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Monday's blog: The BANKing of AMERICA

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FAMILY HOLIDAYS 2009

FAMILY HOLIDAYS 2009
Jordan, Stephanie, me, Brian

CURRENT ISSUES and IDIOTS SLICED & DICED!

What pissed U off today?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

THINGS I'M NOT GRATEFUL FOR

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!

On this day we share with family and freinds, assessing our blessings, then gorging ourselves beyond reason as we try to convince ourselves that everything is fine, I'm here to say that everything is NOT.

Don't get me wrong now. I have plenty to be thankful for and I try to appreciate that EVERYDAY, not just on Thanksgiving. But frankly, I don't know you all that well yet and I prefer to keep it to myself for the time being.

But I know that there are lots of things that aren't what they used to be and that leaves me wondering why. As the world and technology spins to the future, I often feel that socially and personally, we are regressing as a whole. I hate to say it, because it makes me feel ancient, but are the good old days really behind us? I shudder to think so, yet it's evident around me everyday.

So hence, I present you my list of things I am NOT grateful for this holiday:

*WHAT HOLIDAY IS IT ANYWAY? Walk into any retail space and it's hard to tell. I'm looking forward to Christmas, myself. Since the kids are grown and we decided to forgo the whole retail segment of this experience, it's been alot more fun. And besides, who's supposed to create holiday memories anyway? Mom and dad or Wal-Mart? Screw it people! Stop glamorizing the materialistic aspect of it, you can't really afford it anyway! Instead, save your money to provide the best meal you can and do whatever your family's idea of fun is to the nth degree! The only ones who won't benefit and won't like it will be the retailers. Everybody else will have great stories to tell their kids and grandkids.

*IMAGINARY SHORTAGES. Come on people! If your kid really wants that 'hot' new thing, BUY IT IN SEPTEMBER! If YOU don't care enough to buy it then, then I don't think you're kids are really gonna miss it. Your family has bigger problems than finding Barbie's Jeep. Pushing, shoving and dropping expletives while drop kicking the door greeter is NOT the way to pass the holiday spirit down to the little ones.

*PAYING EXTRA FOR THE PRIVELEGE OF GETTING SCREWED! Since there are too many examples of this for my mere column to mention them all, I'll keep it simple. One prime example this holiday travelling season: Charge me more, whydoncha, to fly with baggage, when you know good and well I'm taking my chances it will actually BE on the luggage carousal when I arrive at my destination. 'Nough said.

I could go on and on and on... but I won't. Got to leave some stuff(ing) for next turkey day! Hug the itty bitties and your other loved ones today, say a prayer for the soldiers and their families and kiss the ground and be thankful you don't live in Iran.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

CHASEing CUSTOMER SERVICE

Lest I ever had the notion that I had escaped the banking meltdown by the skin of my tax dollars, I was reminded rather rudely today that customer service is a dying art form.

I went to my bank of almost six years today to close my accounts. This was precipitated by a rather irritating interaction at my local branch on Saturday, when I learned that the new conglomerate that had swallowed up the dead fish of my old bank had changed one policy too many for my liking.

Obviously, I'm not the only unsatisfied customer. When the customer service representative helped me, she wasn't even interested in why I was closing the accounts. My guess is she must have known already and didn't want to hear the gripes again. If that's the case, then why are you working here and PRETENDING to help me?

Then we played pass the buck as I tried to explain that I had, yet again, been given erroneous information at the other branch on Saturday. Why is it that NO one wants to take responsibility for anything anymore? And what's the point of having a policy if each branch does and says what it will and then nobody gets held accountable? More importantly, HOW DO THESE PEOPLE KEEP THEIR JOBS, I'D LIKE TO KNOW.

At that, I got attitude from the rep, so I gave it right back. I find it astonishing that people will not tolerate you treating them the way they're treating you. And then just throw in a few self-truths about the establishment that employs them and suddenly the conversation's over as far as they're concerned.

I honestly don't understand how people of this character get jobs in the financial sector. Oh wait, Bernie, I think I do. Unless they're bending you over the teller's counter without the courtesy of some vaseline, raping you for using your own money, you're of no use to them.

Being a business major myself, my theory is that THIS takeover crowd is new in town and looking to hook the big bucks. Let's go where the money is NOW and screw the little guys who kept us afloat and didn't jump ship when we took over.

And because the bailout billions weren't quite enough for our greedy little asses, let's find new ways to screw our loyal customers while we lure in new, unsuspecting souls with fantastic offers that the regulars can't get. And as we slyly and slowly raise all of our fees and try to find ingenious new ways to charge you exorbitant amounts to use your own cash, why would we possibly care what you want or need?

TELL ME: What is wrong with this picture? I'm old enough to remember when customer service actually had a WORKING definition. Companies competed to get and KEEP your business with courtesy, accommodation and a smile. Nowadays, all you get is rude, get in & get out and 'tude. They also hope you can't see well enough to read the fine print once you're out that door!

But this is still America, G damn it! I can still choose to spend and PUT my money where I want. If you are going to make it feel like you're doing me a favor by letting me enrich YOUR establishment, guess what? I'll do you a favor and take my money elsewhere, thank you very much!

Monday, November 23, 2009

KICK A HATER GINGERLY DAY

Just when you think you've heard it all, the industrious youth of America have invented yet another category of in(s)ane. As we slowly roll out the Constitutional 'red' carpet to the downtrodden, where could the aisle of hate possibly end? With the redheads, of course!?!???



Through time, the insecure and ignorant have invariably found someone to hate. Using various unjustifiable reasonings, haters will readily vent their inner frustrations on any innocent, unsuspecting individual who has the misfortune of crossing their paths. And as we slowly swim to the surface through the quagmire of equitable Constitutional and human rights, even the haters want to be pc. When our society moves to protect the rights of identifiable factions, the haters, creative as they are, just find someone new to loathe. So now we've come to this.

So now I feel a real need to say this: "KIDS DON'T LEARN TO HATE FROM TV SHOWS! THEY LEARN TO HATE FROM THEIR UPBRINGING!!!!!!".

There, I feel much better, now.

Personally speaking, my childhood was sprinkled with prejudice just as well as love. My parents were immigrants, WWII survivors. My mother was taken off the family homestead at the age of fourteen, forced into slave labor on a German farm. Backbreaking work, raw potatoes and slogging in the snow with no shoes comprised her puberty. She ACTUALLY had plenty of reasons to be hateful. My mother also told me once that she had never seen a black person in her whole life until her ship steamed into Ellis Island. Needless to say, there were plenty of perjoratives slung around my house.

And from this childhood my personal philosophy has become one of embracing the good and burying the bad of every event. Each day passes from darkness into light. Life is beyond our control. One can choose to hate and perpetuate the sins of the father OR draw one's own conclusions and really be your own person.

But lest you think I'm trying to place myself in the running for the 'Mama Teresa of the Year Award', there are still plenty of biases I hold that I struggle everyday to overcome. Proudly though I can say these all stem from personal experiences and not something I heard from somebody else. My decision was made long ago to judge a person face to face, not by inherited biases.

Jews and Germans were a favorite "haters" target in my house. Personally, I've worked off and on for Jewish bosses since the age of 14. Despite my efforts to overcome my upbringing, when asked my opinion of the group as a whole, my favorite line is: 'A Jewish person would sell their own grandma for the right price'. But I don't HATE them for it. It's just an observation. And I was never wary of black men until 2 of them tried to force me into the bushes in front of the Shedd Aquarium one hot summer's night as I was frantically searching for my 'lost' 1st husband along the lakefront and they offered to help. To this day I remember running willy nilly across all 8 lanes of LSD (while on LSD) to get away. Motorists slammed on brakes and swerved. I kept running. All the way back to our van, 2 miles away, never stopping, never looking back. There I waited, shaken, until everyone in our party returned. And I was grateful to have escaped. Glad I had chosen becoming road kill over possible assault or worse.

It took me a long time to not instinctively move away and clutch my purse when a black man got on an elevator with me. But again, I tried really hard to not let that bad experience cloud my judgement in new encounters. Then, many years later, a half African-American sweetheart became my son-in-law. As a mama-in-law, I couldn't have asked for a more caring, considerate, polite, thoughtful and respectful new 'son'. As a lifetime loser at love, I thank my G&G everyday that my beautiful, kind, talented daughter drew the queen of hearts.

And speaking of hearts (which are red) and blood (which is red) and anger (which is red): KIDS - STOP THE SELF LOATHING. Turn all that energy into things that really matter and I guarantee you'll feel much better when it's said and done. "You can crawl in the gutter OR rise up above"(c.'97).

But enough of that crap. I'm getting ready to go out and KICKstart GINGERLY some teenage badasses' brain. Now, if I could only find my little red hammer...

MAMA QUOTE OF THE DAY: "You can't hate your own grandchildren".

DIS IS YO MAMA

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Women UNITE For Health Care Reform

After a lifetime of poor or no insurance, I have seen the worst AND the best medicine has to offer. Attitudes and assistance aimed towards the underinsured has at times left me in frustration wanting to add the words: "And only if The Price Is Right" to the end of the Hippocratic oaths I see hanging in the medical offices.

Personally, I suffered with fibroids for many years. After seeing 10 doctors who were all certain I should have a hysterectomy since I was done having children, I found my hero. He removed the fibroids laproscopically and I have been fine ever since. Speaking from this experience I will now say: "IT IS TIME FOR THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM TO STOP TAKING LUXURY VACATIONS ON THE BACKS AND REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS OF THE AMERICAN WOMAN!".

AMERICAN WOMEN: Stop falling for the scare tactics! Be smart. When there are as many preventative screenings for male maladies as there are for female ones, maybe then you can believe the hype. Do we really think we're so much more vulnerable than men? Or is it that our sensibilities and proactive stances are being preyed upon by money grubbers? And what of the effects of multiple unnecessary screenings? Maybe one should ask these questions when being confronted by the panic mongers who no doubt have a ve$ted intere$t in YOUR body.

One plank of my American dream has always been that you shouldn't have to be wealthy to afford good health. It is time for the health care system to STOP holding our communal well being hostage and live by the oath they have sworn. Our health is NOT a commodity to be bargained but rather a fundamental American RIGHT.

Please stay INFORMED and INDIGNANT. The time for reform is now.

P.S. TO ALL HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS: The next time you leave me waiting in your office for hours, I'm going to ask you this question: "Why do you feel that your time is so much more valuable than mine?". We all have our limited time here. Mine is as valuable to me as yours is to you. Can't wait to hear your answer!

AND to all religious medical professionals and political panic mongers (as I know of very few atheistic or agnostic doctors/politicians): What questions do you think your Lord will have for YOU when he acknowledges you traded people's health for lucre?

DIS IS YO MAMA