Friday, December 28, 2007

Go BROWNS! And Go COLTS! And Go DirecTV! And more...

It is a bad position to be in, having to rely on another team to win in order to get into the playoffs.  But that is what the Browns did when they lost to Cinci last weekend. 
The Tennessee Titans now control their own destiny.  If they beat the Colts, the Titans get the last playoff spot, and the Browns' season is over.  So the Colts control the Browns' destiny -- Colts win, and the Browns are in -- even if the Browns lose to the 49ers.
The problem is, the Colts are already the number 2 seed in the AFC playoffs, and will remain so, win or lose.  The Colts' starters are expected to get only limited play this Sunday night.  The Titans, on the other hand, have everything to play for.
Normally I'd pick the Colts to beat the Titans.  I'm sure the Colts don't want to lose to a divisional opponent.  But the Titans have a better shot than they otherwise might, but for all of these surrounding circumstances.
So, I'm hoping the depth of the Colts is good enough and hungry enough to win what is to them an otherwise meaningless game against a Titans team that has everything to gain by winning.  I'm hoping Vince Young has a bad day.  I'm hoping LenDale White packs the wrong shoes.  Whatever it takes, within reason.
* * *
On another football topic -- the NFL caved and is going to show on free TV the Pats-Giants game on Saturday night.  Originally, this game was going to be shown only on the NFL Network.  However, there is an ongoing spat with the NFL and most cable operators over carrying the NFL Network, so much of the nation was not going to be seeing this game ... unless they had DirecTV, which actually carries the NFL Network.
Well, I for one DO have DirecTV.  I've been watching the exclusive NFL Network games in the comfort of my own home, while many others have been going to bars and other establishments that carry the games in order to see the games. 
I cannot tell you that I got DirecTV in order to get the NFL Network.  I've been a customer and fan of DirecTV since early 2003, when I told my cable carrier to piss off (it was Adelphia back then), as I had finally had enough of their poor service.  DirecTV's service and programming has been, for the most part, very good.  
However, I am sure that the folks over at DirecTV have got to be peeved that the NFL caved.  They've been marketing DirecTV as the sure way to get see the game since they do show the channel.  It was never intended to be their channel exclusively, even though that is how it has turned out.  At the same time, I am sure there are a lot of bar owners who are peeved that they won't be getting the crowds they might have now that NBC and CBS both are carrying the game.  And there may be a few consumers who are mad if they switched to DirecTV just to see the game -- though I might add that I find DirecTV to be superior to cable in just about every way, and I am happy to have it for lots of reasons, and so should anyone who switches.
So why did they do it?  Why did the NFL cave?  Oh, because a couple of ranking senators jumped the NFL's case about it, and suggested that it might be time to look at the NFL's anti-trust exemption, etc. unless they showed this game.  Glad to know the U.S. Senate is right on top of the things that really matter: that the people of this country can watch this game from the comfort of their own homes.  
Now, if only our troops in Iraq could watch this game from the comfort of their own homes.  That would be something to crow about.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lies that NO ONE Believes

The automated message you hear on the telephone when a business puts you on hold that states, "Your time is very valuable to us."
Is there anyone that believes that?  Is there anyone who has ever said that who wasn't lying, or at least exagerating greatly?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The rules of the GAME: Browns playoff tickets

I sold my season tickets to the Browns this year.
But I did not sell my PSLs.  Wasn't that smart of me? 
If the Browns host a playoff game, I get to buy the tickets.
As it turns out, I get to buy the tickets REGARDLESS.
I just got my invoice for playoff tickets.
$380 due by Dec 28!
And, get this, if they don't host a playoff game, then the Browns will simply apply the money toward next year's tickets!
If I'd rather have a refund, I can get one, by sending my request in writing -- and it will take 6 to 8 weeks to process it.  Yes, they can take my money in just 8 days, but they need 8 weeks to give it back! 
Oh, why am I bitching?  GO BROWNS!
Note: I am going to wait till after Sunday to see whether I actually pay this thing.  If the Browns were to lose to Cinci and Pittsburgh were to win, then it seems to me that the best the Browns can do is earn the #6 seed in the playoffs, which means they will not host any playoff games.
Now, I am not going to root against the Browns just to save $380.  But I am going to wait and see about Sunday before I pay the invoice.

Xmas Is Ribs

The best shirt woot ever!

(note: the shirt in the above link changes every day -- so to see today's shirt, you must click on it today!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday Talkback

Just one moan I'm talking back to today.

"Do something about the $179 tickets that they're handing out to people who drive in bus lanes. The police park in the bus lanes, the vendors park in the bus lanes. Everybody parks in the bus lanes, everybody uses the bus lanes, except the buses." - No city

This is just another example of Cleveland making its downtown inhospitable. The perils of traveling downtown -- traffic cameras, bus lanes, Euclid all torn up -- pile on top of the normal perils of parking and panhandlers. I understand that when the Euclid Corridor Project finally opens, they will be cracking down on jaywalking over there. I have no idea and I won't have any idea, because I avoid Euclid now, and I will be avoiding Euclid in the future. I have no business over there, there is nothing to do over there, and when the bus line opens, I probably won't even know about it, because I have no reason to travel over to Euclid, let alone travel along Euclid.

Someone I work with was complaining about the bus lanes yesterday. She drives in from the west side, and from what she tells me, traffic bottlenecks and backs up where the bus lanes begin -- while before, the traffic was much smoother and faster. It makes me wonder of what benefit are these bus lanes.

Some urban planner somewhere probably thinks that converting car lanes to bus-only lanes, jamming up car traffic in the process, will encourage the use public transportation. But that assumes that people would rather travel downtown by any means than simply move their offices out to the suburbs where they can drive less encumbered, not to mention park for free.

The fine of $179 is especially onerous. Especially for people who don't travel downtown very often, who will be unfamiliar with the bus lanes, and then confused by them. Nothing will discourage people from venturing downtown like getting slapped with a $179 fine for travelling in the wrong lane along Superior.

Now, are buses not using the lanes, as this moaner states? I can't say that I've seen buses in the car lanes while the bus lanes remain open. But I haven't been watching, and I don't drive down that stretch of Superior very often. I work downtown, yes. But anymore, I get out when I'm done working. Hanging out downtown just isn't what it used to be.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Things That Make Me Sad

-- Rainy days don't necessarily make me sad. The washing away of that top layer of city grime is usually refreshing. But the city is suitably gray, and I don't distinguish the fog through the window as it blurs into the fog in my head.

-- Admiring the beautiful suit on the back of a stranger, before I knew he was a defendant about to be sentenced to prison.

-- Dirty wet Santa, caught in the rain, shilling for a plumbing company, jaywalking across an empty downtown street.

-- Knowing that no matter what I do for her, I cannot give her the one thing she needs most of all: for things to be simply as they were before. It is out of my control and power. I cannot give her what she needs the most. No amount of effort on my part has allowed her again just to hear the world as it is. I know what it means to her. I know how it has changed her life.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rush Tour Extended

Press release today:


TORONTO, ON – December 12, 2007:

After a hugely successful 2007 run, Rush are pleased to announce they will extend their Snakes & Arrows World Tour into 2008. The band will begin rehearsals in March to revamp the set list before kicking off the tour with their first ever appearance in San Juan, Puerto Rico in April.

2008 will see Rush tour in over 40 cities throughout the United States and Canada making stops in many where they haven't performed in well over a decade including: Orlando, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Austin, Jacksonville and Winnipeg to name a few. Along the way, Rush will play new venues in Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Seattle and will revisit some familiar ones in Boston, Washington and Charlotte amongst others. Rush fans can look forward to a complete tour announcement in mid January. As details develop more information will be made available at and

Due to the overwhelming response of their fans in North America, the "Snakes & Arrows" tour has been Rush's highest grossing tour ever and the best attended in many years.
Snakes & Arrows (Anthem/Atlantic Records) was recorded in the fall of 2006 with Grammy Award-winner Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver) with Rush co-producing. Their first album of original material in nearly five years, Snakes & Arrows debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200. In addition, the track "Malignant Narcissism" has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Since releasing its self-titled debut album in 1974, Rush has been universally regarded as one of the most inventive and exciting groups in rock, famed for virtuoso musicianship, epic soundscapes, and dramatic lyricism. The band's extraordinary body of work – which includes such acclaimed works as 1976's "2112," 1981's "MOVING PICTURES," 1996's "TEST FOR ECHO," and 2002's "VAPOR TRAILS" – has achieved worldwide sales exceeding 35 million units.

Fans will experience the technical virtuosity and hard-rocking compositions they have come to expect from Rush members, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.

The Rush tour in North America is produced by Live Nation Global Touring and SRO/Anthem.

For complete tour & ticket information, fan club memberships and more, visit:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Amazon Reviews are Helpful

Check out this review, and see if you don't agree!

