Tag Archives: This So-Called American Life

Stop Washing Your Hair, Ladies

[UPDATE]:

Sorry, don’t know why comments were turned off. WordPress has changed its posting form and I haven’t quite got the hang of the new system.

————————————————————-

And by “washing,” I do mean, using shampoo.

I’m one of those people who isn’t just having a bad hair day, I’m having a bad hair life. I got the family’s bad hair gene: while my sister was blessed with gorgeous, naturally curly hair, I got the limp, straight, thin hair from my mother’s side of the family. Aging has only made this situation worse.

And then I stopped washing my hair. And everything changed.

It started back in the early 2000s. I was a fan of the show “What Not To Wear,” one of the early makeover reality shows on TLC. One time Nick Arrojo, the guy who did the show’s hair makeovers, told a client that he didn’t wash his hair with shampoo. Ever. I thought it was the strangest thing I’d ever heard. I told my hair stylist and she said, “well, actually, I only wash my hair once every six months.” I couldn’t believe it. She had gorgeous, thick, shiny auburn hair. It looked as clean as anyone’s. She explained how shampoo causes the scalp to produce more oils and actually makes the hair weak. It can even make your hair fall out.

I was pretty shocked, seeing as how every time one goes to the hair salon they not only wash your hair but hawk a bunch of verrry pricey shampoos, conditioners and other hair products at you.

A few months later I switched hair salons and my new stylist told me he, too, did not wash his hair. I mean, what a tremendous irony, right? Hair salons try to sell you a bunch of crap their own stylists don’t even use.

Anyway, I stopped washing my hair every day several years ago. I rinse it out with water every day, but I only use shampoo once every week or two. And now I’m ready to stop doing that. Shampoo is a racket, when you use it all the time you then have to use conditioners and all sorts of other crap to make up for what your body naturally does when you stopp applying formaldehyde, sodium laureth sulfate, and other toxins to your hair and scalp in the first place.

I’m not sure the solution is a new product from the creator of the Bumble & Bumble empire. You can use baking soda and peppermint oil and make your own “purely perfect” solution. I’m pretty sure most peoples’ budgets will appreciate the switch, too. We could actually be looking at the demise of a major sector of the cosemtics industry. Good riddance.

5 Comments

Filed under American trends

Day 17 Of My Captivity

I’m starting to wonder if this all hasn’t been one big psychological experiment conducted by our Corporate Overlords to see just how far the average American customer can be pushed before they go postal.

On the other hand, Starbucks has really great coffee cake.

1 Comment

Filed under AT&T, corporate overlords, telecom

Greetings From The 9th Circle of AT&T Uverse Telecom Hell

Day 13 of our captivity and we are completely out of service — all services. No internet, no TV, no telephone. It’s been this way for 48 hours.

We’ve had six people come over to our house to try to figure out what’s wrong, including our personal electrical contractors, who AT&T told us to call because they couldn’t figure out our phones. Lord knows how much that’s going to cost me. And now it appears it was all entirely unnecessary, anyway.

Yesterday we had a guy I call the Telecommunications Whisperer come over, ostensibly to give us a new box but after 15 minutes here he determined the problem was a fault in the line from the street. “They should have run you a new line from the start,” he told me. Gee, you don’t say.

Here’s where it gets good: as soon as the line guy arrived, all of the electronics in the house seemed to rejoice, because I was immediately back in service. TV popped on, emails started flooding the in-box, and I got a dial tone on the phone. I went out to ask the guy what he did and he said, “Nothing, I just got here. I’m just getting ready to run some tests.”

I’m starting to think we don’t need a repairman but an exorcist.

By the time the guy left at 6 pm, new line installed, everything was dead. No phones, no internet, no TV, no nuthin’. On the phone with AT&T I was told I need a new ONT box. But — here’s where it gets good — apparently Nashville has a shortage of ONT boxes. They have to order one and who knows when FedEx or UPS can deliver one!

I just give up. I really do. Each new person leaves me in worse shape than the last guy. No one knows what to do so they’re just replacing everything to see what sticks.

