only problem is, I need to work up to that and it could take 9 months to a year.  In the meantime, they want me to guarantee that I won't take a full time job and leave after they spend so much time training me; paid training they said to entice me.  When interviewed, and before being told how much this job actually paid, I agreed.  But really, are you %^#%#*ing me?!  You want me to commit to working maybe, MAYBE 8 hours a week at $8.00 and expect me to cease looking for something that would say actually cover the cost of the gas it takes to get me there.  I mean really, my babysitter costs more than I make so how can I commit to something so ludicrous.  I took the job. I need something flexible and if my husband gets hired anytime the near future, the job is rewarding if you look at it like slightly subsidized charity work.  But seriously people....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Short List

Okay so all of you are no help. I thought maybe one of you might comment on a good blog host that doesn't rip you off, but apparently not.  And because life is so hectic with my constant search for some sort of employment, which includes numerous attempts at reinventing myself, I just can't find the time to find a new home on my own.  So before I explode from all the pent up rants, I decided to just continue on here until, well, until I don't. 

Anyway, today I decided to institute a dress code on the ark.  Now, as someone who at times dresses somewhat eclectically occasionally sporting a short skirt and cowboy boots, other times wearing leather pants, or an authentic witch's cape, but more often donning a pair of jeans and a sweater, I am the first to say you should wear what you want...within reason.  

Today, I am sitting in Starbucks (I know again) and in walks this 40 something woman in a very short black dress, and I mean VERY short.  Either she bought it in the junior's section or she is wearing it as a dress when it is meant to be more of a tunic with leggings.  She forgot the leggings.  Tights would have still been obscene, but better, but she seems to have forgotten those too.  Hell, she wasn't even wearing nylons.  Now I never wear nylons; they aren't my thing, but naked legs under this way too short dress?  She was just begging for attention.  Well she got it.  I was staring and so were many others, but not in the "look at that hot thing with the nice legs?" way, but in the "Whoa, what the hell were you thinking?" way.  And yes I am sure even the guys were thinking that because the man next to me who brought his son in had a horrified look on his face, and the older gentleman in the corner was shaking his head.  I just looked at her with a disgusted expression on my face and started this blog. So here is the dress code:  If at any time in any position in a public place on the ark, we can see something that God gave you that was only meant for private eyes, you’re off the ark, probably via the railing at the side.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

AdSense Scam Forces Move

My research has provided me with numerous examples of people in the same spot as I am.  AdSense uses our intellectual collateral to promote their customers ads and then trumps up phony charges against us to avoid having to pay us for hosting their advertisements.  That is not cool with me so I am moving my blog.  Where you ask?  I am not sure yet.  I am looking into wordpress as an option, but was hoping for some suggestions from all of my readers.  I haven't had any yet, so if you use a format other than blogger and have been pleased with it, please let me know.  I will keep you posted.  I am also trying to figure out how to erase this blog so it is not on blogger anymore, but that seems as difficult than getting paid by AdSense.  What a scam google is running all around huh?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

AdSense Scam Widespread

Ah ha, I was right.  If you google AdSense this site comes up in the top ten.  Check it out for more on their unethical business practices.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

GoogleAdsense Business Practices Are Unethical

For all of you out there who have been screwed by GoogleAdsense, I am on a mission.  Below is the ONLY information I received in my correspondence with them.  The first e-mail arrived a day or two after I inquired into a check they were overdue in sending me.  I hit a threshold in July and they did not mail my check.  I hit a second one in August and they did not mail my check.  I inquired in September and on September 15th they sent this first e-mail.


After reviewing our records, we've determined that your AdSense account
poses a risk of generating invalid activity. Because we have a
responsibility to protect our AdWords advertisers from inflated costs due
to invalid activity, we've found it necessary to disable your AdSense
account. Your outstanding balance and Google's share of the revenue will
both be fully refunded back to the affected advertisers.

Please understand that we need to take such steps to maintain the
effectiveness of Google's advertising system, particularly the
advertiser-publisher relationship. We understand the inconvenience that
this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and

If you have any questions or concerns about the actions we've taken, how
you can appeal this decision, or invalid activity in general, you can find
more information by visiting


The Google AdSense Team 

This is wrong on so many levels.  First of all, WHAT is it they think I did wrong?  Define invalid activity?  They give you no specifics just point you toward the generic agreement telling you what you can't do, not what they accuse you of doing.  Then there is this appeal form:

12_DisablingMonth: Sep
13_DisablingDay: 14
14_DisablingYear: 2010
15_AlreadyAppealed: no
16_OtherAccount: no
18_WebAudience: Moms and the General public
19_UserGeography: I assume the US
20_UserAccessMode: how would I know?
21_ScrapedContent: no
22_ContentSources: me own writings
23_NumAdmins: 1
24_UpdateFrequency: about twice a week
25_BoughtTraffic: no
26_UsePayTo: no
27_TrafficSources: I visit other sites and comment and also word of mouth
28_AdvertiserValue: Because it targets their market and people often click

on ads and rememebr seeing products they see on a regular basis
29_UserIncentive: I have a few friends that check me out regularly but  
other than that not that I know of
30_ViolatedTerms: No
31_InvalidActivity: I have no idea what invalid click activity you are  
talking about.  No specifics were given in the e-mail.  It also seems  
coincidental that I JUST sent an e-mail asking why I hadn't received my  
check from August then I got this e-mail in return.
32_SuspiciousData: I don't usually check them so I don't know how to tell.

I am fairly new at this blog thing.

If you can read it you'll see that they ask you to defend yourself without ever telling you what you are accused of.  How can anyone do that?

"No officer, I didn't shoot that man."

"We know that mam, we brought you in because you forgot to sign your taxes."

