Wednesday, November 6, 2013

BARCLAYS SETTLEMENT? SPANK HARDER!

- - OR, HOW I CAME TO BE AN L.A.TIMES BOOSTER


I STILL KEEP THIS 2008 FILE AS A REMINDER TO BEWARE BARCLAYS


OF COURSE my credit card beef with Barclay's was my fault. We should never have accrued an unpaid balance in the first place.  When this beef BLEW back in 2008, I hid the ugly battle from the innocence of children who, at the time, were all living at home and hearing the "debt free" mantra so loudly that our blatant contradiction had to be kept under wraps.  Why did Mr. Man use an Apple Juniper Credit Card to purchase our 2003 iMac? I do not know. For SHAME.

By January of 2008, there was another balance on that card, and minutes before the midnight payment deadline, I was skittering to pay by phone. Their system proved perplexing, as the automated voice at the Barclays end was incomprehensible, but happily, they offered a real person option to complete their electronic check procedure.

THE real person customer service agent was a clever "Michelle." Confident, emphatic, very reassuring. I believed her every word.  I explained that I feared I'd mistakenly entered the routing number of my check rather than my account number, but she assured me the payment had gone through, and that I had nothing to worry about.

Of course, it did not go through. To make matters worse, we did not have the internet at home, so when hubster tried to double check the account from his work Monday morning, their website for some strange reason would not allow access to our statement! He made a payment anyway, just in case, but it didn't matter. A fine was levied. It was a day late.

I PROTESTED. I filed appeals. I made calls and wrote letters.

What I did NOT DO was pay their fine.

I WAS adamant that I owed them nothing beyond my monthly payment and that they owed me an apology for the headache brought on by the Oh-So-Clever Michelle. Nevermind that I was too stupid to know the difference between an account number and a routing number. Such idiocy was unforgivable and they were incalcitrant. Stupid people unfortunate enough to fall into the lair of Michelle do not deserve mercy.

I folded my denied appeal letters into a manilla folder and stuffed it into the banking drawer of the file cabinet, trying not to spit whenever it crossed my path.  Then came a credit check during a 2012 home loan pre-approval process. It revealed that Barclays Bank had downgraded our nearly perfect credit rating due to a "pattern of late payments." Seriously.


L.A. TIMES TO THE RESCUE

THANK YOU Jim Puzzanghera. If not for your June 19, 2012 story detailing the process by which aggrieved bank customers can aire their fraud complaints, I would still be spitting nails when I do my monthly filing. I read his BUSINESS SECTION article, followed directions, and in less than a month,  received something CIVILIZED from Barclays. Barely.  They threw me a small bone, but it was SOMETHING.

Breathe. After four years of queasy spitting, I could finally BREATHE, even though all they agreed to do was reverse their credit ding. I didn't get my $35 back because "their records don't go back that far" and they couldn't prove I wasn't lying. Holy Sheissa. A credit card company's records don't go back four years? Someone tell the IRS.

WELL, Mr. Puzzanghera, if the Courts should find that my aggrieved state deserves a billion or two for pain and suffering out of all those zillion$ in fines flying around between aggrieved plaintiff governments of the western world [ http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-10/u-s-energy-regulator-seeks-court-order-on-barclay-fine.html ] and Barclays (and JPMorgan, and Lehman Bros, and...!), I promise to share a few hundred million with you.  Even if you are a demon democrat. Oh crap. I didn't just say that. Oops. Yes I did. [ http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-07-03/barclays-ceo-quits-after-record-libor-rigging-fine ]

JOURNALISTS rock. Thank you, L.A. Times.

Signed,
A Humbled Republican... who's really more of an independent. Seriously.

EVEN IN DECEMBER 2011 THE BARCLAYS FILE
WAS LAYING AROUND, HAUNTING ME












Monday, July 22, 2013

News That Was Not News


http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2059604-2,00.html *

It would seem that a movement bent upon earning the acceptance of the rest of the world would be monitored by that world, and irregular findings reported in upfront fashion. Kudos to Time Magazine, then, for plainly revealing the soul of sexual excess in this Dan Savage quote from an interview in 2011:

"We talk about love in a way that is very unrealistic: "If you're in love, you're not going to want to have sex with anyone else but that person." That's not true.  We need to acknowledge that truth so that people don't have to spend 40 years of marriage lying to and policing each other."

The facts have been on the table for decades that the hmsxl lifestyle is not about monogamy; rather, that it's plainly about camouflage.  Getting those facts officially recognized has proven impossible in a media driven culture.

Witness the day I phoned a radio talk show hosted by Larry Mantle of KPCC in Pasadena. I read from a report listing a litany of disease statistics exclusive to the hmsxl community revealing epidemic levels of hepatitis, STD's, intestinal diseases, mental illness, yadayada.