I’m done. Finished. Come and take your crap, put my old box back, give me back my old DSL line, and let me get on with my life.

I mean, seriously. We put a man on the moon 45 years ago. Today I can’t even get a telecom service installed.

I tell you this long saga as a way of explaining why I’ve been out of pocket the last few days and comment moderation has been slow to nonexistent. I don’t know when I’ll be back on line. I’m writing this from Starbucks.

Be well.

14 Comments

Filed under AT&T, corporate overlords, telecom

Public Service Announcement: AT&T Uverse Sucks, Stay Away

[UPDATE] 2:

Apparently my solution is to move to Chattanooga.

I actually like Chattanooga a lot. It’s a beautiful river city surrounded by gorgeous mountains. They have an awesome aquarium and a fabulous music festival called Riverbend every June. I could live there. Hell, if it was good enough for Bessie Smith….

I think what frustrates me the most about this whole ordeal is that the actual product itself is very good, probably wonderful. But where these big companies always trip themselves up is on the people stuff. They can handle gears and switches and fiber optics and other technical stuff but dealing with people is something they absolutely fail at. And what this tells me is, feel-good marketing and PR campaigns notwithstanding, they simply do not value people. Not as customers, not as employees. They are not focused on people at all. They are focused on their product, not how it makes its way into the world. But telecom is a very people-centric product. It’s something people interact with in all aspect of their lives. It’s completely integrated into a person’s life. To ignore the people aspect is to miss something fundamental about what it is you do.

Love them or hate them, Apple has always gotten the people aspect of what they do. AT&T has not.

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You’d think in Great Capitalist America we consumers would have more options than just choosing between two soul-sucking, mendacious corporate behemoths for our home technology needs but sadly, in another failure of capitalism, that answer is no.

Mr. Beale and I have spent the past two weeks mired in a labyrinth of corporate incompetence so massive it is astounding that this major American company hasn’t imploded under the weight of its own fail. A few weeks ago we made the (in retrospect) ill-fated decision to switch our tech at the house to AT&Ts Uverse. It was not a decision made lightly: I’ve had very bad experiences with Comcast and other Tech Giants and was reluctant to re-enter that world. But we’ve been spending a ridiculous amount of money on an old-school DSL line that’s so sluggish we can’t even stream Netflix movies while working on a laptop, and YouTube videos chug along like a slow boat to China. Meanwhile we’ve been getting DirectTV, paying a ridiculous amount each month and dealing with weather interruptions, etc. Switching to AT&T would be cheaper, faster, better, etc., or so they said.

Well, I’ll spare you all the gory details but suffice it to say this has been an utter disaster all the way around. We had to have two installers come out — after we were completely blown off on our first appointment, I might add — and half of our phone jacks STILL don’t work. Email has been another disaster, with me finally setting up an account on iMail but not able to send to more than one person at a time. I guess AT&T expects me to send 300 individual messages informing people of my new email address. Does that make sense to anyone? When I posted the question about sending bulk email on the AT&T forums page, I was told to get a free Gmail account.

So the solution to my problem is to not use the service I just spent a lot of money getting. Okie dokie.

Today I called tech support and after getting cut off the first time got switched to two different people where I was told my problem could be solved if I paid an additional $15 a month.

Meanwhile, Mr. Beale has not been able to set up his email account to Outlook Express.

This has been an utter disaster. We will have to try to cancel this service — if they let us out of the indentured servitude that is the AT&T contract. Perhaps they’ll take my first-born son. Maybe a right or left arm.

[UPDATE]:

Let me add, the cherry on top of this Suck Sundae has been the constant requests for me to take their “survey” to “offer my opinion.” No. You do not want my opinion.

21 Comments

Filed under AT&T, corporate overlords

Two Americas, Addict/New Mom Edition

Two Americas. In one America, we arrest new mothers whose newborns test positive for drugs and charge them with assault (even though in this case, the drug our new mother used is not covered under the law through which she was charged. Weird, that.)

