More rain today.

The iPod shuffled and dealt a particularly amusing set for today’s bike ride, ranging from the Amboy Dukes to Judy Garland. But the highlight was Peggy Lee singing “Fever.” Everybody knows that one, but I’d forgotten this middle verse:

Romeo loved Juliet, Juliet she felt the same
When he put his arms around her, he said “Julie baby you’re my flame”
Thou givest fever, when we kisseth, fever with thy flaming youth
Fever – I’m afire, fever yea I burn forsooth.

They just don’t write ’em like that anymore.

The other day — this was something I did during the Wood Chipper Symphony — I finally bit the bullet and set about upgrading my cell phone. The battery on my old Nokia candy bar has started to fail and it sometimes rings spontaneously (Phonesheimer’s disease), so what the hell. I swiftly discovered the problem with the upgrade, which is that you can’t just upgrade your phone, you also have to upgrade your plan.

Screw that. I don’t use the pathetic, 2003-era rock-bottom allotment of minutes I buy now. Why pay $10 more a month for more unused minutes? My local Cingular retailer suggested that while he couldn’t approve such un-American frugality, surely it could be grandfathered in via telephone. And he was right, it could. It took 40 minutes on the phone. I explained three times what I wanted. Each time I was told sure, no problem, we can do that, and then, after a consultation with “a supervisor,” alas it was no longer possible. I insisted, and approval would be passed further up the line. I believe it was finally resolved in my favor just short of the CEO’s office.

I got the pink Razr. Or will, eventually. They picked up shipping and handling, I agreed to another two-year service contract. I paid more than the website offered, far less than full retail. It was a classic give-a-little-get-a-little compromise.

Two things I discovered: After all these years, it turns out my old phone could send and receive text messages; and my new phone will play Warren Zevon’s “A Certain Girl” as a ringtone. Or, for that matter, Mahalia Jackson, singing “Go Tell it on the Mountain.” Someone told me the other day that ringtones were a $600 million yearly business, and I scoffed. I think I owe someone an apology.

OK, then: After the Plan B fiasco, I can hardly believe the FDA didn’t cave again on the cervical-cancer vaccine, but cave they didn’t, and so we have ourselves a happy day. The next big fight will be over mandatory vaccination, but for now, can we relax and congratulate ourselves for being adults, for a change? I plan to.

Few of us will live a life like Lula Hardaway, better known as Stevie Wonder’s mother. But I suspect we can all take some inspiration from it. Noted: She was known for her barbecue sauce and peach cobbler.

Have a good weekend. Like good Detroiters, we’re off to see “Cars.”

Posted at 2:45 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

8 responses to “More rain today.”

  1. deb said on June 9, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    notice that typo in the post story? it said the vaccine was “approved for girls and women ages 9 and 26.” anything in between and you’re out of luck, i guess.

    this is why i never despair about keeping a job in publishing. a sharp-eyed copy editor can find work anywhere.

    273 chars

  2. brian stouder said on June 9, 2006 at 3:40 pm

    a sharp-eyed copy editor can find work anywhere.

    nicely turned phrase!

    A few months back, our decade-long relationship with Dish Network came to an end, as we upgraded equipment (for free) and went to Direct-TV with no increase in expense. The short version of the story is – we’d still be with Dish if they would have given us a new receiver. We learned that we should have STARTED OUT telling Dish that we were teminating the service…because a long line of their people are empowered enough to say “no” (but not “yes”) to a concession – UNTIL you try to end the relationship.

    More recently, Verizon strung our neighborhood with fiber-optic cable, and we ended our 12-year relationship with AT&T Worldnet, in favor of the Verizon FiOS (which is GREAT, by the by)….and as an aside, their FiOS program has raised a few amusing class-warfare issues in the Fort….because the Aboite snooties can’t get access to it, while commoners (like me) can!


    993 chars

  3. nancy said on June 9, 2006 at 3:43 pm

    Funny you should mention that, Brian. It was only when I said, “Are you saying you’re willing to lose me as a customer over $10 a month” that things finally hit the homestretch. That’s the open-sesame phrase, for sure.

