Category Archives: Housekeeping

Public Service Announcement: Pet Edition

People, I have to warn you: do not and I repeat do not, under any circumstances, use CostCo’s “Kirkland Signature” brand of flea & tick control! We’ve just had a disastrous experience not even 24 hours after applying the product to our cats.

I’ve used Advantage, Frontline and Revolution on our six cats for years. I didn’t know that CostCo even had its own brand of flea & tick treatment until Mr. Beale and I attended a crafts fair and CostCo had a table set up where they were advertising this stuff and selling memberships. Well, we’ve been CostCo members for years so we thought, “cool, a cheaper flea & tick treatment, what’s not to love?”

Hair loss! And a nasty mess all over the house, that’s what! OMG, this is the worst stuff ever. Almost as soon as we applied the treatment our cats’ hair started falling out. And the stuff doesn’t absorb like other flea products, so it leaves huge greasy stains everywhere — furniture, bedding, you name it. I had to wash the sheets on our bed after Quinn took his afternoon nap on it!

Look:

Quinn's hair started falling out ....

Quinn’s hair started falling out ….

So did Como's ..... finding this stuff EVERYWHERE ....

So did Como’s ….. finding this stuff EVERYWHERE ….

…. and I won’t bore you with photos of my dirty laundry. I’m wishing I’d read the product reviews at Amazon before using this stuff because the reviews are universally negative. I’m so disappointed in CostCo, it appears this product has been poisoning peoples’ pets for over a year, and there they are promoting it at a crafts’ fair? Shame on them.

I’m worried sick that more serious symptoms will appear. Our cats are like our children, and the idea that I’ve actually poisoned my animals has me frantic. I’m going to call the vet as soon as they open and see what they recommend, I might be spending my day giving six cats a bath. :-0

Anyway, it’s too late for me, but save yourselves! Do not use this product!

Quinn in happier times, like, last week.

Quinn in happier times, like, last week.

[UPDATE]:

Just spent about 2 hours on the phone with the vet, CostCo, product manufacturer, Animal Product Services Safety Center, etc. Diagnosis: bathing in Dawn dishwashing liquid.

They are not amused:

Pissed off kitty.

Pissed off kitty.

Misery loves company.

Misery loves company.

29 Comments

Filed under cat blogging, Housekeeping, pets

Haley Barbour 2016

Apparently Mississippi “forgot” to ratify the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. Or, more accurately, they “lost the paperwork” when the Legislature finally got around to ratifying it in … wait for it … 1995.

Riiiiight.

Thanks to Steven Spielberg and the movie “Lincoln,” this oversight was brought to the attention of the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office and it has now been fixed.

Which can only mean one thing: Haley Barbour is running for president!

5 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping

Goodbye, Toxic Talk

Building on yesterday’s Steve Gill post, I thought folks might be interested in this November column, “Talk Must Expand Beyond Politics To Survive.” Doug Stephen hosts a nationally-syndicated talk radio show, and he writes about the fallout experienced across the talk radio spectrum following Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke:

I’m not here to argue the point, but rather to tell you what this ONE incident has cost me as an independent in a sea of big corporate operators, who are obviously losing tens of millions of dollars due to this one event.

So far this year, my losses are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Cancellations, avoidance and decisions to just not buy across the whole format, no matter what the content, have led to this rude awakening.

I’m not looking for Limbaugh to send me a check (although that would be nice), but I do think we have to let it be known that his actions have been devastating to our survival. I do think we have to do what we can to expand the format and let agencies know that their message can be safe with those who produce good programs that are fun, relevant and aimed at a different audience. Letting the news media, and even agencies, get away with lumping all hosts and content together is irresponsible for them and their clients because they know they get the best results from spots delivered in the spoken word formats.

What he’s saying is, Limbaugh’s inflammatory style has driven advertisers away from talk radio programming in general, and it’s hurting smaller players as well as the big guys. I’m not surprised, are you? So much political talk radio is toxic, and no advertiser wants to be the target of boycotts, constantly drawn into one national battle after another, forced to pick a side in the culture wars or debates over climate change. That’s the very stuff advertisers want to stay away from — at least publicly. Big corporate advertisers keep their political actions off the national radar, spending millions on lobbyists and shadowy front groups like ALEC or the American Enterprise Institute. Publicly it’s all hugs and lollipops.

