Saturday, October 10, 2009

I hate the telephone company!



As many of you already know from my previous blog, I hate my telephone company. Last month, I made a number of changes to my telephone service with Qwest in order to save money. I thought everything was fine until today when I opened my phone bill. It was the highest bill of the year and I made only one $0.30 long distance call. Too bad, I don’t really have much of a choice. If utility companies, weren’t legalized monopolies, they wouldn’t be able to get away with the stunts they pull.

Last month’s plan of action was to dump AT&T because they were charging me $18.82/month for services I rarely used. I went as far as making a recorded statement to confirm and verify my changes to my service. As it should happen, AT&T had absolutely no knowledge of this change. Isn’t that convenient? I was being charged for two long distance carriers. Somebody screwed up and it wasn’t me. Therefore, I shouldn’t be paying for somebody else’s mistake.

Previous blog:
Qwest Communications and inferior rural telephone service http://vandal49588.blogspot.com/2009/09/update-qwest-communications-and.html
 
On Friday, October 9, 2009, I spoke with a very soft spoken Middle Eastern or Indian sounding “Turd World” son of a bitch. He pissed me off from the very beginning of the call. Being hearing impaired, I insisted that he speak up. Being a White American, I have little patience for these outsourced off-shore representatives. He insisted on talking like his hand covered his mouth. He could have been talking out of his ass for all I know. As most of you can imagine, the call did not end well. It ended with me being angry. I was already angry enough when I opened my statement upon returning from my mailbox.

At this point, I was done talking with AT&T. I didn’t want a repeat of the “Wells Fargo Incident”, where my home was surrounded by sheriff’s deputies because I used bad language on the phone. I did manage to insult and verbally abuse this creature before making him hang up on me. I must have hurt his feelings. “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.“ These so-called customer service representatives are more than likely trained to be total assholes. It’s their desire to make people give up, take their lumps and go away in hopes they never call back. Unfortunately for them, I don’t operate that way.

I find it necessary to be a bigger asshole than the damn foreigner on the phone. This reminds me of an occasion where one of my former employers said, “I’m paying you to be an asshole!” His name was Danny Hendon. I did a great job. I was the best asshole I could be. In fact, I was such an asshole, I quit working for him and got a job working for a competitor. I had the last laugh.

After cooling off from my AT&T call, I called Qwest. To my amazement, the customer service representative was pleasant and spoke very clear English. After going through all of the information exchange and verification of my identity, I managed to get this person to change the various codes associated with my bill so this issue would not come up in the future.

Finally, she removed that $18.82 charge, bringing my balance down to where it should have been in the first place. I was still not finished. It’s my primary objective to deny money to those that I’m not happy with. I decided to give my caller ID the axe as well. That’s another $9.00/month Qwest will not be seeing from me ever again. Hopefully, they will quit screwing up because I’m running out of things to throw back in their face.

We’ll see what happens when my bill arrives next month. Hopefully, I won’t have to call these idiots again.

“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another . . . a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
—The Declaration of Independence

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oh no! There are lights in the Sky! Run for the Hills!



Every time the military conducts an exercise involving the use of flares, the local crazies come out of the woodwork. This is not the work of little green guys, or even Bigfoot. It’s our tax dollars supposedly at work. Prior to watching these flares, multiple aircraft were clearly visible from my back porch.

Not one person said anything the other day when explosions were heard and the ground shook enough to make my office window rattle. Put a few flares or a balloon up in the sky and it gets full press coverage.

Phoenix residents have a strange obsession with lights in the sky. The heat must have fried their brains. A warning to those black helicopter pilots: My dogs are trained to chase and attack low flying aircraft. You have been warned.

I went out last night and tried some night photography during a military training exercise on the Goldwater Range. I was really disappointed with last night's exercise. The military has put on better shows on the nights they didn't advertise. I live far enough out of town for it to be dark. My back yard faces the Goldwater Range. The flares were of a much shorter duration than normal. On other occasions, they lasted several seconds. These were visible for only a couple of seconds.