I mean really?  Can they do that?  Is anyone out there a lawyer who knows whether someone can use your services for two full months, place their ads and get them seen for two full months, have people patronize the advertising companies for two full months and then choose not to pay you without so much as a specific explanation?  There has to be a law against that.  There have to be a number of people to whom they have done this.  It has to be illegal.  It is certainly unethical.  It is stealing and I bet there will be a class action suit sooner or later.  If they don't give me an explanation soon, I bet it will be sooner. (Do you think they read any of this material?)

So I do my best to defend myself against my non-charges.  I tell them that to my knowledge I have done nothing wrong. I have a friend who checks my site regularly. (Who doesn't?) But I even checked with her and she told me she only clicks on ads relevant to her and has even "patronized" a site or two.  So if she is doing more than just looking, isn't that what advertising is about?

And so I fill out that stupid generic form which asks you to address specifics they never give you and submit it and THIS is their response:


Thank you for your appeal. We appreciate the additional information you've
provided, as well as your continued interest in the AdSense program.
However, after thoroughly re-reviewing your account data and taking your
feedback into consideration, our specialists have confirmed that we're
unable to reinstate your AdSense account.

As a reminder, if you have any questions or concerns about your account,
the actions we've taken, or invalid activity in general, you can find more
information by visiting


The Google AdSense Team

Really?  WHY NOT?  What did you investigate?  What did you find? Did you even read my response?  Why didn't you answer my questions? Address MY concerns? Doesn't the accused have a right to know what she is being accused of before being convicted? Did a person even look into this or is it a computer generated e-mail?

By the way, while I am jumping ship and taking my ark into more legitimate waters, does anyone else have a suggestion as to where I should go?  Thanks for all your help readers, I wouldn't be here without you.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

No Cents out of AdSense

This one’s easy; today’s rant is about kicking GoogleAdSense off my ark. 

How annoying are they?  So according to my payment history, I hit my next hundred-dollar mark back in July and then again in August.  Since it is now September 15th and I haven’t received either check, which their information reads I should have received over a month ago, I sent them an e-mail (because God forbid they have a phone number where you can inquire about anything) asking them why I hadn’t received my payment.
No response.
No acknowledgement of my inquiry.
Until today when I get an automated e-mail telling me my AdSense account has been disabled.  What a coincidence; I go looking for my very late payment, and they terminate my account…hmmm? No response to my original inquiry.  No explanation.  No information at all.  So I spent a while surfing around trying to find a way to contact them and ask them WTF?  But there is no phone number, no live chat, and no direct e-mail.  No way to deal with disputes at all unless you count filling out a generic appeal form, which asks a bunch of questions I don’t have the answers to and gives you a short space in which to tell them about why you think they are wrong.  Well how the hell would I know? They never told me what the problem was so how can I dispute it?  If they had said I was clicking my own ads, I’d say no I wasn’t.  If they said I was altering the ads, I’d say no I wasn’t.  If they said I was auto-generating clicks, I’d say no I wasn’t.  But they said none of those things; they didn’t give a reason, so how can I refute their reasoning?  Besides, how does one prove a negative?  I could possibly prove that I did something (if I was more computer savvy than I am) but how can I prove I didn’t do something?
I’ve heard of this happening before.  I have read other complaints about the fact that Google doesn’t give you any way to interact with them directly.   Now I understand those complaints.  Perhaps it is time to find a different host.  We’ll see how quickly they resolve this issue.  They owed me over $200.  If they reinstate me soon and I get paid, I’ll stay.  If not, look for a post giving you my new address.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Free Lunch

So I am not even sure who gets booted off the ark this time, but rest assured I am going to find out! 

This week the school sent home the annual collection of forms that they require we fill out: contingency plans in case of emergency, medical updates, a school newsletter.  In this packet was a form that has caused me much distress, an application for financial assistance with the hot lunch program.  Originally, it was a source of angst because I am not sure whether I should submit it on behalf of my child.  From previous posts you probably know that my husband and I have both been unemployed for over a year.  But we have also budgeted and saved and made good enough investments throughout the 20 years we have been working so that, although we are feeling the strain of our unemployment, we are not in danger of losing our house, or underfeeding our children.  We have had to cut back and make some choices, but no terribly hard choices…yet. 
Cobra is up this month and we need to come up with over $1600 a month to cover our family’s insurance costs (thank you to the new health plan that insists we subsidize other people’s health insurance).  Unemployment ends in a few months as well and then we will have nothing coming in and quite a bit going out.  As for jobs, well they are out there, but not in our fields and not even making half of what we once did.  It is the old catch 22 right now, if we take one of the unskilled jobs out there, we lose all benefits and can’t make the new lower salary stretch far enough, but soon enough it won’t matter because all our benefits will be gone and we’ll need to take whatever we can get.
To that end, I have been wondering whether or not I should apply for the reduced lunch program.  We can afford to send our child to school with a packed lunch, but he really wants to get a hot lunch and it is an expense we don’t need to add in right now.  I had decided to teach him you can’t get everything you want and sometimes you have to stick with what you can afford and was about to throw away the form when I read that you do not need to be an American citizen to receive free or reduced lunch. WHAT?!!
Let me repeat that outrage,...W.H.A.T!  Here I am a citizen of the United States and a taxpayer in a state that is known for its ridiculous taxes.  I live in a town that has a high tax rate and I always pay what is required of me.  I don’t cheat on my taxes and although I grumble (a ton) I pay my taxes like a responsible citizen.  So here I am struggling with whether or not it would be right for me to take advantage of a program I may not need as much as someone else and you are telling me that MY tax dollars are going to feed someone who isn’t even a citizen?  Read doesn’t pay taxes.  Read is already STEALING the education itself, and now will be receiving a free lunch too. 
Really?  Why does this society reward people who break the rules or have no sense of personal responsibility?  For God’s sake if this country wasn’t so busy giving handouts to people who come looking for the proverbial free lunch at every turn, then maybe the rest of us wouldn’t be so overtaxed that we are unable to make our own ends meet.
For us my child’s lunch isn’t really free, our tax dollars are paying for it; unfortunately, so are yours.  My question: if they are going to offer free lunch on the backs of tax-payers, why don’t they just provide free lunch to ALL children?  This is something I have never understood.  Well I understand it; it is called socialism, but they refuse to advertise that because if they did there would be more of an outrage.  But that is what it is people, taking money from one group to subsidize another is indeed socialism.