I’m reminded that last summer, Ed Schultz and Sean Hannity told people to back off the boycotts because “a lot of people are getting hurt.” Awww. You know who else gets hurt by the toxic talk radio? Our democracy. Our political process. The nation as a whole, frozen in gridlock, where any timid step in one direction gins up howls of protest from the base on either side of the political spectrum.

People are burning out on politics, and I have to think talk radio is a big reason why. The conventional wisdom was always, inflammatory talk drives ratings and ratings are what advertisers care about. Neither of these suppositions appears to be true. I’ve always thought that negative talk and stuff like inflammatory campaign ads turns people off, and certainly major corporate advertisers are more concerned about their company’s image than anything else. If it’s not driving ratings or advertising revenue, then maybe the days of Limbaugh and the rest are waning.

For me, personally, I do listen to talk radio and watch cable television, but I avoid the political opinion stuff like the plague. I crave news and discussion of issues, not opinion. I have XM/Sirius in the car and at the house, but I rarely listen to the Talk Left channel. I listen to the BBC, World Radio, and the public radio channels: PRX and NPR. These channels don’t shove opinion and politics at you, it’s news and discussion of current events. When I watch TV it’s usually local news. If I watch MSNBC it’s not for Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz, it’s for shows like Melissa Harris-Perry or Up With Chris, where they discuss issues, not repeat talking points. I think this is the future of news and talk radio.

Does this mean all our problems are solved and we can return to having sane national conversations? No. Rush, Hannity and the like are way too important to the Wingnut Welfare Machine to go away. They’re the grease that keeps the right’s political grift machine moving. But I think that machine has taken a big hit, and will have to find another way to evangelize to anyone not already under the conservative rock.

10 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping

Spampaign

[UPDATE]:

I just got a fundraising letter in the snail-mail. Can you believe it? They must be throwing everything out there.

Well, almost everything. The letter included a return envelope, but they were too cheap to spring for the stamp. LOL.

————————————————————-

I just got called by a Republican telefundraising service. They said they were with America’s Next Generation; when I asked who that was, the lady hesitated and then said, “A SuperPac.” I asked where they got their money from and she said, “Republican donors like yourself.”

LOL. I’ve never donated to a Republican group in my life. I’ve never voted Republican in my life, either. How they got my name and number I have no clue, but this happens every now and then — last election I got called by a little old lady who said she was calling from the College Republicans. I mean, you could just tell she was 90 gazillion years old. I burst out laughing.

Anyway, I’m on some list, probably related to church stuff I’ve done. Some mailing list got merged with another mailing list which got merged with another list and then before you know it you’re getting direct mail pieces from Gary Bauer and campaign calls from Republican SuperPacs.

They wanted me to listen to their new ad, which was basically cherry-picked Obama quotes preceded by a scary-voiced announcer dude saying, “Obama said this but here he is in his own voice saying this!” They focused on Obamacare (“he said the individual mandate is not a tax but the Supreme Court said it is!”), the debt (“he said Bush’s debt was unpatriotic but his is worse!”) and Obama’s re-election (“he said he should be a one term president if he didn’t get the job done! Well?! WELL?!“). Then, oddly, I got returned to a real person who wanted to know what else I wanted to hear in future ads. I told them I didn’t want to hear any of this crap and why the hell were they calling registered Democrats and Obama volunteers? They had no clue.

Of course not.

According to OpenSecrets, this anti-Obama SuperPac has spent a big chunk of its money on a company called InfoCision Management Corporation, the nation’s second-largest telemarketing company. Apparently asking you to tell them what other issues you want raised in future ads is the latest in call center campaigning! It personalizes the call! Makes it seem less scripted! Creates a connection between the organization and the individual! Increases the fulfillment rate exponentially! Strategery! Technology!

I dunno, but it seems to me that might work better on something like raising money for the symphony or art league, less well on trying to uproot a president. It also might help if they didn’t call registered Democrats when raising money for Republicans — you know, a little more “info” with your “cision”? But what do I know.