Tuesday Talkback -- Lights Out Edition

In the time you spend reading this, you could go claim your $25 or more...

In the meantime, I'll talk back to some moaners.

“People that ride around when it’s dark without headlights. Why don’t the cops watch for them and give them tickets? It’s very hazardous.” — Mayfield Heights

The police do ticket people for this. But what amused me was this next moan:

“The inconsiderate Plain Dealer carriers who pull in the driveway in early morning with their headlights on and the radio blasting. Not everybody’s bedroom is in the back of the house or upstairs.” — no city

I suppose the carriers should turn out their headlights up the street before they pull into your driveway to deliver your paper? That's looney. If you find it to be such a nuisance, then cancel your subscription.

“What has happened to all the simple services? I couldn’t find a pay phone at Parmatown mall so I could call my son to pick me up. I’m 85 years old and I no longer drive. I don’t own a cell phone, cable or computer because I’m only on Social Security and can’t afford it. At least in the malls and stores there could be a phone or two. Please give the elderly a break and help us to get along on our own.” — no city

Help us get along on our own ... by providing us with stuff. I suspect if there had been a pay phone, the moan would have been over the cost of a call. And what was a broke and helpless old lady doing at a place like Parmatown anyway?

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Monday, December 10, 2007

You Are Probably in the Settlement Class for the Currency Conversion Class Action Lawsuit...

...and if so, fill out your form to collect $25 (or more.)
-- you have a VISA, MasterCard, or Diners Club card as of November 8, 2006
-- anytime from February 1, 1996 to November 8, 2006, you used a VISA, MasterCard or Diners Club credit or debit card to make foreign transaction 
You may be entitled to a share of a settlement of $336 million.
There are several ways of making a claim.  The simplest claim is for a $25 refund.  If you spent more than $2,500 in foreign transactions over than ten year period, you can fill out a longer form to claim for more. 
Get the details here:

Then fill out the proper form HERE -- if you didn't get a notice in the mail with a claim ID number on it (Gina got one, I did not), you don't need a notice to make a claim.  Just be prepared to disclose a credit card number and issuing bank for a card your had as of November 8, 2006.
(I know that sounds daunting, giving up a credit card number like that, but this is for real.  The PD had an article today.  Even Snopes verified it.) 
Personally, from 1996 to 2006, I made numerous international trips, and used credit cards abroad for purchases, and at home for international purchases (heck, Racket Records and Burning Shed alone got a bunch of my money over the years.)  Nevertheless, it may be more trouble than it is worth, to me anyway, to try and break all that down -- even though the terms of the settlement require card issuers to provide free statements (wherever they can be retrieved electronically -- which sounds like an out to me....)
But at a minimum, I am going to make a claim for $25.
to file a claim: May 30, 2008
to object to the settlement or opt out of the class: February 14, 2008
Disclaimer: None of the above constitutes legal advice.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

New to This World

Kaley Grace Pfister.

Hey, Kaley -- were you born yesterday?

Yes, yes she was.
The proud parents: my cousin, Jim, and his wife, Beth.
And Uncle Gregory and Aunt Becky are the new Grandpa and Grandma Pfister.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Birthday, Kristen!

Happy Birthday, dear Kristen!

Click here for larger collage.

Tuesday Talkback

Moaners! I talk back.

“People whine about gas prices, but they think nothing of waiting and waiting and waiting in a long line at a fast food drive-through. I wonder how much gasoline Americans waste like that? Hey, people, there’s one drive through line and maybe three cash registers if you would just walk in!” — Shaker Heights

Nevermind the gas prices. It is more important to exert one's body as little as possible when purchasing and consuming a Big Mac. With 540 calories, 29 grams of fat, and 1040mg of sodium -- you pretty much have to take that sitting down. You don't want your heart to seize up between the parking lot and the cash register. Though I've been known to take that risk.

“The only thing worse than country music is Christmas country music.” — Parma

Is this worse than that?

“A plea to pharmaceutical companies: What’s so wonderful about all those round pills which frequently fall on the floor and roll away so they are hard to find? How about a shape that doesn’t roll, like oval or square?” — Mayfield Heights

Hey butterfingers, how about you try putting your pills in your mouth and not on the floor? And if you drop any shape pill on a hard floor, it is going to take a bounce whether it is round, square, or diamond shaped with rounded corners.