And again, if they just stopped taxing so much to provide all these free bees then you wouldn’t be subsidizing my kids lunch because I’d have enough to pay for it and none of us would subsidize the lunches of criminals who don’t deserve something for nothing in the first place!
Really, here I am having contributed tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to my community and I am feeling badly about taking something that I PAID FOR but that someone else might need more. Then I learn that this same community is offering MY HARD EARNED MONEY to someone who has contributed NOTHING!  Before you argue against me think of this: maybe if the government hadn’t taken so much of my money over the years and had left it in my bank account instead of taking it to pay for expensive cars for the politicians, the same road to be redone continuously for the past 5 years, or to disperse in the socialist fashion to which they have become so accustomed, I might have enough money in my account to pay for my kids to buy lunch at school.
            So what did I decide?  I don’t think I’ll be taking advantage of the program because we don’t really need it the way I think some people do.  Isn’t it a shame though that my son can’t have something he wants and which I could afford if someone else wasn’t taking my money for his free lunch?

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Just taking a moment to remember all the people who died or lost loved ones in the 9/11 tragedy with a special thank you to all of those who gave their lives in an effort to minimize the damage the terrorists could do.  I don't think it is appropriate to post any complaints today so I'll be back next week with my regular rants.  Until then, God Bless America and the character of Americans like the ones who gave their lives on flight 93.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Eating A Mexican Calzone

I love The Girl's Feel Good Friday concept because it takes me out of my annoyed with humanity head space and gives me a chance to focus on something positive.  Something I should certainly do more of.  So please check out her concept here and give it a try yourself.  In the meantime, I hope you will indulge me in my Feel Good Friday post much the way I indulged myself.

Eating a Mexican calzone, that is my Feel Good Friday moment.  A little delayed because I had it about three weeks ago, but it made me happy enough to remember it and post it now.  Why would a greasy simple foodstuff make my Feel Good Friday post you ask?  Well because I haven’t had one in the almost 20 years since college when I used to have at least one a week, and that is not for lack of trying.
            There was an awesome little shop called P-Zone out where I went to college and among all the other ordinary calzones, they had a Mexican version that was to die for.  Literally given all the fat and cholesterol, but it was delicious and I was young and active enough to eat them regularly without paying for it with much more than a little heart burn now and then.  Since graduating and leaving that little college town, I have not been able to find a single pizza joint or Mexican restaurant that would make a Mexican calzone.
            That was until I went to a writing conference in August and found a place that advertised as both a pizza joint and a Mexican food restaurant.  Surprisingly enough, when I called and asked for a Mexican calzone they said they didn’t have one on the menu.  Huh?!  How could they serve calzones and Mexican food and NOT a Mexican calzone? But I went forward and asked them if they had taco meat and tomatoes and cheese and lettuce and salsa, and when I got the answer of yes to all of the above, I asked them if they could put them all together into a calzone.  The girl taking orders on the phone said to hold on she’d have to ask. 
Ask she did, and their answer was yes!  I was a little hesitant because if they had never made one before maybe it wouldn’t be any good, but it was fabulous!  Not only did it taste terrific, but it also brought me back to a very happy nostalgic time.  That is why a fattening greasy comfort food is my Feel Good Friday post this week.  Happy eating!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Okay so this isn’t my usual rant.  There is nothing really to be upset about, no stupid people involved, no one being rude.  But as I sat pondering my next post while my kids watched Max and Ruby, I heard myself thinking what I always do when that show is on: where are the parents?
            Seriously, do any of you watch this show with your children?  Well for those of you who haven’t, it is a show about two bunnies, “Max and Ruby, Ruby and her little brother Max.”  In many shows, the children will take a bus or walk over to their Grandmother’s house, but never is their any mention of parent bunnies.  And I have to wonder, where are they?  Why aren’t they ever even mentioned?  There is no indication that they are at work, or away on vacation, or even deceased.  They are never mentioned at all.  Over and over again Ruby, the big sister, (who is only seven) takes care of little brother Max who is so young he only says one word at a time, so he’s what, maybe two?  Max is there when Ruby has a friend over, when she is going to bunny scouts, when she is doing her homework.  And at bedtime, it is Ruby who tucks Max in and handles lost stuffed animals and nightmares.  She feeds him; fixes his boo boos, and generally does everything you would expect his parents to do.
            So again, there is no reason for ranting or raving.  No one to blame (well maybe the writers.)  I am just perplexed.  Why did they write this show so that a young bunny is solely responsible for her toddler brother?  I’m not going to get all social justice on you or pretend that I think there is a message about the independence of children, or the political correctness of working parents, but I do think it is odd.  It is noticeable enough that every time my kids are watching the show I find myself thinking where are the parents?
            Does anyone know?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Are You Ready For Some Football?!