    And Deb, that typo is the first thing my eye hit when I read it. You wonder why no one else noticed.

    322 chars

  4. John said on June 9, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    Finding boo-boos in newspapers isn’t too hard…
    JIM PAULEY, principal of Braden River High School (East Manatee, FL): “When I heard [Zarqawi was killed] on the news I felt it was long overdo…”

    262 chars

  5. brian stouder said on June 9, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    Your It took 40 minutes on the phone. I explained three times what I wanted. Each time I was told sure, no problem, we can do that, and then, after a consultation with “a supervisor,�? alas it was no longer possible. I insisted, and approval would be passed further up the line.

    exactly captures our experience with Dish. Eventually, we all have to learn the art of ‘consumer brinksmanship’; even if it is a service that you’d like to keep, you have to credibly threaten to end it – and be prepared to pull the trigger

    532 chars

  6. Danny said on June 9, 2006 at 7:36 pm

    this is why i never despair about keeping a job in publishing. a sharp-eyed copy editor can find work anywhere.

    deb, this is not a criticism, because I actually applaud your economy of use of the Shift key. I am glad that you have thrown off the shackles of carpal-tunnel-inducing qwerty. It is just that the freedom you exercise is somewhat incongruous with you vocation of copy editing. Kinda like a rabbi who enjoys cheeseburgers.

    445 chars

  7. alex said on June 9, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    Deb, no quarrels with your typography preferences, but I’m one damn good copy editor without any prospects whatsoever and I’ve changed careers. I’d rather be copy editing. Alas, my smart mouth and long-fallow ‘blog made me persona non grata at the only game in this town.

    And Brian, you describe Dish Network to a T. My signal went pfft in the spring when the foliage grew in. When I called about it, they said a service call would be eighty bucks because I hadn’t subscribed to the service plan for an extra so-and-so per month. And I said I’d quit in that case. Cable doesn’t charge for service calls. They quickly backed down and started sending out technicians. Numerous service calls, in fact, none of which resulted in anything. So I called to quit again. They insisted this time they were sending out a mega super duper chief tech who would solve it. Guy gets here and I tell him what I was told and he insisted this was an ordinary service call and he was no different than any other tech and that they’re all the same. He also told me that the service never should have been installed here in the first place because the trees are simply too dense here. Period. End of story. I told this to the Dish people but they still kept insisting something would be done. It wasn’t until after I called the cable people and began service with them that Dish accepted the fact I was leaving. They acknowledged this by sending me a copy of a contract in the mail with some highlighted fine print about how I owe them $300 if I discontinue service within 12 months of signing up. I argued with them via phone about this for a few weeks but they finally had to admit that I hadn’t discontinued service so much as they had failed to provide it.

    I’m thinking about trying Direct TV. That’s what the former owner of my house had, and there were just as many trees here then.

    1873 chars

  8. brian stouder said on June 9, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    One of Pam’s friends has several premium channels (the HBO package) that she was wanting to discontinue – and they were going to charge her a “disconnect fee” of $20 – per channel – so she retreated…

    Pam told her about our endless phone-quest for an equipment upgrade, and how telling them to terminate the service altogether brings them to heel; her friend promptly utilized that approach – and all is now well again.

    It just struck me as so funny that these big service providers (teevee/phone/internet) will woo NEW customers with all the charm and flair they can possibly muster, but the people who they already are in a relatively long-term relationship with, and who they have a history of receiving timely payments from, get shunted aside and taken for granted!

    Oh sure – we get the occasional “free weekend” of this or that movie channel; but ask them for anything that is one step away from what they decided in advance to do, and all you get is a runaround! It really does look like a system designed by men, and not by women.

    NEWSFLASH! – putting even 1/4 the effort into ‘customer care’ (for existing customers) that they put into attracting new business would be MASSIVELY smart!! For one thing, all those ‘cared for’ customers will yap with their friends – thus paving the way for more ‘new business’

    1335 chars