Archive for December 31, 2012

Comcast’s Dirty Tricks

If you have Comcast, be sure to read this.  Because we weren’t happy with our old AT&T phone service, I listened to the Customer Service guy’s explanation of Triple Play.  It would be $24 a month less than what we’re currently paying for TV and Internet, but we’d get phone service for free.  It would be only a year at this price but then go up to a little more than we’re paying now–still cheaper than them plus AT&T.

Today I got the first bill–for MORE than we used to pay, not less.  I called Comcast, waited on hold (they’ve had “an unusually high volume of calls” all the years we’ve been with them), and waded through a hard-to-understand man named Mark.  After being put on hold several times while he researched things, I asked for a supervisor–meaning another 15 minute hold.

Anna came on and informed me that the person who signed me up didn’t see the other equipment we had (modum, DVR, adapter), even though he had read to me right from our account.  That brought the price up.  But that wasn’t the biggest dirty trick.

When digital TV became the only game in town, Comcast gave a free adapter to their customers who needed it, I believe in response to pressure from the government. We have one digital TV and one analog.  Anna told me that 6 months ago Comcast decided to charge $1.99 a month for that adapter.  I asked when and how customers were informed that this charge would be kicking in; she said that Comcast had NOT informed its customers, just began charging.  I expressed my opinion that they can’t just add a charge their customers didn’t agree on.  No response.  She finally agreed to waive the $1.99 a month for a year, so long as we didn’t change our plan.  (The trick here is that, in 5 more months, when they start charging for HBO, which we don’t particularly like, we’ll cancel HBO and, I bet, that will trigger the charge.  So we have 5 months to price out and buy an adapter and, while we’re at it, a DVR to replace Comcast’s expensive one.

Have you checked your Comcast bill lately?  Do it now.  If you see that charge, cozy in with a good book (for your long on-hold time) and call 1-800-comcast.


Earth Friendly Tip: High Cost of Idling

Avoid drive-throughs, warming up your car, talking in your driveway with your car running, and other needless idling, which releases double the emissions of a moving car and adds to air and noise pollution.  It costs you a bundle in wasted gas, too: Americans squander at least $2 billion worth of fuel yearly on this activity.

[For more easy, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to view/7000, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device. Or download a free copy from your favorite e-tailer.]                                Racecar 3

Armed Guards in Schools? Yes!

I’m all for having armed guards in every school.  In fact, they should be anywhere children gather.  That includes churches, synagogs, temples, and mosques; Scout meetings; children’s birthday parties (disguise the guard as a cowboy); family reunions (never know when there will be a drive-by shooting); the zoo and children’s discovery museum; even political events where politicians kiss babies.  Nothing is too extreme to safeguard our children.

These should be trained guards, required to take a two-hour gun safety course.  Some may be volunteers (I’m sure the NRA will recruit willing volunteers from their membership).  But many will be professional peace officers, fire-fighters, and school principals.

Expensive?  Not really.  The  Kids Are Our Concern (CROC) program can easily be paid for by money saved by revamping our penal system.  First, execute all the roughly 725  people currently on Death Row–they’re taking up space and using too much court time and money on appeals.  Maybe a few will be executed for a crime they didn’t commit, but if they’re on Death Row they must have done something else terrible enough to be taken out of society permanently.  Then, within two weeks of having been sentenced to death, execute newly convicted felons.  Next, sentence to death anyone using a gun that causes, intentionally or unintentionally,  any kind of bodily harm (except to animals, of course).  Think of all the money we’d save on housing and feeding these monsters AND we’d free up space in our prisons–maybe close down a few, thus saving even more money.

And all that savings would be earmarked for the CROC program.

I urge you to write your members of Congress (once they climb up from the bottom of the cliff) and urge that they adopt the CROC program at once!

Thoughtful Thursday: Seneca Sense

“We are members of one great body. Nature planted in us a mutual love, and fitted us for a social life. We must consider that we were born for the good of the whole.”  —  Seneca

[This is a good thought during this season of love.  May we extend it into and throughout the new year.]

Best & Worst Christmas Gifts

What gift do you especially appreciate this year?  For me, it was another Christmas with my husband.  Two years ago, a week before Christmas, he was misdiagnosed with a condition that would kill him in 4-6 months.  You bet that was a pretty crappy Christmas!  A couple of months later a team of doctors reversed that opinion, saying, yes, his antibiotic-resistant lung infection will be with him the rest of his life and he’ll have periods of heavy-duty I.V. antibiotics to go through to push those buggers into temporary submission, but that isn’t a death sentence.  Needless to say, last Christmas was MUCH happier than the previous one.  This year my most precious gift was another holiday with my husband, who isn’t in tip-tip shape (can’t expect the moon at age 74) but is doing well enough to keep me in line (no small feat).

My worst gift ever?  Well, my aunt meant well, and it was very nice.  And she loved me a whole bunch.  Somewhere around here I still have it.  Someday maybe I’ll find a spot in my house for a bright purple satin pillow.

Come on.  Now it’s your turn to share.  Tell the rest of us about memorable–for whatever reason–gifts you received.

What’s Your Hoiliday?

What do you celebrate this time of year? Christian Christmas, Jewish Hanukkah, Buddhist Bodhi Day, African-American Kwanzaa, Muslum Ashura, Druid Solstice, Atheist “made-it-through-another-year”?  We may disagree on what to commemorate, but we all look to that same shining star:




Earth-Friendly Tip During Party Season

It’s  party season!  Cut down on entertainment-trash.  Buy a set of reusable dishes and flatware for parties—settings in various patterns from thrift stores are fun.  Use name tags on guests’ glasses and cups.  Be sure to avoid any Styrofoam.

[For more easy, Eco-friendly tips, download a FREE copy of Green Riches: Help the Earth & Your Budget. Go to view/7000, choose a format, and download to your computer or e-book device. Or download a free copy from your favorite e-tailer.]

Happy New Year

Thoughtful Thursday: The Gift of What We Have

A thought in this giftng season:



Head, Gut, Groin…Violence

“Head, Gut, or Groin” is a segment on America’s Funniest Home Videos.”  I couldn’t believe it as I cycled between news programs with my morning coffee today.  Couples actually compete by guessing which part of the anatomy someone in a home video will be hit.  Then they run the video to see who was right.

I’ve never been fond of “America’s Home Videos” because they almost all document someone falling, crashing, hitting another person or object, or otherwise hurting or being hurt.  This is sold as humor and is very popular–consider how long that show has been running.  But this segment takes it into the realm of sport, a violent spectator sport, a sport that teaches our kids that violence is fun and funny.

And that bothers me.


How Much this Season Costs the Earth

Every year at this time, the U.S. creates an extra 5 million tons of waste, or 3.5 million metric tons of CO2.  Take a look at these numbers from