Are You Ready For Some Football?!  I am and that is the focus of my Feel Good Friday post today.  There is a lot going on in my life, dying cars, health insurance issues, job search struggles, and… the approach of football season.
            My husband and I are big fans.  At my suggestion, we celebrate every anniversary by going to our local team’s game that weekend.  We even have one of those NFL credit cards, which we used religiously to acquire points toward Super Bowl tickets (we’re hopeful).  You might have noticed the past tense used, and that is because recently after years of acquiring points, almost enough points to get those Super Bowl tickets, Bank of America sent us a notice that they were terminating the NFL credit card and all customers were urged to redeem their points prior to July or they would be forfeited.  I was upset; we were so close (honestly I am getting to the feel good part).  But there was no choice.  If we didn’t want to lose the points we had to redeem them. 
            I searched for an away game package, but they were all more points now that the program was closing.  So instead we got tickets for our anniversary to include field passes, and another set of tickets to a second game (and a grill cover, a sweatshirt and a number of other useless items that are not Super Bowl tickets).  Today, Feel Good Friday, I received both set of tickets.  The October game tickets are on the 50-yard line, row 3.  My anniversary game, 50-yard line row 1!  Yes that is right “I must be in the front row.”  So I feel pretty good today.  It is not the Super Bowl, but it is damn good seats, to two different games.
            The “We Need A Flood” angle?  Shortly after I redeemed my points, I got a second notice from Bank of America.  They wanted me to renew my credit card with the same number for a second NFL points program.  That is right.  The first program is cancelled and the points can’t be carried over, but they have started a second program and want me as a customer.  Yeah right.  Like I am going to fall for that again.  So even though I am feeling good this Friday, there will be no Bank of America branches or ATM’s on my ark.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Business Discourtesy

I didn't expect for both my husband and myself to remain unemployed for over a year, but that is what has happened.  You might find this hard to believe given the nature of this blog, but I am not someone who complains without acting. My general feeling about life is that if it is important enough to bitch about, it is important enough to do something about and I have very little tolerance for people who repetitively complain about the same person, thing, or circumstance without doing anything about it.  So although both the breadwinners in our family have been laid off for over a year, we have not sat back idly and moped.  We have sent out resumes, made cold calls, networked.  We have retrained, recertified and generally expanded our employment horizons.  We have started marketing ourselves for side jobs just to make something if not enough.  We have even begun researching opening our own business totally unrelated to our previous careers.  We have not been apathetic to our own cause.
            With all this effort you can see why I did not expect for us both to remain unemployed for this long.  The economy doesn’t surprise me.  It is the response of the employers that does.  That is why many of the employers I have encountered will not be allowed on the ark-so there!
            But seriously, to the company that held a four-hour interview and then ended with “Call on Friday we should have an answer by then.”  I hope you know more about water survival than you do about business courtesy.  You do not tell someone to call you and then avoid his call…five times.  At the very least, when your secretary answers the second or third time in a week and a half, you could at least instruct her to notify unwanted candidates that the position has been filled instead of repeatedly putting us through to your voicemail where we will remain ignored indefinitely.
            And to the employer that had a seven hour interview equipped with meeting the president of the company, perhaps we are unemployed at the moment, but that doesn’t mean our time is invaluable and we are looking for ways to waste it.  Do not end a marathon interview like that with the words “ Well, we are not even sure there is going to be a position, but if there is we will certainly consider you for it.”  If you don’t know whether you have an opening, don’t hold interviews.  Surely you, the president of a Forbes 500 company, must have something more important to do than play-act with me all afternoon.
            To the many, many companies that post jobs but never respond to the collected resumes.  I get you are busy, good for you and good for the person you end up hiring to handle all that business. But couldn’t you at least acknowledge receipt?  Is it too much for the person answering the phone to say, “ Yes, Mr. Jones, we did receive your c.v. but the position is now filled?” Is it really?  There was a time when that would have been the very least you could do.  Remember the 90’s when companies would send out postcards to let you know they now had your resume on file?
            But the biggest surprise to me was this.  I didn't expect for employers to disregard us because we were over-qualified. Not because our salary requirements were too high (you lower those as time goes on until you’ll accept almost anything commiserate with your industry), not because we were jockeying for positions that were not available, but because they want to hire someone with less experience because they are afraid an experienced person will leave once the economy rebounds.  Let me tell you something, I’ll work for a much lower salary for a company that gives me a chance in this horrible economy. Then when the economy rebounds, all I expect is for you to pay me what I am worth to the company.  I am confident that once you have the money, you’ll find me worth every penny.  And I have some sense of loyalty.  I’ll be fair with you because you were willing to give me a chance, as long as you are fair with me.
            The puzzling thing is that their poor judgment shows, but apparently not enough to affect their choices. I am hearing more and more clients unhappy with the level of incompetence at these companies.  I am hearing many people complain about the ignorance of the staff they encounter.  And customer service?  I’ve covered that topic before, but suffice it to say that these poor hiring choices show most obviously with the people interacting with the public.  So to all you employers who claim we are “overqualified,” you hire under qualified idiots all the time, God forbid you err on the overqualified side of the spectrum.
            My message to all the companies that are continuing to stifle the economy by hiring only the very young and inexperienced, who by the way, are not going to help you grow your market share they way we could, I suggest you add flood insurance to your executive benefits package.

Monday, August 23, 2010


So while we are selecting out incompetent store workers, lets talk about the cashiers.  If you hand me my change on top of my dollar bills, I will make you walk the plank.