Mr. Mantle hung up on me.

I was not only cut off mid-sentence (that's typically called 'censorship,' yet, who am I to judge, being a biased witness...), but I'm pretty sure my phone # was blocked, as all subsequent attempts to phone in to Mr. Mantle's show proved unsuccessful; I mean, I didn't just get a busy signal, I got rolled over to a dial tone.

My point? The dusting of respectability given the hmsxl movement by our media gatekeepers is not evil simply because they're withholding truth. It is beyond evil because it promotes behaviour that is truly a medically established deathstyle.

I implore Mr. Mantle and the TV networks to report truthfully in future, to stop glamorizing a lifestyle that defies basic human biologic function, and "acknowledge truth" that, for the average hmsxl, in-your-face promiscuity is actually the norm, and monogamy is, for the most part, a charade.



The in-our-faces acknowledgment that monogamous man-woman marriage is "in peril" does not justify promoting the very behaviour that contributes to that peril. Normalizing sex outside the bounds of the marriage commitment does not a secure culture make. Does not a secure family make. Does not a sound man or woman make. Yet the fiscal lives of most media moguls depend upon that peril.

Where is media coverage of Marriage Encounter, Love Won Out  or  Family Life Today Seminars?

Our attendance at seminars by FamilyLife.com has made a good sized dent in my all-too-human propensity to live myopically for myself, and has guided my husband's determination to deny himself the sexual gratification served up by every F-ING network and cableTV outlet, magazine, catalog and department store advertisement EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY. My husband is my HERO for withstanding, mostly, such chronic onslaught. When his fight wavers, he has men in his life who hold him accountable; and we have methods in place whereby our marriage is guarded and my expectations are kept in check. Because we all agree, there is not one man on the planet for whom sexual temptation is not a daily reality.

FLT's marriage seminars affirm and encourage mature adult commitments based on self denial, and confront the hedonism of Mr. Savage's sex column and the hmsxl movement's mantra of feel-good impulsivity. They've REVISITED & UNVEILED THE OLD DEFINITION of manhood: one where sacrifice, self-discipline, the courage to say what no one else is saying, and a personal commitment to hammer out virtue over vice can win the day; where, in the battle of the mind, positing a Christ centered marriage can actually buffet the sex drive. A Real Man say's no to his sexual fantasies and honors his commitment to make his wife the sole object of his lifelong passions.

Once upon a time, it was the FCC's mandate to do guard our culture. How stupid was that. Never trust a government bureaucracy to do a Real Man - man's job.

I join Family Life Today in calling out REAL MEN who will defy the new "norm" and reject a culture of "go along to get along."  To step up and speak out against media trespasses.  And to teach their daughters and sons that the vices portrayed in nearly every music lyric and video come with an abhorrent deathstyle price tag.

Maybe the good folks at FLT.com are dreamers; but OH how good it feels to dream. Hope is born of such things.

And hope is just what we need most right now.



(*Were I not in the thick of battle with depression right now, I would stop and pray for Mr. Savage.  Maybe you who are reading this will help a lame blogger and do it for me.

I guess the need of the day is prayer for us all. Recognizing the terminal end of an entire culture because truth has been exchanged for lies doesn't permit me to minimize the dignity of every individual within that sphere.  Every friend I've known who lives out a cohabiting lifestyle or hmsxl world view has suffered indignity and shame at the hands of some.  For that I repent.  I appeal to my conservative world to give every individual the respect and honor due them as a child of God worthy of the grace and love we all crave at the foot of the cross, while still recognizing the boundaries of good judgement... )


Update: On tolerating intolerance - or, not:   Thurs. December 12, 2013/MyFamilyTalk.com

http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/family-talk/listen/#Tolerating+the+Intolerable  



Sunday, June 9, 2013

NOW, NOW... "They" Aren't Spying, Really



OUT ON THIS LIMB,
YOU CAN RUN but you cannot hide

If I didn't already know the outcry over government spying on private email and phone users would sputter out with a whimper when the dust settled, I wouldn't have bothered posting my little sidebar warning back in 2011.

If only the same public indignation (short-lived or no...)  could extend all the way to the topic of PRIVATE online spying.

Who hasn't wondered how powerful companies like Apple and Google, Disqus, etc, are managing to resist the temptation to exploit all they know about our lives? 

After years of tracking Who's Who Online, they can effortlessly single out the evil conservatives from the magnanimous liberals; the pinheaded Christians from those all-wise and ever enlightened agnostic secularists. 

There's unimaginable power there.  I don't even dare to elucidate on, it is so frightening.