In another America, affluent moms hire “sobriety coaches” to help them stay clean and sober:

Once consigned to Hollywood entourages to keep celebrities on the straight and narrow (and out of rehab), sobriety coaches, also known as sober companions and recovery therapists, are being hired by well-heeled mothers from the Upper East Side to the beachfront homes of Boca Raton, Fla.

Blame the rigors of being an urban mother. “Raising kids is stressful to begin with,” said Mary Karr, the best-selling writer who lives in Greenwich Village, who related her grueling recovery in her 2009 memoir “Lit: A Memoir.” “The new supermoms have to be thin and rich and successful, so there’s all this extra stress,” she said. “It’s loathsome.”

“Addiction is a disease of isolation,” added Ms. Karr, 59, who has a 28-year-old son (she starts “Lit” with an open letter to him). “I would have loved to have someone come over and help me not get drunk.”

It’s not just the extra glasses of pinot or rosé. Cosmopolitan mothers these days are also reaching for Adderall (the multitasker’s best friend), Percocet (the antidote to the taxing trifecta of marriage, children and career) and Ambien (that bedtime staple), not to mention a cocktail of other drugs that high-strung mothers also have at their disposal.

And by the time these mothers realize they need help, they don’t exactly have the time or wherewithal to check into rehab or attend 12-step meetings. In addition, they want more privacy, the better to avoid the judgment and stigma that mothers with addiction face.

It is worth noting that the story of Mallory Loyola appeared in the news section of TV station WBIR. Mary Karr’s story appeared in the “Fashion & Style” section of the Sunday New York Times.

In one America an addicted mom is arrested and charged with assault, held on $2,000 bond, with her picture plastered all over the news. In another America well-heeled moms who “don’t have time” for rehab and 12-step meetings and need to avoid the stigma of drug addiction to preserve their social status hire “sobriety coaches” to hold their hands and tell them it’s okay to be stressed-out about having to be thin and beautiful. Such an impossible standard, who can blame them for reaching for the Percocet now and then? Poor things.

I honestly do not want to hear from another one of these Special Snowflakes who melt under the stress of their privileged lives. If Mallory Loyola has to have her face plastered across the news and now has a criminal record and is charged with assault, then so should Tamara Mellon, Mary Karr, “Jeanne” the anonymous Fortune 500 marketing exec, and all the rest. Alternately, if Jeanne et. al. get the compassion, understanding and personal attention that comes from hiring a coach, then why shouldn’t Mallory Loyola?

Says “Jeanne The Fortune 500 marketing exec”:

“I was my daughter’s age when my dad came out as an alcoholic,” said Jeanne, a marketing executive, who spent her youth going to Alateen, an offshoot of A.A. meetings for teenage family members. “I never thought that would be me,” she said. Rehab was not a viable option. “What working mom can be away for 30 to 60 days?” she added. “And how would I explain it?”

So she hired Natasha Silver Bell, 38, a sobriety coach on the Upper East Side, who is a divorced mother and former addict. Jeanne has been seeing Ms. Silver Bell once a week for the last four months, paying roughly $2o0 for an hour sit-down session, which also grants calling or texting privileges. “I liked that I could do it without disrupting my schedule,” Jeanne said.

And yet, we expect the Mallory Loyolas of the country to make time for it, explain it, etc., nor do we afford them the anonymity and privacy that Jeanne so cherishes.

Forgive me if this injustice rubs me the wrong way.

7 Comments

Filed under healthcare, Tennessee

Congratulations, Greg Philip Winnick! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Someone please take his guns away before somebody gets hurt:

A Wind Gap man said he dozed off with a loaded firearm on his lap and was awoken when it fired just before 3 this morning, according to court records.

Greg Philip Winnick, of Oakwood Drive, was watching YouTube videos on a new trigger for his Rebel Arms AR-15 after installing it on the gun, when he fell asleep at the computer with the gun on his lap, according to court records.