“When are the Cleveland police going to ticket cars parked under NO STOPPING signs during certain hours? Might as well not have the signs.” — Cleveland

Forget ticketing. Send out the hook! Let's not waste the time of our law enforcement officials. Send out the hook! Or maybe we should just take pictures of the parked cars and mail them a ticket. Nah. Send out the hook!

“First Strongsville Mayor Perciak raises our taxes, now he uses a staff of city employees to create his Winter Wonderland on the town square. And don’t forget about the copper-trimmed fire station palace on Prospect. We miss Wally Ehrnfelt!” — no city
Well, old Wally is dead and gone. Get over it. And if you'd rather live in a dumpy looking city, move to Euclid.

“A 19-year-old Saudi woman was gang-raped. Her attackers were given jail sentences. She was also punished with 200 lashes and six months in jail for being in a car with a male non-relative when the attack occurred. All this brought to you by our friends the Saudis. Ah, the power of oil. P.S. I think the punishment for the attackers should have been an alternative type of beheading.” — Euclid

I think it is great that a castration comment made it into Monday Moaning. So the Saudis will chop off the hand of a thief, but they don't "behead" the offending members of rapists. And yes, they blame the victim for being in the wrong place with the wrong men without a proper chaperone or whatever. The Saudi treatment of women is more than appalling. And this is our ally? No wonder we needed to turn Iraq into a permanent base.

“To my rude, lazy, and inconsiderate sisters-in-law who did not lift a finger to help clean up the Thanksgiving Day dishes. Shame on all of you!” — Twinsburg

Next time, serve them on paper plates. Or not at all, if it is such a big flippin deal.
“Is it because the evening news is on for 1½ hours each evening and other times during the day, that the editors find it necessary to talk about movie stars, celebrities, their personal lives, ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ‘American Idol’ and other programs? I find this disgusting and not newsworthy at all. It used to be we’d pick up a movie magazine or TV Guide if we wanted all this information and more. The news media promotes and sensationalizes this garbage! Now it is constantly in our living rooms, like war, whether we like it or not.” — Westlake

Wow, American Idol is like the war? Really? I guess Cheney is like Simon, and Bush is like Paula (but not as articulate and just as sober).

“The current cable franchise, now in its second year, is about to raise the rates again. While it has stonewalled efforts by NFL and Big Ten networks to make those programs available to basic customers, the cable company has moved the Ohio News Network and now C-Span 2 from its basic programming to a higher tiered package. This leaves basic subscribers paying more to get less. Hurry, bring on the competition!” — Cleveland Heights

I've been a satisfied customer of DirecTV since 2003. All you people whining about cable, you have a choice, and you've had one for some time.

“All the local TV stations have new ‘improved’ weather maps with green, pink, purple, yellow, etc., but, hello, none of the weather people tell us what those colors mean. To paraphrase Chicken Little, ‘Help, help the purple is coming.’” — Strongsville

Don't you mean, "The Purple is falling?" Jesus, get it right! This isn't hard! Chicken Little, not Paul Revere!

“Why don’t restaurants that serve hamburgers have relish available?” — Westlake

Steak n Shake does. Why go anywhere else? Unless you want a Big Mac. Or a salt lick. Is that my heart?

“Recently on the news a reporter was interviewing people waiting to attend a Hannah Montana concert in Florida. One father had paid $400 so his daughter (age 4) could attend. Another paid $800. When these girls grow up and go to college they will probably have to take out loans!” — Lyndhurst

You think these girls are going to college? They way they are tasting sugar at this age, their daddies will be lucky just to keep them off the pole.

“Perusing the New York Times and the New Yorker magazine, I wonder if others are as incredulous as I am at some of the ads: H. Winston bracelet for $33,000 — Shrubule ring for $10,000 — Chanel earrings for $8,300 — Tourneau watch for $12,950.” — no city

What, no necklace ad? How can anyone get all that, but not wear a necklace?

“The Plain Dealer runs all these stories about the sad financial situation of Northeast Ohioans. Yet, they publish gift ideas that include a faux fur throw for $1,229 or a Dale Chihuly Original with the price tag of $28,000. Make up your mind. Are we swimming in money or applying in droves for jobs at Wal-Mart?” — Akron

The answer is -- we are both. This isn't Flint, Michigan. We aren't all eating the rabbits we can't give away as pets. Only some of us are, between filling out job applications at Steelyard Commons. And some of us are shopping at Beachwood Place, and the Shops at Eton, and a few other places far too exclusive to mention here.

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