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Three score and ten or more

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Dish network called today to tell Janet that we are overdue with our payment.  Of course the satellite went out just before the conclusion to CSI, and the bank let me know that they had already sent the payment.    I think that by next month I will be signed up with the Cable or Direct TV.  Nothing could be much worse than this.

On another topic, advertising:  Public Radio just informed the world of something I have been planning to explain for awhile. 

Viagra was king of the hill in "ED" medication for a long time, then their sales fell off sharply.  They discovered that their fall-off in sales coincided with a warning announcement by one of the other "ED" drugs (I think it was by Cialis) that if the patient has an erection that lasts over four hours one should immediately call a doctor.  This warning had increase sales to the detriment of Viagra.  Now the warning is on every ED product and sales have evened out.  Seems like the men in question are all hoping for a medical misfortune.

I have some other little advertising tid-bits I have been saving but I am not in the mood for humor right now.  I took my oldest son, who has liver disease to the hospital today to have an endoscopy.  The doctor gave Jan and me some of the information gained, and scared us half to death.  I'm also desperately trying to get our old house ready for the renters and that is pushing me.

I'm too old for this crap.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I used to blow off steam politically on this blog, but I have to deal with a personal matter here. I HATE DISH NETWORK. I suppose every one hates something, but I rarely do, but my dislike for dish network has build slowly from the very first experience. When I walked in to the store font labeled "Advantage Cable" here in Statesboro, Ga., I was very impressed by the efficient young lady who took my name and address and signed me up for Dish Network. She explained that the installation, as it said in a sign on the window, was free, but that I would have to prepay fifty some-odd dollars which would be returned to me when I mailed in my copy of the contract with the endorsment of the man who installed the "stuff". (I should have run into the willows at that time, but she was so honest looking, and besides, she was cute)

That very afternoon a young man showed up and hooked up the two rooms in which we wanted a TV. He chuckled about the house, because every room had a co-ax outlet, the previous owners had obviously been real fans. We had two Dish Network dishes on the roof, but he disconnected one of them, adjusted some cable, tossed a multiple connector in the trash and showed me how to work the system. It seemed very efficient, the pictures came in clearly, and he signed the paperwork that I was supposed to send in to get my refund.

The paperwork stated my monthly cost, and I went immediately to the computer and set up an automatic bank payment to dish on the third day of every month. I then copied the paper work on my scanner/copier and sent the originals off to the company so that my refund would come quickly.

It goes without saying that the refund didn't come. After a month or so I went to the little storefront office and complained to the cute girl, showing her my copies of the paperwork, on which I had clearly written the date on which it was sent.

I don't remember whether she offered to resend the copies or asked me to do so, but one way or another I sent another missive into the Dish Nework office. Nothing ever came back, not even an acknowledgement that it had been received. The various channels were nice, though I missed the local news that the cable had broadcast, as well as the reports from the university News Service that had been useful, but I got lots of channels which hadn't been on the cable (the fact that I don't speak Spanish limited my use of some of them, but I really enjoyed the Sirius Music Channels and a couple of other channels which I had not seen before, so I wrote off the fifty-odd bucks and sat back to watch TV.

Every thing went well for the first few months, then I received a call from a Dish Network representative that my bill was overdue and they were going to cancel my service. I explained that I had set up an automatic payment every month, and that my bank statement revealed that it was deposited every month on the third day of the month, whereupon the young man on the phone explained to me that my bill was due earlier than that, on the twentieth, if I remember well. Since I still had my copies of the paperwork for which I was supposed to be reimbursed, I read off the dates of installation and the dates of the bank payments, and the man on the phone said he would check on that. After a pause he came back to tell me that everything was fine and he apologized for the call. He even instructed me on how to install the Wii game that I had just received as a gift. He must have spent twenty minutes on a step by step procedure ant the game worked. I was happy-- for another few months, then I started getting flashes on the screen that my bill was overdue and if I didn't call some number and arrange payment my service would cease.

I called the number and talked to a young lady who implied that I was some kind of crook, after I told her of the previous episode. After a long discussion, she or some of her supervisors decided that If I would give them a credit card number and pay them about thirty bucks (my monthly bill was fifty six) that they would move the numbers around, and my monthly payment on the third of each month would be Okay.

