Dear Verizon

Dear Verizon

January 2015

140 West Street
New York, NY 10007

Dear Verizon:

I am writing to you in the (vain) hope that you will correct my problem without harassing me.  I hate to sound so negative (actually, I don’t mind at all) but my recent interactions with you have been, shall we say, less than exemplary.

I recently moved and, despite my misgivings, decided to keep my service with you.  This alone should have given me a few attaboys in your Verizon rewards system.  What I did not recognize is that attaboy are a lot like rasbuckniks* – totally worthless.

Before I moved, I paid my old bill in full.  After I moved, but before the billing period expired, I got a new bill which I also paid in full.  My (foolish) expectation was that I would receive some credit back because I had in fact paid for overlapping service from the old location to the new one.  Instead, I was told that I owed money due to a cancellation fee even though I kept the same service!  So the price to be paid for keeping the same service is to be slapped with a cancellation charge.  Even members of the U.S. Congress have not yet come up with a cancellation fee for keeping them in office. (I said “yet;” they are working on it as I write this letter.)

After numerous telephone calls and exchanges with various Verizon departments, you add insult to injury by attempting to “improve” my service with a few (many) questions about the items I currently have.  Saying that I am perfectly happy with my current service doesn’t stop you.  Asking you to fix my billing problem first doesn’t stop you.  Threatening to change service providers doesn’t stop you.  Telling you that there is a vicious black bear behind you doesn’t stop you.

By the way, what’s up with the name Verizon?  If it’s a combinatory name, then what two names did you combine?  Very and Horizon?  Veracity and Zone?  My personal choices would be So-so service and Badger – SoBad – or how about Contradictory Answers and Fusillade of Extraneous Questions – ConFusE?  As you can tell, I am not very good or appreciative of made up names from combinations.  One day, some overly clever marketer will decide to name a progressive book company that publishes recorded logs of religious material by combining Diarist and Heavenly to get — Diarrhea.

Let me sign off by saying that I am, (for now),
Begrudgingly yours,



*The rasbucknik was the currency unit of Lower Slobovia in Al Capp’s comic strip “Li’l Abner.” One rasbucknik was worth nothing at all; a million rasbuckniks were worth even less because of all the trouble of lugging them around.



Well, it’s that time of year again.  No, not best wishes, holiday cheer or new year’s resolutions.  While a curmudgeon has resolutions, few have cheer or well wishes attached.   No, it’s time for your new year’s horoscope.

Have you bothered to read your horoscope lately?  In ancient times (pre-internet), we had to rely upon newsprint.  Today, there are numerous on-line sources just as irrelevant.  On whatever day you were born, there is a paragraph of platitudes interspersed with just a dash of concern.  In some way, every one born on that day finds something with which to agree.

Here are a few random samples:

“You might expect to receive the support you need today, but it could be withdrawn at the very last minute. Change is in the air and soon you won’t be able to go back to where you were.”

“Today’s Sun/Pluto square is like a searchlight that finds you at the right moment and a million little circumstances open the way to success. Tonight, ensure that feelings aren’t attached to old illusions that aren’t relevant to who you are and the person you are with now.”

“We may grow tired of the emotional intensity today as our thoughts push into new territory. The Moon’s shift into clever Gemini at 7:47 am EDT makes it difficult for us to turn off the constant flow of words. However, an awkward Venus-Uranus alignment has us longing for some quiet.”

Say what?!  Get to the point!!

Will I be rich/poor; famous/infamous; handsome/ugly; loved/unloved?  It’s all nonsense.  I have carried it to an extreme by creating a new abbreviated daily horoscope based on the birthday of one notable individual.  I call it the Curmudgeon’s Horrorscope.

Here’s a one day random horrorscope for each month:

January 8 – Elvis Presley – You are well known for your social and charming personality but mostly for your hips and the way you move them. People are naturally drawn to you and actively seek your company even after death.

February 12 – Abraham Lincoln – Against all odds, you’ll grow up to achieve great success but everyone will think that you’re not qualified for the job.  Stay away from theaters.

March 31 – Johann Sebastian Bach – You are a musical genius but no one will notice until after you’re dead.  To make up for this, you will have many children.

April 20 – Adolph Hitler – Uh Oh!  Things don’t look good for you (or anyone around you for that matter).

May 16 – Tori Spelling – You will (after numerous alterations) have a fabulous figure and inherit big bucks but still look like a handsome horse with lipstick.

June 8 – Kanye West – You are destined to make a zillion bucks as a musician, artist and producer; marry a voluptuous woman; have a beautiful baby.  You still won’t smile.

July 21 – Ernest Hemingway – You will write.  It will be good.  You will drink.  You will die alone, in the dark.

August 21 – Usain Bolt – You are celestially influenced by the power of our Sun and ruled over by the planet Jupiter’s authority.  Translation – you’re fast; real fast; leave others in the dust fast!

September 25 – Barbara Walters – Determination gets you fame, fortune and your own TV show along with a lisp.

October 1 – Randy Quaid – You will always wish that you were as good looking as your sibling.  If you have no siblings, then you will just wish you were good looking.

November 5 – Roy Rodgers –  Two thoughts; horses and fast food.  Just don’t combine them!

December 18 – Joseph Stalin – Hate to end the year on a sour note but things don’t look good for you either (see April 20th).

Junk Mail Confusion

There is no way to stop the onslaught of spam, telemarketers, junk mail, and robocallers from reaching us.

Telemarketers already have their own ring in hell but even the thought of eternal damnation does not daunt them. Their reach extends to any newly created electronic device – Smartphones, Kindles, iPads, iPods, whatever.

Yes, I used “whatever,” get over it.  Yes, I used “get over it,” get over that, too.

Although the overwhelming task of stopping all this crap is futile, it is made slightly less annoying by the fact that these devious callers get in the way of each other.


As a result my junk mail gets confused and:

  • E-Harmony and the local auto repair shop want you to have dating calls during routine auto checkups.
  • Christian Mingle and Omega-K Heart Attack Fighter suggest that, before people give you CPR , ask if they are true believers.
  • First Premier Credit Card and Our Time Dating recommend a credit score appraisal before the second date.
  • Discount Gold Credit Cards and Pimslear Approach Language say “Koborowie karmiono obficie wystepuja jedynie podejrzana sprawa stala nie odnotowywano wiekszego komplementu z wytworzeniem.”
  • If you are over 65, no matter where you are, Gaylord Hotels and AARP want you safely in bed by 8:30 pm.
  • PayPal and Replacements Ltd will give you a ten percent discount on any organ purchased before July 31st.
  • Timeshare Facts, Check Your Credit and Tax Defense suggest that the best way to check your credit and lower your taxes is to do both while spending a week at one of their many, many once-in-a-lifetime timeshare vacations (50% off).  If that doesn’t work, then spend more time at one of their many, many once-in-a-lifetime timeshare vacations (50% off).
  • Regal Ecigs and Reverse Mortgage Planner have devised a program that assures you that your reverse mortgage payments will last longer than you do.
  • Garcinia Cambogia Slim and AHS Warranty have teamed up to guarantee your weight loss.  If your weight-loss comes back, simply send back the weight gain in a marked package to receive double your money back!
  • American Laser Skincare, Spray Your Way to Health and 1Ink have developed a new way to get that healthy tan using your laser jet printer.  Send in now for your thirty-day sample of Ink-Skin® cartridges.
  • LifeLine Screening, Reclaim Your Glory, Male Vitality, Cable TV and Blood Pressure Solutions have gotten together in one enormous wad of promotion that extends your life and love life while lowering your blood pressure and cable TV bills.
  • Restore My Vision, Lasik Vision Institute and Evite recommend an eye exam before you accept that next invitation, otherwise you may get…
  • Brazilian Shemales and Latin Ladyboys.
  •     Well, you are on your own with this one. Use your imagination.

The Official Rules

The official rules

In an earlier post, I wrote about Finagle’s Creed which described every information technology project that was ever worked on or will be worked on.  Several of you commented by adding laws and corollaries of your own and I realized that someone had already done the work of amassing all the rules by which we work and live.

No, it’s not The Bible but it is the bible of official rules.  Paul Dickson wrote a book entitled The Official Rules.  This book, sadly now out of print, is “the definitive, annotated collection of laws, principles and instructions for dealing with the real world.”  Dickson organized the rules alphabetically from Abbott’s Admonitions (1. If you have to ask, you not entitled to know.  2. If you don’t like the answer, you shouldn’t have asked the question.) to Zymurgy’s Seventh Exception to Murphy’s Laws (When it rains, it pours).

Dickson followed his first book with The New Official Rules and, for a long while, entertained submissions for any subsequent “new” rule that he had overlooked.

Here are a few random examples from both books:

  • Boren’s Laws of Bureaucracy:  (1) When in charge, ponder; (2) When in trouble, delegate; (3) When in doubt, mumble.
  • DeVault’s Razor:  There are only two laws. (1) Someday you will die.  (2) If you are reading this, you are not dead yet.
  • Erma Bombeck’s Rule of Medicine:  Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.
  • Exxon’s Law of Energy Costs:  We’ve upped ours, now up yours.
  • Leahy’s Law:  If a thing is done wrong often enough, it becomes right.  Corollary: Volume is a defense to error.
  • Mrs. Murphy’s Law (also known as the Buttered-Side-Down Law and now as Sod’s Law):  An object will fall so as to do the most damage.
  • Russell’s Right:  If it succeeds, it is right.  If it fails, it is wrong.

I added two of my own:

  • Curmudgeon’s Law #1:  To a fire department, there is no such thing as a “little fire.” (from personal experience)
  • Curmudgeon’s Law #2:  Nothing is impossible so long as you don’t have to do it.