            In fact, I think I will create an entrance exam for admittance to the ark, and it won’t be like the college exams, which have become increasingly easier in order to jack up the schools’ attendance and thus profitability, it will be a real exam created with the intention of weeding out everyone but the most deserving.  Remember, this is my ark so I get to decide who is most deserving.  There will be no politically correct couching here; you either pass or fail. And on the basic customer service skills portion, if you put my change on top of the paper bills, you fail.
            This, like grocery bag packing, is not a difficult one.  Common sense should prevail here.  If you place a pile of coins on top of a pile of bills in a person’s hand, it is
likely to spill when the hand is moved, unless you are a master at stacking coins and the recipient has an exceptionally steady hand, and even then, why?  If you are counting back your change the way you are supposed to (I know, it is like grocery bag packing all over again, no one knows how to do this any more) you have to count out the coins first anyway. (To those of you for whom this is news, check out this website).  So place the coins in the palm of my upturned hand and then count back the dollars and place those on TOP of the coins.  It is much easier this way.  I can put the bills back in my wallet before having to go for the change purse, and nothing drops on the ground and rolls under the counter or half way across the floor so I either have to look like a fool chasing after it, or walk away from my money.
            And while we are at it, can you please learn how to make change without relying on the cash register?  Again not difficult, anyone old enough to work should have the basic skill of subtraction.  That is all change is you know, subtracting one number from another.  If you can count to one hundred and subtract, you ought to be able to make change without a cash register.  If you can’t do both of the above things, you ought not to be hired, at least not as a cashier.
            So lets go over this for the intellectually challenged teenager working at my local drug store. If my total comes to $13.47 and I give you a $20, all you need to do to get started is subtract 47 from 100 to figure out the coin part of the change. 100-47 is 53 so you owe me 53 cents to start.  Count that out from your drawer and place it in my hand.  If you are really good, you can even count it back to me handing me the three pennies and saying “forty-eight, forty-nine, fifty” and then handing me the two quarters and saying “and fifty cents makes fourteen”.  If you are already confused, please don’t take a job working with money. 
            Now you need to figure out the bills.  This is even easier because you are only subtracting 14 from 20; my first grader can do that.  So when you hand back the $1 you say “fifteen” because now our total is up to $15, then you hand me a $5 and say “twenty.”  This completed, you have successfully made change for the $20 I gave you and distributed it back in the correct manner.
            It is simple subtraction, and it is subtraction that is likely to never go above 100.
            Finally the one that really gets them at the store is when I hand them a payment that allows me to get back fewer coins.  Like for instance, the time that I handed the teenager $20.02 when my total came to $15.77.  She could not for the life of her figure out why I handed her the two pennies.  First she told me I gave her too much money and tried to hand back the pennies.  I explained that I did that on purpose.  She looked at me like a deer caught in headlights and said “but it’s too much.”  I explained to her how the pennies allowed the change to be a quarter.  Still nothing. Eventually I had to walk her step by step through the exact change to give me and she hesitantly went along with my instructions.  It would have been amusing if it hadn’t been so pathetic.  I mean really, when did Americans get so dumb and why on earth are employers hiring these ninnies?  There is a recession out here you know.  There are plenty of intelligent people who can make change, smile, and exhibit genuine customer service all at the same time.  There is no need for you to hire the idiot that can’t do her job even with the aid of all her fingers and toes.
            So the standards will be higher on the ark. If you couldn’t have graduated high school in the fifties, you aren’t allowed passage (unless, of course, you are a child).  My flood is designed to get rid of all the rude, selfish, and entitled people, if you can’t bother to learn subtraction you aren’t serious about survival of the fittest and we will be just fine without you.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mangled Bread

I haven’t put a lot of thought into the social workings of the ark, but I suspect that if we are all going to be on board for a long time we may need some sort of ship’s store and if so, we are going to need someone to work the cash register and package the goods.  Can you see where I am going with this one?  People who cannot handle these simple tasks with some semblance of competence will not be allowed access to the ark.  In fact, maybe we’ll all take turns at the various necessary jobs on the ark and those who are incompetent will be fired and then dispelled.

            This post comes from many years of being thoroughly frustrated by the incompetence at the grocery store.  As a young mother, my grandmother worked at a grocery store (and a bank, and took in other people’s laundry to help pay her bills; people did that back then, did what it took to pay their own way).  Back then people took pride in their jobs.  I remember my mother telling me “anything worth doing is worth doing right.”  My grandmother knew how to pack groceries: cans on the bottom, bread on the top.  She would never have handed a customer a bag that had a turkey crushing the produce, or eggs precariously balanced and waiting to fall off the top.  It isn’t a difficult concept.  There is no need for an extensive education, just common sense.  If it is crushable like hot dog rolls don’t put it under something heavy like a 24oz can of crushed tomatoes. And believe it or not, you can fit more than three or four things into one bag if you have even a basic understanding of space (the round peg cannot fit into the square hole).  For those of you who don’t believe me, here’s how.
            If it were a lot to ask or even took a lot of time to do, it might not bother me so much that no one does this anymore, but if you know what you are doing (and I am sure a five minute training session from the host store could teach anyone) it can be done right in as much time as it takes to do incorrectly.  It is simply laziness on the part of the packer, and apathy on the part of the store.  I just don’t think it is that much to ask that my loaf of bread resemble a rectangle when I get it home instead of the mashed modern art shape I sometimes unpack from the bottom of my canned goods bag.
            My solution is often to beat the clerk to the punch and pack it myself.  I suppose my mom deserves a shout out for that one since it is she who taught me, when I was a young girl shopping with her, how to pack a grocery bag.  Who knew that would turn out to be such a rare skill?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Please Shut Up

First, let me apologize for another unintended absence.  I have no excuse other than August has been a very busy month for me and although I have encountered plenty of blog worthy situations that all call for a rant, I have had to make note of them for future use.  That said, I am back and I am responding to a request for more rants on rude people.  Let me introduce you to the self-important know-it all (and yes, I know who you are, or at least who you think you are) who is the latest on my ark black list.