I thought this was funny: Via the Sunlight Foundation, here’s the office of America’s Next Generation:

Funny You Don’t Look Like A SuperPac

Anyway, I’m starting to think that campaigns are running out of ideas. They’ve got all this money thanks to the Supreme Court and no clue what to do with it. They’ve reduced themselves to spam marketers, bombarding everyone with this stuff and hoping something, somewhere sticks. Spamming only works because it costs next to nothing to send 100,000 Viagra and porn e-mails. I’m not sure that works with telefundraising and TV ads though.

Furthermore, we’re starting to read about how people might be tuning out TV campaign ads. No! Say it ain’t so! This is really bad news for the media, since campaign ads are their bread and butter these days. Hell, the news media started gearing up for the 2012 election the day after Obama was elected. It just never stops with them.

It’s almost kind of funny, except it’s not.

13 Comments

Filed under advertising, Housekeeping

First Draft Tuesday

I write about the Gibson Guitar settlement over at First Draft today.

Comments Off

Filed under Housekeeping

Pardon Our Disruption

Phone line (and thus internet) is down. Blogging/comment moderation will be spotty as AT&T can only guarantee service will return by Wednesday. Also, AT&T needs to stop sucking. Maybe help America out and hire some of the thousands of unemployed to work your customer service lines (I waited on hold for 20 minutes this morning) and also maybe get some more service contractors out there. Just a thought.

This is the third time this year our service has been out. So, you know, whatever you guys are doing ain’t working.

5 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping

Today’s Post

Over at First Draft I write about the completely predictable scenario of Red State governors refusing to implement their portion of the Affordable Care Act. Give it a read.

I know blogging has been sporadic lately, and I apologize. It’s just that I’ve started a new project which is infinitely more enjoyable than the crazy which has overtaken our national discourse. You know what? If a Democratic presidential candidate refused to release his tax returns, we’d see a flurry of state legislation mandating such documents before a candidate could get on the ballot. President Obama was required to show his birth certificate, President Clinton was required to show his penis, but Republican candidates like Mitt Romney can sock their money away in offshore accounts and it’s nobody’s business where it is so SHUT UP.

Hey, just for shits and giggles, imagine the right’s reaction if the overwhelming butt-hurt expressed by VIPs at Romney’s Hamptons fundraisers had actually been recorded at a Democratic event. Forget it, we already know: we saw this during the 2004 Kerry campaign, when “limousine liberal” entered the lexicon. The IOKIYAR that guides Republican messaging these days is off the charts; Republicans have become a parody of a political party.

God I am so over this shit, you have no idea. It’s not even interesting anymore.

2 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping

First Draft Tuesday

Catch me over at First Draft today, “And Now A Word From The Ivory Tower.”

Comments Off

Filed under Housekeeping

Good News Friday

Lots of good news this week, folks. Really!

• It wasn’t all bad news out of Wisconsin. Democrats regained control of the Wisconsin State Senate, as Democrat John Lehman of Racine appears to have bested incumbent Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard.

• Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has fallen to historically low levels. I’m going to guess the global economic collapse has something to do with it.

• Archaeologists have found the remains of the Curtain Theatre, William Shakespeare’s first theater, in East London.

• Macy’s New Jersey distribution center has gone solar.

• The internet is no longer running out of IP addresses. Long live IPv6!

• Hey Catholic Church: you’re doing it wrong. After the Vatican condemned Sister Margaret Farley’s book on sexuality, it jumped from #142,982 on Amazon to #16.

• The Bellingham WA city council unanimously approved a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment that bans corporate personhood.

• The Walt Disney Co. announced it will ban junk food advertising on its child-focused TV, radio and Web programming. When they stop promoting their movies with Happy Meals I’ll be completely satisifed.

• NATO’s exit from Afghanistan has taken a big leap forward, thanks to exit deals signed with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

This is way cool: an idea which began at Harvard Business School has won the President’s Challenge for social entrepreneurship, and $70,000 in start-up money. The idea “uses silk to stabilize vaccines and eliminate the need for refrigeration in transport and delivery.”