Winnick told Pennsylvania State Police with the Belfast barracks that he woke up when the rifle discharged and that he did not realize the gun was loaded, according to records. The 37-year-old told authorities that he had been awake since midnight Sunday, records indicate.

Ah, brilliant. The bullet entered the bedroom of Winnick’s neighbors, who were asleep at the time. The neighbors’ two small children were asleep in the apartment, as well. Apparently the bullet entered right above the neighbors’ mattress.

This happens so often I can’t even count: some idiot in an apartment building discharges a weapon and it narrowly misses an innocent neighbor (or doesn’t miss them, tragically). “No guns” clauses in landlord agreements are going to become more common, methinks.

4 Comments

Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns

Elections 4 $ale

I’m trying not to be too upset about SCOTUS’ ruling lifting the cap on individual campaign contributions. I mean, think about it: if money alone could decide an election, we’d have President Gingrich and Vice President Adelson today.

Trust me, I’m not thinking this is a good thing by any means. But let’s be real, the rich are not our betters, nor are they necessarily any smarter than anyone else. I just trotted over to OpenSecrets.org and got a look at Lee and Kelly Beaman’s latest campaign contributions. Here I found they both donated generously to Liz Cheney’s aborted senate campaign — not exactly a smart investment, since any idiot knew she wasn’t going to go the distance — as well as the notorious Palin grift vehicle known as SarahPAC. Now that we know they can just keep on giving, maybe these folks will all be bankrupt before too long. Fools and their money, after all.

The place this is really going to hurt, I think, is on things like ballot initiatives and local elections. Because even though this ruling only applied to federal elections, I have to wonder if states aren’t going to do away with their own restrictions now. Seems like a few have already tried.

But you know, here’s the thing: Congress could pass a law. They could say that corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech and all of that other stuff. They could pass a law saying all federal elections have to be publicly financed. They won’t, but they could, if we elect the right people. So elections do matter.

Also, you know who the big beneficiary of this is, right? The corporate media. All of those campaign contributions run straight into their coffers, most of them at least. That explains a helluva lot, don’t it?

Gotta think the Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves right now, though. If money is speech, the poor are voiceless. Is that your vision of America? Shameful.

16 Comments

Filed under campaign finance, Media, Supreme Court

Tick Tock

An update on this story from last month about Rep. Curry (DUI) Todd’s effort to exempt Tennessee from daylight savings time:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An effort to exempt Tennessee from daylight saving time has failed by one vote in the state House.

The House State Government Committee on Tuesday voted 6-5 against the measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville.

All together now: awwwwww. As you may recall, this was a half-baked idea from the get-go, with Rep. Todd originally proposing to do away with daylight savings time completely, then amending it to make daylight savings time permanent. He didn’t seem to know exactly what he wanted to do, just that for some reason changing the clocks twice a year seemed to chafe his britches and it must stop!

The confusion continued when Todd’s bill hit the State Government Committee:

Several lawmakers from the part of the state in the eastern time zone raised concerns that the measure would have caused their region’s time to be mismatched with neighboring states like Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia during part of the year.

Todd amended the bill to exempt East Tennessee from the bill, which caused other lawmakers to raise concerns about possible confusion over only part of the state adhering to daylight saving time.

Just …. stop. Stop being such a crazy old fool. Curry Todd’s district is just east of Memphis and I have to wonder if there isn’t something wrong with the water there. There’s a lot of cray-cray going on in that part of the state.

7 Comments

Filed under Rep. Curry Todd, Tennessee

Because There’s Absolutely Nothing This Country Won’t Commercialize

[Update: Welcome, Wonketteers!]

Ummm….