I took this photo shortly before 8:30PM. Having an inexpensive camera and limited night time experience didn’t help. This is probably one of the worst pictures I’ve taken. Despite this, my photo did manage to get a few seconds of air time on the 10:00PM Channel 12 News. I was probably the only one out in the dark with my camera waiting for the “show”. Channel 12 sent a helicopter to film the spectacle.

Not UFOs! Bright lights expected in Arizona sky tonight

Air Force officials say the exercise will train pilots in night operations; Arizona civic leaders and elected officials have been invited to view the training."We do not want the flare activity to frighten and alarm citizens," said State Representative Jerry Weiers, chair of Military Affairs and Public Safety. "This exercise is part of a routine training exercise and shouldn't concern citizens because this type of training is a regular occurrence at The Barry M. Goldwater Range."
http://www.abc15.com/content/news/phoenixmetro/central/story/Not-UFOs-Bright-lights-expected-in-Arizona-sky/uIt1vK-vZ0S5H2ngm5GVGA.cspx
 
Lights in Ariz. night sky are flares, not UFOs

Arizona officials are warning people not to be alarmed if they see some mysterious lights in the night sky.
Flares are scheduled to be dropped Thursday night from attack aircraft onto targets as part of a U.S. Air Force training exercise.
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/10/08/20091008night-flares-ON.html
 
Sci-fi movie offers new theory for 'Phoenix Lights' mystery

Residents in Phoenix and across the state said they saw a triangular formation pass over their homes. Others saw a series of stationary lights in a long line.The United States Air Force later identified the lights as flares from the Barry Goldwater Range, but many continue to believe differently.
http://www.abc15.com/content/entertainment/localevents/story/Sci-fi-movie-offers-new-theory-for-Phoenix-Lights/iscQwdDc4UGaMb0erQK0wA.cspx
 
Well, there you have it. These are the lights that get people so excited. I was able to duck out during the commercials while watching C.S.I. Las Vegas and write this blog in less than 45 minutes.

Now that it has cooled off, I’ll be conducting more illegal immigration patrols and other more radical activities and adventures.

"A friend is nothing but an unknown enemy."
--Kurt Cobain

"Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you fight with your neighbour. It makes you shoot at your landlord and it makes you miss him." --Irish proverb
 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rural blight, Schools. . . Property Taxes in Pinal County, Arizona












I was almost ready to send my check to the county treasurer to cover my property taxes. Apparently, the statements they spent lots of money (taxpayer dollars) to print and mail are wrong. I shouldn’t be all that surprised. When was the last time anybody in government did anything right?

Between the widespread rural blight and that dragline across the road obscuring my beautiful mountain views with huge piles of dirt, I begin to wonder if my property is really worth anything. The banks aren’t lending and people aren’t buying because they have no jobs. Although my real estate portfolio might look good on paper, what good is it when there is no market?

Tax statements to be re-issued for Pinal County homeowners

Calling it a Treasurer’s worst nightmare might be a stretch but the Pinal County Treasurer is re-issuing tax bills for single-family homeowners.

“To calculate the tax bill, we gather data from many sources and feed it into formulas that result in the primary and secondary tax rates,” Treasurer Dodie Doolittle said. “Several legislative efforts and subsequent vetoes by the Governor affected the taxes for education. The reduction rate forwarded to us by the School Superintendent’s office resulted in a miscalculation of the state aid provided to homeowners for primary taxes.” http://maricopa360.com/?p=6725

I noticed the word “reduction” in the article and I don’t for a single minute believe that my revised tax bill will be any less than the first one. The use of cleaver wording by government officials usually means the opposite of what they’re actually saying. Read the article very carefully. You’ll see what I mean.
 
Override looms as tax rates frustrate locals

Questions from concerned residents concerning tax rates have bombarded the offices of the various agencies in Maricopa and Pinal County since notices began appearing in area mailboxes last month.Of primary concern was why, for many, tax rates had gone up in the midst of plummeting home values and generally shrinking government budgets.