I was stupid enough to agree. I should have immediately called the cable company for an installation, but I didn't. (I had mislaid the original papers, so I couldn't make the argument from before, and they said I had a contract, and that I would end up paying even if they cut off service.)

Back to watching TV, but with a lot less enthusiasm.

While we were in Alaska, my son (who was house sitting) informed me that the TV died. He just turned it on in the morning, and nothing happened. This wasn't Dish network's fault, this was the two year old Symphonic TV giving up the ghost in some way. Most TV's get cranky for at least a day or so before they die, or lightning strikes, or something, but this just died. I shopped around, decided to go for a wide screen TV, and ended up buying one from eCost, which has been a good source for a lot of stuff, My new 32 inch wide screen which barely fit into the entertainment center arrive, I put it into place, fastened the co-ax to the only outllet that would take it, turned on the TV and received a blue screen which said. NO SIGNAL. Dish comes on TV channel 60 here so I set that up and got NO SIGNAL.

I went to my monthly bill for DISH and found the customer service number and asked for help hooking this up. I spent about an hour walking from the receiver box (in the bedroom with TV one) to the TV, pushing buttons, turning the system off, then on etc. I really felt sorry for the telephone tech that was trying to help me. He had some kind of foreign accent (he probably was talking to me from India or the Philippines or somewhere else) and my seventy four (not quite five yet) ears were not taking it in so we each had to repeat everything on the phone at least three times, and nothing seemed to work right. He finally told me that I was helpless and that he could send someone to help me but I would have to prepay forty two dollars. (I expected him to say that it would be reimbursed if I sent in the paper work). I groaned and he said that he could give me a local number to call, and he did.

It was our friends at Advantage Cable, but no one answered the phone. They had one of these voice mail things that says how important the call is, but no one answered, and no one returned the call. "Heck" says I, I can go down to the storefront and talk to these people, but the storefront had closed. I checked the phone book, they had a new address, so I went there and they had closed as well. I called the number in the book, and got that same damned voice mail message.

At this time, my son arrived for a visit from the State of Washington, and he is a computer engineer. He looked at the hookup and said that the Co ax cable was an old type that didn't carry much signal and we went to Wally World, picked up a new cable of the new kind and he hooked up my TV so that it works. Of course none of the Dish channels are High Definition without paying a premium (without even the promise of a rebate after the paperwork is done) so my wide screen TV isn't very exciting unless I play a DVD, but it works. Son also plugged in the DVD player/ VCR and the Wii game so that except for pallid pictures on the regular channels TV life is Okay.

I forgot to mention that I requested from the poor Dish tech, the Westinghouse codes that would allow me to use the dish controller with the TV, and he refused to give them to me, but son got on the computer, pushed the appropriate buttons and converted the Dish controller to my TV controller.. I thought life would be okay TV wise untill the last couple of days, beautiful days with hardly a cloud in the sky, but now the dish is constantly losing the signal from the satellite. this has happened before for the whole system, but now it is on a channel by channel basis. One channel works, another gets a "Lost the Satellite" message. One channel will work for an hour and then drop out giving way for another.

A message on the screen offered a HELP button. When I pushed the button it told me to call - - - You guessed it, the "Advantage cable" people who don't return voice mails. I HATE DISH TV.

I would have hoped that by now I could change to cable or Direct TV, but tomorrow is Sunday and no one is going to be much help.

To top it all off, I heard, just a while ago, on one of the few channels that is working, that Dish TV only costs thirty five dollars a month (who knows for how many channels and which of them can't come off the satellite,) and my bill is fifty six bucks. To top it all off again, today, I suspect a liberal conspiracy. All day today, CNN works, but Fox News has been unavailable.

I just made a vocal comment. Right now, I fear that if the Anglo Saxons had not created the tem in common use to describe fecal matter, I wouldn't have any vocabulary at all.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I have so much to write about.  My son, daughter in law and four of my grandchildren have been her and during their visit, I managed to get three of my other children together and we all went to the Atlanta Aquarium, the Civil War museum and cyclorama, and generally had a wonderful time in Atlanta.  The grandson’s mowed lawn, and helped with a lot physical things around the house (actually the grand-daughters did a lot of that too.) and they have only been gone for a day and a half and I miss them terribly. 