            So today I am sitting in a class for which I paid a significant amount in order to hear two experts speak.  It was a hot day, and I love to learn and so for those two reasons I sat in the front row; there was a fan and it is easier to see and pay attention when one is up front.
            Right off, I realize I have made the wrong seating choice.  I should have sat on the right hand side of the room, but instead I have planted myself directly in front of a woman who feels that she deserves as much airtime as the paid professionals.  At first, it is just an overly loud “uh-huh” or “that’s right” coming from behind me.  Then she begins to follow their points with points of her own.
            In a seminar that only lasted two hours and accommodated thirty participants, none of whom were asked to introduce themselves or say anything at all for that matter, I learned that this woman used to be a musician and also a consultant with her own training firm by the time she was 39, and that she now writes poetry, loves Thelma and Louise, and does not believe that Anna Karenina had an antagonist.  I probably would know a lot more about her but for the fact that after about three interruptions I began chanting “please shut up” silently in my head every time she opened her mouth.
            Unfortunately, I seem to run into her type frequently.  It is one thing to be stuck next to her at a dinner party or cornered by him in the doctor’s office where I have to hear what a wonderful dancer he believes himself to be, but when I pay to go hear experts speak, that is exactly what I want: to hear the experts speak. I don’t want to hear other participants, who may or may not know more than the rest of us, tell the entire paying populous what he or she thinks.  We don’t care about your opinion.  If we did, we’d have paid to see you!  As it stands, we paid to see the very polite persons (yes it is persons not people for those who are concerned with the deterioration of the English language- look for a future post on the dumbing down of America) who are indulging your diatribe during their scheduled speech and smiling politely while the rest of us, or at least myself, seethe at your rude self-indulgence.
            So to the woman at the seminar who was obviously craving everyone’s attention for some dysfunctional reason, next time you are in a situation where a number of persons have paid to hear another person or persons speak, please sit there quietly, take notes, and fight any and all urges you may have to put in your two cents.  We aren’t interested.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thinking For Ourselves

If you like my sarcastic rants, thank you and you can expect one shortly.  In the meantime, I have had such a trying week that I took a little time off from writing, especially about the things bothering me, because I was afraid that humorously sarcastic would morph into downright mean and I don't want to go there.  If I did, I wouldn't be allowed my own ark.  

However, in thinking about last week's post and the labels of left and right for political thinking, I realized that we as Americans have boxed ourselves into a two party system.  Americans' political views are as varied as Americans themselves and I think it is time we stop limiting ourselves.  Perhaps a little old-fashioned American diversity would do this country good during the next round of elections so here is my challenge to you all.
Don’t blindly follow a political party or politician.  Don’t let anyone tell you how a good “Democrat” or Republican" thinks.  Here is a quiz that will help you to determine to which party your own ideals are closest.  Politicians use propaganda to convince the masses they are Democrat or Republican depending on the agenda.  But when an intellectual debate is held, I think you’ll see that many who vote along party lines because they think they are supposed to would actually align themselves with a different political party if they examined the belief systems of all the political options.  Take this test and see which party you truly line up with best.  And then use that knowledge in the next election when it can make a difference.

And I’ll be back to bitching in the near future.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Racist!"- A Propagandist Appeal To Fear

People who throw out the accusation of racism out of propagandist motivation or pure ignorance, are not allowed on the ark.  By the way, neither are racists.

            It really isn’t a complicated concept.

rac·ism  (rā'sĭz'əm)  
       -1.            The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
       -1.            Discrimination or prejudice based on race.
rac'ist  adj.  & n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

However, in today’s discussion of many of the important issues facing our country, the term is flung around by the left with reckless abandon.  Actually, that is inaccurate; there is nothing reckless about it.  The term racism is carefully wielded to discredit anyone who may disagree with the leftist agenda.  It is a propagandist tactic called an appeal to fear.  If there is nothing real to discredit a person with conservative ideas, if the facts don’t support a true repudiation of the opposition, then the left pulls out their Scarlet Letter “R.”  99% of the time it is totally unfounded, but for some reason that doesn’t seem to matter.

Racism is a dirty term and the liberals count on that.  No one wants to be labeled as a racist, and unfortunately once ignorant America hears that term pinned on someone they lock on it, prejudge (how ironic), and refuse to actually hear the facts and opinions presented logically by the accused person, even though the accused isn’t a racist.

If people truly stopped and thought, or even better yet, listened to the actual arguments presented by the opposition, they might actually learn something and form their own opinions based on facts.  Oh the horror.  That is exactly what propagandists fear, but what we, as Americans, have to start doing again.  I’ll tell you, you can bet our great-grandfathers did not vote based on what someone told them they should think.  They listened, they evaluated and they came to their own decisions, right or wrong.  If contemporary Americans did more of that, America would not be in the mess it is today.

Just a few examples that I want the thinking individuals who read my blog to consider:

People opposing illegal immigration are called racists.

How is opposing illegal activity racist?  I have not heard a single Tea Party member denigrate any race, just the ILLEGAL activity.  As a group, they do no oppose Mexicans, Irish, Russians, or any other ethnicity that is currently represented by these criminals.   They oppose the criminals.  Perhaps you remember logical fallacies from high school English?  If not, I believe the term is inductive argument and there is an example of it here (scroll down to the bottom of the page).  Logical fallacies are used in propaganda to trick people into thinking something is true when it isn’t.  It is the tactic being used by those on the left to slander the right and try to discredit the movement to secure our borders.  No one is saying that most Mexicans are illegal, what is being said is that most ILLEGALS are Mexicans.  Do you see the difference?  The left hopes you don’t and so they throw out racist to blur your view.

People who oppose higher taxes are also called racist.

Apparently wanting to keep your own hard earned money is now “racist”.  What on earth does one have to do with the other?  The conservative argument is that American’s money is being taken from us, carelessly spent and often corruptly used, and that we have had enough.  Look back 100 years.  This country ran much more efficiently on a much smaller percentage of the American Worker’s dollar.  Even 30 years ago we did more with less.  Take education for example, my school offered gym, art, music, theater, after school sports all included in my parents tax rate.  Nowadays the same school has cancelled art and gym and decreased its sports program.  Those sports that are still around require the students to pay for their own uniforms and provide their own transportation.  Why is that?  They get more money now per kid than they did then? The answer is mismanagement combined with entitlement.  Just look to any teenager to see this principal in action.  If you give a kid $10 a week allowance, at the end of the week he will have nothing left over (the average kid anyway). If you give him $20, same thing.  Entitled entities are likely to spend anything they can get their hands on and then ask for more when they want something else. That is what our government does now because they know that they can take more whenever they run out of what they have already taken from us.