In Pinal County, there are four main agencies that have limits in how much they can tax: the county, the city, the school district and the community colleges.If the total tax rate of those four entities is more than 10 percent, the state covers any excess total above that 10 percent amount for owner occupied residential property.

I’m voting “NO!!!” on this override. In fact, I vote no on everything that potentially raises my cost of living. More taxes and more spending means more waste, corruption and mismanagement. It always does. We have been mislead by politicians and the media that the quality of education is somehow directly proportional to the amount of taxpayer money spent. This couldn’t be any further from the truth.

The ancient Greeks were highly educated and had little more than a place to sit while they engaged in their studies. They had no electricity, computers or paper. Look at the great accomplishments they achieved. They did it without huge sums of money.

The Maricopa Unified Schools have only been in session for barely two months and the students are already off on break. And there was the Labor Day weekend and all of those days where there were early dismissals. How much will they forget during that week off? Did they even learn anything to forget? Instead of learning, they are out shoplifting from Walmart and vandalizing people’s property. If you want them to learn, keep them in class for more than a couple of months. Don’t come crying to the taxpayer for more money when they fail.

If and when these kids grow up enough to make it to the workplace, what will they do when they discover that there are no early dismissals and their vacation is over a year away?

When these kids are pushing 30 years of age and are still unemployed and living with mommy & daddy, don’t even think about blaming anybody but the parents. It’s certainly not my fault. If I had it my way, school would be just like work. I remember not having a vacation in over two years. I worked mandatory overtime. Often, I wouldn’t get lunch until 30 minutes before clocking out after a 13 hour day. That’s the kind of reality children need to learn before they are dumped out into the cold angry world in hopes they will be able to fend for themselves.

The parents of these future hoodlums, thugnuts and prison inmates should also be compelled to become part of the solution. Parents need to lean on their kids and learn how to say “NO!” more often. They need to learn about “unpopular decisions”. There will be many of those in the real world. Clueless parents are the first people that cry, bitch and moan when their “little angels” screw up. Of course, it’s us taxpayers that pay for their lack of motivation and poor decision making in the long run.

If you can’t take care of children properly, don’t breed! Tie a knot in it or go find a knothole in a fence. I have no children in school and my education is paid for. I see no reason why I should be expected to pay for other people’s kids anyway. We should eliminate school taxes and make the parents pay tuition for their kids. If the money is coming directly out of the parents pockets, they might actually take a more active role in their children's education. They might even learn. Of course, parents will want what they pay for.

We are currently throwing money into a bottomless pit. As a result, nothing is gained. Remember that on your way to the voting booth.
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Update: Like I anticipated, the amount of the bill has increased. Read the story below.

Pinal County makes error; property tax to increase

A calculation error by the Pinal County Treasurer’s Office will result in the reissuing of tax bills next week to homes across the county, and an increase in the amount paid out by all homeowners.

The error occurred when the treasurer mistakenly applied a state discount on the school district portions of both the primary and secondary property taxes; the state mandates the discount only be applied to the primary portion.
http://www.85239.com/NEWS/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?mid1=430&&ArticleID=6795

“After we let the control of public policy slip out of the hands of our people and into the hands of the media bosses, we began feeling impotent; we began feeling that we no longer had control over our lives or the lives of our children. And so we just sat back and became spectators. We let events take their course. We let the television raise our children and teach them their values. . .” --Dr. William L. Pierce

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I’m getting back into the swing of things following my vacation. . . .








After my trip to Nevada, my daily routine is slowly getting back to normal. On my first full day back, I had a windshield replacement appointment at my home. I made this appointment a week in advance. The installer was scheduled to be here between 8:00AM and 12:00PM. I patiently waited all morning.

At 11:47AM, the telephone rang. The installer said that he was going to be late. He mentioned that a bird hit and broke some of his windshields and that he would have to return to Tucson to get more. I spent many years in supervisory and management positions. I have heard many a story about why people didn’t show up for work. Would you believe this one? In any case, he failed to make a four hour window of opportunity.
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I believe if one doesn’t have the ability or motivation to make it to work on time, they probably don’t have the motivation to do quality work once they finally arrive. If that installer had not called me before noon, he would have become a no call/no show. That would have caused me to terminate the agreement due to their failure to perform.

While working as a distribution supervisor for ACF General Media Corporation, a Mexican employee decided to not call or show up for work. Upon returning to work some days later, he claimed he was not familiar with the American custom of letting your employer know that you aren’t coming. Obviously, he did not last very long.

Shortly before 4:00PM, the installer finally arrived and replaced my windshield. This unreliable and tardy outfit was actually on an “approved installer” list kept by my insurance company. I would highly suggest that anyone else in need of a new windshield, stay away from this company.

Arizona Insurance Auto Glass
7971 W. Hawk Eagle Court
Tucson, AZ 85757

Ph. 520-777-8499 Fed ID# 900349293

I rated them at Yellowpages.com:

I posted their one and only review. It was negative. They got what they deserved.
http://www.yellowpages.com/info-5230808/Arizona-Insurance-Auto-Glass/reviews
 
And at Yahoo Local . . .

My letter to Arizona Insurance Auto Glass:
 
To whom it may concern,

I was not al all impressed with the service you provided on Friday, October 2, 2009. I decided to leave an everlasting reminder of the quality of your service online for other potential customers to find.

I also decided to put my remarks on my blog at: http://vandal49588.blogspot.com/
 
Your “agent” Brock Lewis apparently thought taking care of personal business was more important than doing his job. He was the first person I contacted and his attitude failed to impress me. In fact, his wife answered the phone. He could have cared less about my issue.

The one thing I cannot stand is being late. I especially don’t want to hear excuses. I expect results. Your outfit miserably failed on Friday. I could have replaced my windshield in Phoenix faster. Your people could not make a four hour window of opportunity.

Sincerely,

Harry L. Hughes III

Note: I enclosed copies of my reviews with my letter in case they don’t have the internet down there. They did not have a website. Perhaps, they should come out of the Stone Age and start doing business like it was the 21st century.

While I was waiting. . .

My corner of the world was quite busy Friday morning. While I was waiting for my windshield installer to arrive, a large truck dropped off a dragline in front of my home. Any activity in front of my place generates curiosity. Half of the neighborhood showed up to watch. The farm across my street periodically cleans the muck out of the irrigation ditches. This process takes close to a week and generates lots of noise. On the up side, the mosquito problem will be eliminated.

In the years prior to the West Nile Virus fatalities, hysteria and paranoia, the mosquitoes were so bad that one had to wear long sleeves well before dusk. It was this problem that caused my first contact with the Pinal County Board of Supervisors. It would not be the last. It might have been the mosquitoes that caused my “activism gene” to kick in.

I was originally told that this was not a big issue and that these were only “nuisance mosquitoes”. I wasn’t buying this at all. I took the hard classes at “mad scientist” school and knew that these insects were some of the most efficient disease carriers in the world. Can anyone say MALARIA? Much has changed since 1996. Americans have actually died from diseases carried by mosquitoes. This was believed to only happen in Third World countries. I saw this problem well in advance. Remember, public safety is brought to you by the lowest bidder on the contract. And, when was the last time you really got what you paid for?

After much cage rattling, Jimmie Kerr came out to pay me a visit. He showed up as the sun was setting and he got to see my mosquitoes. Ultimately, the standing water in the ditch was sprayed and the mosquito larvae died. Jimmie Kerr now has a street bearing his name in Casa Grande.

That ditch across my street also caused flooding problems. When it rained or when they were irrigating the fields, breaches would occur. Water would pour out for hours or even days before somebody from the farm would show up to fix it. Ultimately, improvements such as deepening were made and there hasn’t been flooding for years. I still carry flood insurance.

Flooding is one natural disaster you cannot move away from. All 50 states have floods. Everybody should have a plan for such an event. Don’t be like those idiots in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Be prepared!
 
"So, with the race problem. The different families of man must yield to law -- to LAW, inexorable, blind, unreasoning law, which has no knowledge of good or ill, right or wrong." ~ Jack London, letter dated 23 June 1899.