An Oregon firm introduced an action figure of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. ThatsMyFace.com, whose catalog also includes Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, said that the 12-inch Snowden figure comes dressed in a blue shirt, casual trousers and black high-top shoes, but wardrobe options include a gray-striped business suit, Indiana Jones outfit and a combat uniform. It sells for $99. ThatsMyFace.com promises that proceeds will go to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, although the foundation’s executive director, Trevor Timm, denied any association with the doll or ThatsMtFace.com. (Agence France-Presse)

The Edward Snowden action figure sells for $99:

Edward_Snowden_a_53014ad925cf1

If the $99 price tag seems a little steep the manufacturer notes,

By selecting Head only in the Outfit selection box above, you can also buy Edward Snowden’s head for $60 only and fit it onto your own 12-inch figurines.

Well, hey, kids! Now that’s a bargain!

You can see the Julian Assange figure here, including set-ups where he’s brandishing a military-style assault rifle and one where he’s dressed like a pirate.

You can see them in “action” here (laptop comes separately?):

In all fairness, I noticed this company also makes an array of celebrity action figures, including Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Eric Holder and Rahm Emmanuel, to name a few.

Sigh.

As if we needed any more evidence that American politics has moved away from actual governing and into the realm of mass entertainment.

11 Comments

Filed under consumerism

Time Keeps On Ticking Into The Future

Today we sprang forward, part of our annual Daylight Savings Time ritual. I usually hate springing forward because you “lose” an hour but I get over it as soon as I realize that holy cow it’s 6:00 and it’s still daylight!

So naturally, Tennessee Republican State Rep. Curry Todd, ALEC’s man in our state legislature who was last in the news for living with a lobbyist in violation of state ethics rules, wants to do away with this annual ritual. Todd has a bill that would keep Tennessee in permanent daylight savings time.

Nobody could have anticipated that a Republican would want to freeze the state in time.

{rimshot}

This is a ridiculous proposal on a lot of levels, the most notable one being, there’s absolutely no reason to do this. Why would Todd want to change this? It’s not like we’ve experienced a rash of issues related to the time change. I suspect some corporate suck asked Todd to file this bill because Todd, as I mentioned, is a Big Business Toady — more specifically, ALEC’s man in the Tennessee legislature who was caught living with a lobbyist in violation of state ethics rules.

Todd claims that he’s doing this “for the children” who have to wait for the school bus in the dark, and at the behest of farmers, and also he did some research and “80% of Tennesseans were in favor of making the switch.”

LOLWUT? He did research? I call bullshit. Please show us this mythic research!

Also, please stop trying to do the children of Tennessee any favors:

When asked though which time gives children more daylight in the morning, Todd admitted, “I really don’t know to tell you the truth.”

In actuality, moving the clock forward an hour means school children will wait for the bus longer in the dark.

Woopsies. Hilariously, Todd’s original proposal would have done away with daylight savings time. He changed it with an amendment making daylight savings time permanent.

Nobody could have anticipated that a Tennessee Republican would propose legislation to prevent the state from moving forward.

{rimshot}

Methinks Curry Todd hasn’t really thought this whole thing through.

And then we have this:

The change would cause some time issues for east Tennessee, which is in the Eastern Time Zone.

If Knoxville stays on daylight saving while the rest of the east coast falls back, east Tennessee would be an hour ahead of New York.

This guy makes a good point:

Moving the clock ahead an hour does not add daylight, time or anything else. The primary purpose for the concept of keeping “time” is that everyone is on the same page. If Tennessee decides it is going to buck the rest of the country, then confusion will ensue. This is particularly so given Tennessee borders so many other states. Imagine, five months of the year when Chattanoogans are planning to meet friends from North Georgia, they will be on different times. The other seven months the time will be the same. Confusion will reign in every area that borders a different state (and in Tennessee, that includes Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, etc.).

Indeed, mass confusion is why the Uniform Time Act was passed in the first place.

Nobody could have anticipated that a Tennessee Republican would propose legislation causing mass, state-wide confusion.

{rimshot}

Curry Todd is a few sandwiches short of a full picnic, but I have no doubt that he doesn’t do anything without one of his big-money buddies telling him to do it. Clearly he’s too lazy/disinterested to fully investigate the issue at hand.

Would love to know who benefits from this. Anyone?

7 Comments

Filed under Current Events, Tennessee, Tennessee politics