• The U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene in the case against four Blackwater contractors accused of killing 17 Iraqi civillians in 2007. This means prosecutors can move forward with the case.

• The Great Wall of China is longer than they had originally thought.

• Kroger stores and McDonald’s announced they will only sell pork raised in more humane crate-free conditions.

• Around 300 Mormons marched in Salt Lake City’s gay pride parade.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Former Tennessee Death Row inmate Ndume Olatushani has been released from prison after 27 years — 19 of them on death row. He was released on an Alford Plea, which allows him to plead guilty while at the same time maintaining his innocence. Justice is …. weird.

• Metro Nashville Council approved a property tax increase, our first in seven years, on second reading Tuesday night. It won’t be official until a third and final reading next month, however.

The vote followed a lengthy public debate, which included input from Nashville Tea Party leader Ben Cunningham, who doesn’t even live in Davidson County and therefore will be unaffected by the increase. What a limelight chaser.

I haven’t written about this issue because I’ve been busy but here’s the deal. No one likes paying taxes, I sure don’t enjoy it, just as I don’t enjoy going to the dentist, eating my vegetables, and stopping after the second margarita. But I do it because I’m fucking grown-up, not a WATB who thinks she can live in la-la land and have everything be popsicles and rainbows without me doing my share. Last year the grass in our park was knee high because the public works budget was cut and they couldn’t mow. I’m tried of dodging giant brushpiles because chipper service has been cut back, etc. etc. So grow up already, you big babies. And Ben Cunningham, who doesn’t even live here but is desperate to see his name in the papers: I’ve got a steaming cup of STFU with your name on it.

• On a related note, the president of Lipscomb University, a conservative, Church of Christ affiliated private school in Nashville, has endorsed the tax increase.

• The CMA Music Fest, the largest tourism event in Nashville each year, sold out for the third consecutive year. And let me say: Nashville has had some beeeee-yoootiful weather for the tourists this year. I can’t remember a more gorgeous CMA Fest. Back in the day, when it was called “Fan Fair,” there would be stories about fans passing out in autograph lines because of the heat. But it’s just been incredible this week.

This week’s cool video from Greenpeace Israel:

8 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping

Never Been A Better Time

While I dig out from under a pile of work over the next few days let me recommend you run, not walk, to read Mark Morford’s latest. Here’s a little taste:

The citizens of all bygone eras would like you to know: There has never been a better time to be gay, lesbian, black, a sexually awake female, independent minded, free thinking, kinky, weird, unique, artsy, progressive, open minded, curious, a little feral, a lot sly and winking and ready for what’s next.

Conversely, there has never been a worse time to be uptight, clenched, fearful of change and gay rights and alternative thinking, hating on all the kinds of progress that are right now doing nothing but accelerating and mutating so fast no one can really keep track anymore.

And the remarkable news is, this basic equation? It never really changes. Conservatives resist flow. Progressives embrace it. Nevertheless, flow happens.

So maybe this is the most important question: Are you feeling wildly blessed? Are you amazed and astonished at the times in which you get to live, fraught and wobbly though they may be? I’ll be the first to admit, it’s not always easy. It often seems like nothing, in the grand scheme, ever changes. Violence and oppression, war and ignorance, the Catholic church like a bitter, stooped old man, spitting at the young and the joyful? Same as it ever was.

But then again, not really. Progress, after all, is rarely comfortable, or fun, or painless, or all that easy to clearly track. It usually happens in feverish fits and bloody lurches. It happens by legislative fiat and in spite of fundamentalist howlings, backlashes, vile little pastors from North Carolina calling for all gays and lesbians to be put behind electrified fences until they die.

But oh, it still happens. It always does. This is the wonderful thing.

It does sometimes feel like we’re having the same conversations about the same stuff with the same tired old parties taking their same tired old positions. Little wonder God watches from a distance, we bored him with our petty bullshit centuries ago. And yet, progress still happens. The blade of grass still pokes through cracks in the concrete sidewalk.

Anyway, I don’t mean to be sappy, but read the column, it’s a good one.

2 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping