Monday, December 1, 2014

Phone Companies.....

The end of the year is coming up, time to re-budget and re-evaluate the day to day expenses.  
First up...internet service bundled with phone.
With all the gamers and streamers in the house, we need a fairly fast connection.  My current bundled provider is not quite cutting it during peak usage.  Comcast is offering decent pricing for 50mps service over a 1 yr contract.
It is tempting me to order just the internet service, and get a landline again.

So I chatted with AT&T.

AT&T sales representatives are happy to assist you with your questions.

AT&T sales representatives will not have access to your personal account. This service is provided to you under AT&Ts Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. 
You are now chatting with Veda, an AT&T sales representative.
Veda: Welcome to AT&T online Sales support.  How may I help you with placing your order today?
RussianBear: Need to determine total cost per month for At&T unlimited Nationwide Calling One plan.
RussianBear: Inclusive of taxes/surcharges etc.
RussianBear: Service would be from XXXXXXX.
Veda: Are you a current customer, we no longer offer that plan.
Veda: Although all our plans come with unlimited talk and text and an option of a data package starting from $20.00 on up.
RussianBear: It is offered on the site.
RussianBear: I'm looking for traditional phone service.
Veda: Trying to load the site.
RussianBear: Are you using At&T internet service?
Veda: Ok thanks for the link. That is with another department. I can tranfer you to them now if you like.
RussianBear: Ok

Please wait while I transfer you to an operator at AT&T Wireline.
You are now chatting with 'Jhino C.' at AT&T Wireline.
Jhino C.: Hello!  How may I assist you today?
RussianBear: Need to determine total cost per month for At&T unlimited Nationwide Calling One plan. Inclusive of taxes/surcharges etc. Service would be from XXXXXX.
Jhino C.: Thank you for waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment.
Jhino C.: Hi, RussianBear!
RussianBear: Hello
Jhino C.: Let me go ahead and double check that information for you.
RussianBear: ok.
Jhino C.: Hi RussianBear! By the way, do you have an existing service with AT&T?
RussianBear: No.
Jhino C.: At&T unlimited Nationwide Calling One plan is $25 per month before taxes.
RussianBear: What are the taxes, fees, surcharges, universal service charges and other charges including a monthly Carrier Cost Recovery Fee, for service in XXXXXX?
Jhino C.: Because taxes and surcharges vary by location and are regulated by your city, county, municipality, and state, I'm unable to provide you with an exact amount.   However, a safe estimate would be an additional 10% to 15% of your monthly charges.
RussianBear: The location would be XXXXXX..
RussianBear: Surely billing would know what to charge, yes?
Jhino C.: I'm unable to provide you the exact taxes and surcharges RussianBear. You can contact our Business office department.
Jhino C.: To better assist you, please call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-288-2020.  They are open M-F, 8:00am to 5:00pm local time. On Saturday this office will be closed.
RussianBear: Thank you.
Jhino C.: You're most welcome, RussianBear!

Called the 800 number and spoke with Angela from Springfield.  She could not give me a number either.  She said they are not allowed to quote the price because it could change at any moment. (since the fees/taxes/surcharges are dependent on the actions of four layers of government. Fed, State, County, and City.)

Seriously AT&T, I'm not buying a car.  It's phone service. Can you tell me what the bill will be each month?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tell All Book

My dad has published another book.  This one is more of a tell-all book about meeting my mother. It's full of sex, violence, and drugs.  I told him I would wait to read it after he and mom have passed away.  Some things you just don't want to know about your parents when you have to see them face to face.

If you have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free, as it is in the lending library.  The print version should be available by this Friday. (CreateSpace takes a little longer for the review/approval process.)

Anyway, he's very exited about it.

I'll post an advance notice of when the e-book will be offered for the low low price of free.

Title: Love Letters from a Marriage
Author: Gary Yarbrough, M.D.
Pub:  10/27/14

Update: - Free Kindle Downloads are scheduled for 11/2/14 and again on 11/16/14.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fishing 2014

This year's fishing trip was different.  My boss offered to pay for a charter for me and my fishing buddies.  It wasn't the quiet reflective time, I;ve come to expect during my annual salmon trip.  This was working a small commercial fishing boat.

The challenge here wasn't finding and fighting the fish itself, it was trying to stay on your feet in the rolling chop.  For a shore fisherman, finding my sea legs wasn't going to happen.

On my turns, I went straight to the deck and fought the fish from my knees.

After six hours we had eight fish.  A mixed catch of king salmon, steelhead and an elusive brown trout.  We had at least one coho that got away. Not a bad day for this time of year.  No trophies here, but a lot of good eats.

Fishing Trip 2014 - Raptor Charters Ludington MI
Caption Glen Buehner took us out on his boat Raptor.   We didn't do a "north troll" as that would have been too rough for the crew.  If you're brave enough, tell him you want to fish for the limit and comfort is secondary.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend 2014

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."~ Ronald Reagan

Freedom is a special thing.  It does not mean being able to do what ever we want, but being free to do what is right, and that freedom is never free.  A terrible price has been paid for us to enjoy that freedom, and I fear we have become a nation unwilling keep up on our payments.

I spent Saturday at the range with my two younger sons.  The youngest used a 10/22 and a Buckmark pistol.  The older one and I used a Springfield Armory M1 Garand and a FNX45 pistol.  While trying to reload an en bloc clip, I though of those men during the Korean War doing the same task with the imminent threat of being overrun.   It gave me a new appreciation for detachable magazines and stripper clips.

The Garand came to me through a co-worker.  His brother had served as a Marine in the Korean War, and in the brother's words was a "gun nut".  He passed away in 1982 and all his firearms went to his brother (my co-worker) to keep in trust for his children.  The children are of age now, with children of their own, and have no interest in their father's firearms.  This seems sad to me.

Along with the rifle were several en bloc clips and a canvas pouch to hold two loaded clips.  The clips were loaded with blanks.  His brother had apparently been a part of an honor guard, rendering Military Funeral Honors.

So this Memorial Day, I did do some BBQ, but I also taught my children what the day is about, and why it was started.  To see and hear people wishing each other a "Happy Memorial Day," doesn't seem right.  To me, they just don't "get it."  To those that do "get it", please teach your children well.

PS.  The ribs were delicious.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

USDA Swat Team?

When I think of USDA, I think of meat inspectors.  You know,  guys in white coats and hard hats walking through a processing plant holding a clipboard and checking temperatures.  Sort of like Paulie.  You know, Rocky's brother-in-law.

I guess inspectin' the cow punching business has gotten much more dangerous.  How else to explain the USDA's solicitation for submachine guns?

Solicitation Number: USDAOIGWEA-5-7-14
Notice Type: Sources Sought
Added: May 07, 2014 2:03 pm
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, located in Washington, DC, pursuant to the authority of FAR Part 13, has a requirement for the commerical acquisition of submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot burts trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsilbe or folding, magazine - 30 rd. capacity, sling, light weight, and oversized trigger guard for gloved operation.  NO SOLICITATION DOCUMENT EXISTS.  All responsible and/or interested sources may submit their company name, point of contact, and telephone.  If received timely, shall be considered by the agency for contact to determine weapon suitability.
Contracting Office Address:
1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 40-E J.L. Whitten Fed Bldg
Washington, District of Columbia 20250
Place of Performance:
USDA, Office of Inspector General - Investigations
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, District of Columbia 20250
United States
Primary Point of Contact.:
Linda F. Josey,
Chief, Procurement Management Branch
Phone: 2027208337
Secondary Point of Contact:
Desiree Clayton,
Contracting Officer
Phone: 202-720-5931
Fax: 202-690-1282
Are cattle being held hostage?  Is there a corn field in crisis?  What is the pressing need for a USDA swat team?  Why Linda?  Why Desiree?  Dear Lord, for the love of beef, why?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Boy Scouts Miss Me.

Got this in my inbox today:

Dear Parent,

According to our records, your son did not renew his Scouting membership this year.  We are glad for the time he spent with us and hope it was a positive experience for him and your family. 

The purpose of this email is to let you know that your boy is welcome to rejoin Scouting at any time.  There are some exciting outdoor programs available this summer, and we don’t want anyone to miss out!  Visit for more details.

Please select the best response for your situation, and please provide any additional feedback you feel would be beneficial:

q    I received this email in error; my son is still active in Scouting.

q    My son would like to rejoin his previous unit (please give unit #).

q    My son’s former unit was not a good fit.  Please send me information on
        other units in my neighborhood.  (Please provide school district name.)

q    My son is no longer interested in Scouting.

Thank you again for your time.  If we can be of further assistance, please contact Kevin Huffman or Leon Bell at 313-897-1965.

Great Lakes Field Service Council
1776 West Warren Avenue 
Detroit, MI 48208
P 313.897.1965

My response:

Dear Recruiter,

I am raising my children to have principles and morals.

I do not want my children to comprise their morals or principles because of peer pressure.

BSA's failure to remain stalwart to its own oath in the current climate of political correctness is not an example my children should follow.

Good luck with your moral relativism.

-A Parent No Longer Sending You Money.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Detroit...You Surprise Me.

Wow, Detroit.  You Big D, you.  What is happening?

First you elect a white mayor for the first time in a half century.  Okay, he's still a Democrat, we can talk about that later.

But your police chief is now all down with concealed carry,  thinks the law abiding will help make Detroit a safer place.  That's pretty radical for a Detroit Police Chief.

Shoot, he might start thinking that the high cost of local government is a detriment to private business and industry and stuff.  Well, maybe not.  That might be a bridge too far.

Well, Detroit, I hope you will continue on this road of self help and responsibility.  Keep surprising me, please.