The right argues that we don’t work this hard so someone else can spend it with abandon.  Nowhere is black, white, brown, yellow, or blue mentioned.  In fact, I would argue it is the left that is racist because what they are truly saying is that the problem is not with their misspending, it is with the people of color in our country not contributing enough.  They are deflecting responsibility by calling the minorities the entitled entities.

All I am asking is the next time you hear the term racist tossed out to refute a position, listen carefully. Did the accused really utter anything racist at all, or is the accuser planting his own racist view into the argument and attributing it to his opposition?  Be wary of propaganda.  It can get you all turned around.  Don’t take someone else’s word for it.  Go to the source.  Look up the accused article, download the indicted speech.  And learn for yourself what that person’s points are, then evaluate them based on their merit not on your political affiliation.

And if you are interested in hearing true racism, check out this site.  You’ll see something I’ve been noticing for years now.  Most racism seems to come from exactly the individuals who cry “racist” the loudest.  But you be the judge. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Bandits

People who read the books at Barnes and Noble like it is a library will not have access to the ark. 

I love books.  I have purchased and kept every book I have read as an adult except for one novel by Sir Walter Raleigh (which I could not get through) and a couple of career related books that I took out of the library on subjects I don’t feel the need to host on my shelves.  I spend a lot of time (and money) on books and I know that I am unusual in that respect.  Many writers are.  I don’t want the Kindle or the Nook or any other computerized book system because I want to own the physical publication.  I have them all on bookshelves throughout my house.  That said, to all of you lounging around at the bookstore reading books you don’t own, for God sakes GO TO THE LIBRARY!
There is a difference between a bookstore and a library.  One is a public service and one is a moneymaking venture.  If you are unsure of the difference, please click on the links above.  It is one thing to leaf through the pages of a novel quickly, scanning the first chapter and occasional subsequent pages to see if you like the writing style and are drawn in by the beginning of the story, judging the book by its cover and a little more to determine whether you want to purchase it.  It is quite another to plant yourself in an oversized comfy chair with your cup of coffee, put on your glasses and read the book for an hour or so.  That is not perusing; that is stealing.
Perhaps it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you.  Perhaps dog-earing the pages of a book that can no longer be sold doesn’t bother your conscience.  I suppose you feel that copyrights, royalties, and other pesky laws probably don’t apply to you.  But they do.  So if you can’t afford the $7.99 or (I understand books can be expensive) the $25.99 for the book in your hand, put it down, step away from the bookstore, and slowly reach for your keys.  Once you have exited the building, drive to your nearest library where you are welcome to curl up with one of their books. They’ll even let you take it home at no cost to you as long as you promise to bring it back when you are done.  You can manage that courtesy can’t you?  If not, we’ll tackle that subject on another day.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Mid-Life Crisis

No flood victims today.  It is Feel Good Friday.

Lately when people ask me how I am doing, my natural reaction is to say “great”, not good, great. 
 “How are the kids?”
 “Are you going crazy with your husband home yet?” 
My husband was laid off from work over a year ago, as was I
 “No I love having him home.”

It is great.  They are fantastic, and I do love having him home.  And I think it is all a result of my mid-life crisis. Yes, you read right.  When you find yourself laid off and your husband laid off with no prospects on the immediate horizon, you start questioning things, examining your life, wondering what you want to be when you grow up.  I have spent a lot of time soul searching this year. 
At first I was anxious, if not panicked.  We both spent hours on-line redoing resumes, checking employment listings, networking with colleagues hoping to find work.  But frankly, it’s tough out there.  It is getting better for the younger kids, but for those of us with experience, no one’s willing to take the higher salary hiring leap yet, at least not in our industries.
So I started reexamining my career path.  I’ve had a lot of different jobs.  I have two degrees.  I owned and sold my own company.  I could be something different.  But what would that be?  I looked, I considered new possibilities, I applied to new jobs, but still I found myself unemployed.  As time went on, I actually grew less panicked.  I’m a planner.  I budget, and I saved for a rainy day.  Thank God because it has been pouring for a year now.
But as we began cutting back, clipping coupons, adjusting our lifestyle, I began to grow more comfortable with how it was going to be.  I spent less time thinking ‘GET A JOB RIGHT NOW!’ and more time thinking ‘what an opportunity!  We have the chance to start it all over.  We’re not locked into the career paths we chose at 20 or even 30.  We can be anything we want to be.  Life dealt us a do over and the justification to take it if we want to. ’  And I spent a lot of time convincing my husband he should feel as optimistic.  The world is our oyster, so lets shuck it!
I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up, but I am exploring.  I am learning Greek because I have always wanted to.  I am spending a lot more time with my whole family as a unit.  The kids are getting quality and quantity time with their dad that most children (and fathers) never get to have.  I think that is huge and something that all of them (dad included) will look back on some day with great appreciation.  I have considered all sorts of new vocations and I am really excited about the one I am researching right now.  So is my husband.
So my mid-life crisis has turned into an opportunity to reinvent my life, or at least the parts I want to recreate. There are quite a few parts I like just the way they are: my family life, my friends and the close relationship I’ve enjoyed by spending more time with my husband now than ever before in our 15 years together.
If that’s not something to feel good about, I don’t know what is.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

From Behind The Bathroom Stall

The latest ark admittance rejection goes out to the anonymous woman in the bathroom at Chucky Cheese.