Actually their father came late  and stayed over and is still here and he made a wonderful contribution to the completion of my sculpture and puppet studio that has been half built since my oldest son (who did the initial construction ) fell ill, gravely ill, and was not able to complete it.  Today is my seventy fifth birthday (now you know how much more than three score and ten I am) and I am a happy man.  Being seventy five is a pain in the neck, and the back, and the hands, and it is so irritating to be unable to remember or do so many of the things that were almost second nature to me as a playwright, play director, scene designer and occasional house remodeler (When we moved into our present house, one of the primary criteria my wife demanded was that there couldn’t be any walls that could logically torn out—that from the lady who demanded the wall removal in our last two houses.)  When your children take up the slack, remind you how to do things and generally make one able to accomplish things, it is a little distracting but enormously joyful in the end.  My studio is progressing to the stage that I will be able to add some pictures soon.  (If I added all the pictures that I would like to add from the last six months, I would have a long photo essay and not much else.  I lost my camera (and four or five gigabytes of pictures of our trip to Alaska) but other cameras took up some of the slack.

On another note, I watched President Obama’s news conference, analyzed the reasoning and the data therein and am really very frightened of the potential effect on Janet and myself as we grow older an more frail (and single income pensioners).  On the other hand, I watch my  oldest son, who is virtually penniless because he can’t work, struggle through a serious liver ailment, going to doctors he can’t pay (though he has some hope of disability) losing over a hundred pounds and becoming a shadow of himself, and part of me would like to have some form of socialized medicine.  I think we are in a very frightening period for our nation.  (I, at least, wish a real stimulus package had been passed and our economy would get on a stable foundation before we found so many ways to create new deficits.   (It occurred to me that if a billion dollars of the “stimulus package” had been invested in standard commercial health plans for the “forty six million” who don’t have health insurance, the main incentive for this whole thing would have been eliminated and the money would be doing some good—for a change) 

Oh well, what will be, will be, I’m afraid.   I still had a wonderful birthday and the days leading up to it.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Back Again, Back Again, Ginity Gin

I haven’t posted a word since my story of the first day on the Alaskan Cruise.  In isn’t that I have nothing to say, but I have so much I want to write about that I end up sitting at the computer and commenting on other blogs.  (Sounds Stupid, Right)

I will write some more about the cruise itself, but my plans for communication went askew a bit.  I bought me a new little Olympus Camera for the trip, and used it like mad.  I filled up about five or six gigabites with picture of little ice bergs, big glaciers, shots of the cities from the ship and shots around the ship (No whales, the only whale I saw was in the process of diving and the camera man was too slow to catch it).

When we got back to Washington, we only breathed a few times when we took a three day trip to the San Juan Islands (Of which I had never heard, but of which I took another bunch of pictures including deer, foxes, and a fawn that came up to the porch of our little cottage.)

In the mean time my laptop acquired a Trojan Horse, which required a lot of cleaning out, including changing the pass words of all my financial dealings, but which precluded a lot of writing,  We did have a wonderful time, and on the day before we were to come home, I picked up my cell phone and my camera to use while I was taking Janet for some last minute shopping.  While we were doing it, I lost my camera and all the pictures that were in it.  (If you are in the Vancouver area of Washington and found a silver Olympus camera in a little black leatherette case, if you will send me the chip inside the camera, I will send you the two CD’s and all the attachments that go with the camera.)

At any rate, we are expecting some of the grandchildren to arrive in Georgia shortly, and I probably will buy another camera.  It looks like all of my children may be in one place at the same time along with some of the grandchildren and even some great grandchildren and we will go up to the aquarium in Atlanta.  Say OOOOH and AAAAh a lot ant take some pictures and even pose a family picture while we have so many around.  I am sorting some pictures that Jan took, and will really write a little more detail about our trip.  Now that I have proven to myself that I can write a few words.   I hope to see you all soon (or at least send you some messages, I have some family member who think we died in Alaska.