Who hasn't thought, with the same chill down the spine which came fifteen years ago over same-sex marriage (whose adherents back then threw rocks, blockaded churches and taunted parishioners), that when the gloves come off of all the hyper-liberal internet providers' widget metadata yadayada, the enemies of state will have suddenly become us: the 'little christian guy' just trying to get along, assuming the first amendment will prevent their daily torture by media lynch mobs, peer pressure, and -GASP- a barrage of UNLIKE's on Facebook and Instagram...

First Amendment-WhAt? Trust the Justice Department-WhO?

WELL.

Good luck with that.






Monday, March 25, 2013

POE ‘EM FOR ADELE AND F.L.






Adele Laurie Blue Adkins and
Fraser Lance Thorneycroft-Smith
Set out one day to writ music
‘Bout rain‘n fire havin a rift;

But the clime was not rainy, no,
The sun shone full bore,
And the pair grieved a lack of
Inspired implore;

So they spun themselves round in playlists of seven
From Miss Etta James to Andre Previn,
Soaked in thrills from strumming waves of
Spelunking moods down mystic caves;

And up they came with angst galore,
Feast for heart sized ears and more;
Chilling, angry, frenzied pop
Abseiling rock faced charts to top.

So Fraser Lance Thorneycroft-Smith and
Adele came to drink from that gurgling
Wishing well, plumbed deep of granite songs, and sweet;
Fresh and clean, if bereft of meaning.

Which proves by rights, that men of plight and
Women of catchy tunes,
Will amount to nothing if ever their names
Aren’t hyphenated-elongated runes.


- - Penned whilst under influence of six weeks of coffee, Pandora, four hour's sleep, TSP, paint fumes and bloody finger tips ~ 2Feb-16Mar



Bathroom window I finally took out had to go back in.
And so it went,
from metal strips, vinyls and rugs, to support posts, flocked ceilings and 60's paint hues;
all that was old was new again at Hedge House.


~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ 

"There's asbestos under those 9" tiles"


Lesson learned: patch kitchen floor instead of replacing: $1,500 saved; patch roof instead of replacing: 7,000 saved; leave bathroom w/o window ventilation and leave bedroom sans new carpet and baseboard: 1,300 saved; understand when you rent out a house for $400 less than the going rate,  renters should just have to deal with worn interiors. 

NET EFFECT: WE NEVER LEARNED TO LEARN OUR LESSON before overspending $10,200. 
Damn.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Digs




Learned a lot about marriage, moving, and me, in the process of snapping 435 new iPhone images whilst the Monrovia relocation squeezed the lifeblood from us turnips. (The pic above, no, that's South Bend, IN...). Giving up Instagram for Lent (or, at least TRYING to) was one thing. Stopping the incessant photographing, quite another.

Now that we're actually replacing our spent adrenaline, cooking real meals, resuming ChoreMondays and thinking about resuming BudgetFridays,

ONE conclusion rings truer than all the rest:

When women get to have touches of beauty in a home, whether overhead, around her feet, in the air or in her head, there's a feeling unlike any other, if just for a fleeting second. She really believes --in that brief, momentary burst of recognition-- that she is

The Queen of something.




Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ON LIFE. and light.


I watch Biden, Kerry, Bill and BOh. Beyonce
And many a fake wool muffler shuffle past
As I type this now.

YouTube is a treasure.

A strange man-bag held up to snap Michelle
Contains a camera behind mesh. I think she thinks him
Also strange.

Now Paul Ryan, sobered, seeming not to mind
The sniff of Ms. Knowles colored hair
And frozen air.

Inauguration Day is through.




All seems well in the cradle of a nation where
Every one assembled as if body heat
Was glue.

Four-and-twenty ripples 'round our spinning earth
Stopping next to spill weak light on pulse takers
In another vein:

Wrapped in nothing but resolve, observers
Whose steady plans push them to death
While their own thin wrists beat on.

Heroes nameless to but few,



'Cause who would celebrate what they do?
Crazed with much too much ado
They market heinous truth.

This day, for them, is more abhorrent
Than all the fifty million dead and gone;
It taps them on the head and taunts "Doe won."

So weaker ones like me decide to cry and
Rage at God for seeming not to care that heroes die.
And then we beg for hope that light would dawn.

Recall that Mary Travers wouldn't help when
Asked if sublime tunes might write themselves;
Now her mean aspect molders in the grave,

Maybe reconsidered light could twist upout from in her cave?



Life seeks light,

And, if this dead-like City On A Mound
Bothers to notice Mason's bleeding nails,
Tendrils offered to the sun god could emerge

From Mary's hype to reach and catch some nerve.