            First of all, understand I have done pretty much everything in my power to avoid going to Chucky Cheese.  My eldest son has been asking for years (darn those commercials!).  But fortunately for me, the closest Chucky Cheese is about 45 minutes away and we never have occasion to be in that neighborhood.  So, as far as my kids knew, Chucky Cheese was just a place on TV. 
However, after a four hour car ride to our vacation destination with three children, two of whom had behaved okay although one or the other had talked incessantly throughout the whole trip, and one of whom had been exceptionally well behaved (using the bathroom when his brother needed to stop instead of making us stop again thirty minutes later, being absolutely silent when one or the other of his younger siblings was sleeping, handing things to those same younger siblings to help keep them occupied and happy and not once, no not ONCE in four hours ever asking are we there yet?  or complaining in any other manner) I decided to reward my oldest with dinner at Chucky Cheese. Ugh.
            So we went in and spent an exorbitant amount on a mediocre pizza and more tokens than three children 6,3 and 2 can use in an hour.  It was fun for them and it was nice to reward my six year-old for his good behavior.  I find that goes a lot further toward procuring more good behavior than yelling at the bad behavior, which unfortunately is my far too frequent disposition.  
Anyway, as we were getting ready to leave, it dawns on me that my two year-old needs a change.  My squirmy, strong willed, and devilish little girl needed a clean diaper.  What she really needs is potty training but that is a post for another time.  So, I take her in to change her and do my best to balance her on the courtesy changing table while securing the clean diaper and wipe container from the diaper bag.  I balance everything very strategically and start taking off her sneakers so I can get off her shorts and subsequent diaper to begin this oh so fun chore when she begins to squirm and turn and try to get off the 4 foot high table.
If you haven’t noticed from my posts, I am prone to venting, so I begin telling my two year-old that she needs to stop squirming and that this would be much easier if she would hold still. While trying to prevent her from wiggling her way right off the table onto the floor, I sternly say her name to get her attention and remind her that she could fall, and that on top of that, she isn’t making this any easier.  I am not angry nor have I raised my voice, I am merely talking my way through an otherwise frustrating situation.  I talk like this with and to my kids all the time. And despite what some well meaning people have told me, they do understand the word cooperation at two, they know what I mean and they can obey if they choose to.
 However, I talk my way through these situations more for my own sanity in order that I don’t grow so frustrated that I become angry.  It is my coping mechanism.  Anyway, I am talking my way through this very squirmy diaper change and what do I hear from the peanut gallery outside the door?  (yes someone felt the need to comment)  Someone outside a closed door, who could not be identified and therefore felt comfortable voicing her unsolicited opinion, shouted out “By the way, you sound like an idiot in there.”
My response?  “I’m sorry, I don’t remember asking your opinion.”  I was fuming.  Here I was talking with my daughter, not yelling, not saying anything inappropriate, but obviously struggling.  Instead of offering help like I might have done, this low rent buttinski decides to insult me.  I mean really?  Who asked you?  And where do you get off?
Now I have no way of knowing who this woman was or I assure you that I would have gone out and in as polite a tone as I could muster approach her and say something along the lines of  “I am terribly sorry if my telling my daughter to hold still in a diatribe that entertains her long enough to actually effectuate a diaper change sounded idiotic enough to you that you felt the need to comment, but perhaps in the future, you might consider holding your own counsel and making yourself useful instead of being so rude an ineffectual.”  I so wanted to say something like that to her.  I mean hello?  Have you BEEN to Chucky Cheese?  The whole reason I didn’t want to go there is because the non-parenting population frequents the place.  By that I mean, the parents that you hear me complain about regularly who do not watch or discipline their children but rather sit at their tables obliviously filling their faces while their children wreak havoc and they pretend they are not responsible for it.  This place is full of kids who are off the wall and parents that don’t bother to even TRY and control them and I am the one she feels the need to say something to? Please!  So to that obnoxious woman who must have been an employee not a mom (because any mom would understand the struggle I was undertaking and feel sympathy, if not relief that she wasn’t in my position) hush up. And while you are at it, get some courage, because if you feel strongly enough about something that you need to share your opinion with a perfect stranger at least have the fortitude to do it face to face not from behind a bathroom stall.
Whew!  I may not have gotten to say it directly to the offending person, but it sure feels better to get something like that off my chest.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Not Feeling So Good This Friday

Ugh!  This post was entitled I Need Work and it started with an apology for my absence followed by an explanation about how I have been out of town for ten days.  It told you that I did bring my laptop in order to keep my posts current.  But, that despite the best of intentions, I found myself with no internet service at my location. Oops.
The main body of the rant was all about a self-important twenty-something who was directing traffic and deliberately caused gridlock just to flex his ego. It addressed the lack of customer service and the bad attitude more prevalent today in an economy with the highest unemployment rates we’ve seen in decades, which seems counterintuitive.  If there are more people looking for jobs, you’d think those with jobs would work harder to keep them, but that is just me.  Anyway, it went on to chastise the ferry company for employing this jerk and other jerks like him because they are known for their workers with bad attitudes.  Then at the end, when we finally escaped the parking lot this egomaniacal twenty-something controlled, it juxtaposed the narrative of this very annoying abuse of power with the image of the middle-aged man in jeans and a t-shirt who was positioned just outside the parking lot holding a sign that read; I need work.  It suggested that perhaps the ferry company could look into hiring someone like the sign holding gentleman over the entitled college kid and everyone would fare better. 
            But after writing that post filled with what I hope were entertaining witticisms and laugh out loud sarcastic moments, I decided to make a dent in my next post, a rough draft that I saved over my finely crafted final version of I Need Work.
            Yes you read that right, I saved it OVER my finished post, which because I have exhausted my frustration with that particular situation is now nothing more than this summary.  So after a week away and two hours spent crafting my return, I apologize, but I just can’t write it again. 
            I will say to the twenty-something that stopped the mini van full of vacationers and blocked him and the rest of us in with a car that could not board the ferry for another five full minutes (I timed it), I hope your inflated ego helps you float.  To the ferry company that supports this jerk and others like him, I suppose you have your own boat, which is a good thing because it means the likes of you all won’t poison our ark.  But today’s flood victim is the idiot that caused me to lose a perfectly hilarious post…wait that would be me!  Can I give myself a pass?  Still I’m not sure I deserve one.  What a bonehead!