I Called It

March 30th, 2009

Didn't I tell you all? I know I did.

There is not a single dick in evidence here.


March 18th, 2009

I've spent my life avoiding Bank of America.

My dad hated BofA for its consumer-hostile policies. He held old-fashioned beliefs about banks, that they were supposed to pay you interest for the privilege of holding your money.

BofA was one of the first banks in our experience to understand that the consumer needs the bank, with its checking accounts and credit cards and effect on credit rating, more than the bank needs the consumer. BofA started charging us for the privilege of accessing our own cash, charging fees for accounts below a certain threshold, and generally screwing us at every opportunity.

Of course BofA led a banking revolution, making buckets of loot for their shareholders and execs.

Imagine my chagrin now as I write more and more checks to Bank of America.

Years ago, we got an affinity credit card from our alma mater, UCSC. It amused us to carry a credit card sporting a banana slug. The card was issued by MBNA, the pioneer of affinity cards.

MBNA was gobbled up by BofA. How bad could it be? We would just be sending our payments to a different address.

Then the calls started rolling in. As a new customer of BofA, we had a universe of services and products to purchase and damned if they weren't going to ring our phone until we bought something. Sometimes we'd get three calls a day.

We emailed our alumni association and learned that telemarketing was forbidden according to the terms of their deal with BofA.

How typical. Bending or breaking the rules may outrage some folks, but what's a few pissed off people compared to the money to be sucked from this vast new pool of virgin customers?

And on another front, our original mortgage was sourced by North American Mortgage. They turned into Homeside Lending, which was acquired by the now defunct Washington Mutual. Then we refinanced and wrote our checks to the infamous Countrywide Financial. Countrywide was swallowed by Bank of America. Perhaps she'll die.

I know. It couldn't've happened to a nicer company. My first impressions of Countrywide were a sales pitch that screamed about the tens of thousands of dollars we could save over the life of our mortgage if we simply enrolled in their biweekly payment plan. They would automatically take money from us every two weeks and we would end up $70,000 richer in 30 years... all for the ridiculously low price of $350... plus an extra $1 per payment as a convenience fee. So we'd pay them $350 plus $26 a year for 30 years to do something that we could do ourselves by just making an extra payment a year or adding a little extra principal to each regular payment. It's good to learn that the company that holds your financial future has your best interest at heart.

And only now people are getting their tits in a tangle about scumsuckers like John Thain doling out $3.6 billion in bonuses to Merrill Lynch employees just before their acquisition by BofA and AIG filling the bonus trough with $165 million for the very piggies who helped bring capitalism to its knees.


March 17th, 2009

I'm forced to watch a lot of CNBC.

The mob of experts and pundits they parade past the cameras confirms that most people are too ugly to be on TV. Even their Money Honeys, such as Trish Regan, Erin Burnett, Maria Bartiromo, have a certain softball-player sturdiness about them.

Watching a lot of CNBC means watching a lot of Snuggie commercials. What is a Snuggie?

It's a big, fleecy cowl.

I note that they rarely show men wearing a Snuggie. Why is that? Well, despite being comfy and practical, a Snuggie makes a man look like a dickless monk.

And the only thing called "Snuggie" that should be on a man's body is his SO's intimate parts.

Rat's Ass

March 17th, 2009

Or March Madness.

Who could possibly give a crap?

Oklahoma to play Prairie View A&M in NCAA tourney
Sooners study Morgan State, focus on themselves

These are actual headlines.

Oh, and Brands Embrace the (March) Madness, because so many lemmings are frothing at the mouth to watch obscure teams sweat on the court, leading to the inevitable contest of a few powerhouse schools duke for the Overblown Synthetic Contest Champion title.

Meanwhile, the two or three TV shows that I bother to watch on a semi-regular basis are preempted.

Because the drooling masses just can't get enough basketball.


Old Fart

March 16th, 2009

I've been old for a long time.

As an adolescent, I identified more with my parents' generation and their friends than with my shallow, consumerist peers.

My dad joined the Navy at 17 and experienced the world. My mom grew up on a farm in New Zealand. One family friend served as crew in B-58s. Another flew C-46s over the Hump as a member of the OSS. I met General Curtis LeMay.

I don't say this to brag. I just mean to convey my deep respect for those who have gone before.

It's with this perspective that I regard with intense disgust a recent TV ad for the new Verizon Hub internet appliance phone gadget.

For the uninitiated, you see a youngish, hippish, mildly MILFish mom in a trim, modern, homey kitchen bustling about empowering her life with a countertop search for paella recipes on her sleek Verizon Hub's touchscreen. She broadcasts the evening menu to the family with the device, reinforcing its Super-Mom-enabling hubbiness.

In seconds, she receives a video response from a pale, narrow punk of a kid, droning with snot-nosed toddler tones: "I don't know what pah-ella is, but I'm not eating it. Ever."

Super Mom sighs knowingly, gives her head a loving and resigned tilt, and then caresses her Hub to order a pizza for her ignorant, ungrateful spawn.

Excuse me?

I missed the part where the enabled, empowered, engadgetted parents are in thrall to spotty faced kids who spend most of the day fantasizing about places to stick their hard-ons.

Oh, the little boy doesn't want to eat what his mom makes for dinner? Momma will make it all right and buy a pizza for Baby.


Don't like what's for dinner? Then you damned well go hungry, you little turd. I'm sure it's not the end of the world to go without the evening meal for one night. You could always buy your own dinner with your own money. But you were saving for that new iPod? Wow. Life's tough, ain't it? How about trying something different, expanding your horizons a little bit beyond your upper-middle-class corporate consumer straitjacket? Speaking of consumers, I'm sure that you didn't pay for that little camera cellphone technological miracle that you used to crap all over your mom. Asshole.

Damn Verizon to hell for trying to sell anything with this shtick.