Bank of America Screws Its Small Customers

All your money are belong to us...

You think Bank America really cares about its customers?

In mid-August, B of A notified me that there’d been a breech of data with some retailer I do business with, and because of that, they were issuing me a new debit card.  A couple days later, I got a similar notice for my Visa account with them.

The one thing the notices didn’t contain was the name of the retailer who’d been hacked.

Because the breeches involved both my Visa and debit cards, I was able to narrow it down to only three companies that have both cards: pelicanparts.com, newegg.com and amazon.com.

I contacted B of A to find out the name of the company.  I figured that’s a pretty basic thing to know, so I could protect myself in the future.  Because any company that was stupid enough to let itself be hacked once could easily let it happen again.

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Passings – Farrah Fawcett and Whacko Jacko

Hitler's Painting
I was saddened to hear of the death of Farrah Fawcett. She was a really classy, beautiful and talented lady.

Conversely, on hearing Michael Jackson died at about the same time, I think I felt relief. My reaction was along the lines of, thank god, another psycho pedophile has been taken out of action.

When Farrah Fawcett debuted on TV, a lot of people dismissed her as just another pretty face – one of the “Charlie’s Angels.” It was hard to draw a different conclusion back then – face it – Charlie’s Angels was the Baywatch of the mid-70’s. The whole premise of the show was to put beautiful women in improbably situations to showcase their good looks.  Not much plot. Terrible writing and acting. But great looking babes. It’s a TV show formula that’s been proven to work, over and over.

Reinforcing that no-talent/beautiful airhead impression was the iconic poster she did – and the hysteria about her trademark hair.

But then to the amazement of everyone, she left the show after only a year.

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Save KPIG! – An Open Letter To Mapleton Communications

KPIG

Sirs:

I’m a regular KPIG listener. I live in Tacoma, WA, and listen to the internet stream. I’ve been a regular listener pretty much since KPIG went live online. In the 70’s, I lived in the Santa Cruz area and was a big fan of KFAT.

I’d like to register a protest concerning Mapleton’s decision to do away with live DJ’s at KPIG on the overnight shift.
KPIG is the last of what sadly is a dying breed – a radio station run by actual human beings, rather than programmed by computer-generated playlists with voice-over’s from talent located on the East Coast or wherever.

The reason KPIG has been so successful is that it fills a unique niche – there really aren’t any other stations where the DJ’s actually choose much of what gets played. This is the last living remnant of “Free-Form FM” radio, a style popularized in the 60’s and 70’s which has since faded.

I particularly like the fact that the DJ’s often play a lot of cross-genre music, not always sticking to a pure Americana format. Perhaps Laura Ellen deliberately designed the Americana genre loose to accommodate DJ choices? If so, that was a brilliant stroke.

But the balance of radio is a ClearChannel wasteland.

It seems the majority of radio today is mainly of the “satellite radio,” variety – which is sanitized, homogenized, filtered, and re-packaged – to the point where every station, regardless of genre, sounds almost completely the same. All playing the same 40 songs (of whatever genre) over and over and over and over…

I abhor that kind of radio. I refuse to listen.

If you do away with live DJ’s, then you’ve destroyed the one element that makes KPIG unique. KPIG would become just another radio station. It would lose that quirky, eccentric, unpredictable goodness that makes KPIG what it is.

I am aware of the realities of running a business. Perhaps you could cut executive/clerical/administrative staff, instead? Have everyone in management tighten their belts?

Or, another possibility might be offering a live, CD quality stream on a subscription basis. NOT Real Player. If that venture failed in the past, it was because of the bloatware/spyware/malware that Real builds into all their products – I refuse to install any Real product on all of my computers. The period when the internet stream was offered only on Real was the only time I have stopped listening to KPIG.

But surely there are other stream-casters that you could work with? Put up a CD quality stream with a company other than Real and I’ll buy a monthly subscription – and I’m sure many others will as well.

Thanks for bringing KPIG to the world. Please don’t tear down what Laura built!

Sincerely,

Mike Pellegrini
Tacoma, WA

Chris Lapenski – 1970 – 2007 – In Memorium

Chris Lapenski He who burns brightest burns quickest.

Chris Lapenski died in a motorcycle accident on the morning of Monday, August 13.
He was 36 years old, a longshoreman, riding his Suzuki Hayabusa – the fastest production bike in the world, capable of speeds close to 200 MPH.

He was on his way to work at TOTE that morning, and according to reports, might have been racing another bike (the other rider denies this) at speeds around one hundred miles an hour. Supposedly, the other bike briefly lost control swerving into his path, which in turn caused Chris to lose control. He came off the bike and impacted a wooden post.

This is a tragic loss.

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Safeco Insurance Sucks

Safeco Insurance Screws People
What’s the difference between a bookie and an insurance company? The bookie won’t welsh on paying if you try to collect.

We just got done with a long, troubling fight with Safeco Insurance.

Early last April, my oldest kid’s car – a 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo – was sitting in front of his house one night at 2 AM. A drunk lady leaving a nearby bar plowed into it and split without stopping. Luckily, my son heard tires squealing and ran outside in time to get her license number as she sped off.

He gave the information to the police, who told him they thought it was likely a college student going home from a bar just down the street.

When the lady hit, the main point of contact was her car’s right front wheel – it hit on my son’s left rear wheel, smashing his car about a foot into the curb, and then forcing it maybe another foot forward along the curb.

Damaged in the crash were his two passenger side wheels, plus the wheel that took the initial impact, as well as some minor body damage at the point of impact. The crash also stripped the splines on his steering shaft and bent his left rear control arm.

The next day, my son went driving with a friend around the nearby university and in short order, he found the car. We turned that information over to the cops.

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Manke Clean Burn Wood Pellets = Shorter Pellet Stove Firepot Life

Rusty firepot courtesy of Manke Clean Burn pellets
I just replaced the firepot on my pellet stove last week. $300.
I’ve heated my home with wood pellets for the last five years. I have a Quadrafire Santa Fe stove.
In a typical year, we’ll use about two tons of pellets in the heating season. When I got the stove, that’d cost about $300, which is a helluva good deal.
Last year, I spent just over $500 – which is still really inexpensive compared to any other form of heat.
For most of that five-year period, I’ve used Manke Clean Burn Pellets, which are produced here locally in Tacoma. They burn really hot, and produce almost no ash. The ash from two tons easily fit into the ash drawer on my stove.
I was cleaning the stove one morning last week and punched a hole in the side of the firepot – it had rusted through in the area by where the starter element was welded on to the pot (area circled in red on photo).
Also, I noted the white deposits on the air holes (arrows). I wet the tip of my finger and touched the white area, then tasted it – it tastes salty.
When I went to the dealer to get the new firepot, I described the damage to the parts guy – who used to work as a repairman. He asked how old the firepot was – I told him four years (it was replaced under warranty when the stove was one year old).
Then the guy asked, “You use Clean Burn, huh?”

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Ralph Nader, GO HOME!

An open letter to Ralph (Spolier) Nader:
Ralph Nader
Still my beating heart! It can’t be so!
OMG! I was just swept away with emotion when I that heard you – Ralph Nader – were going to step into the 2008 presidential race.
We are so damned lucky!
Just what we need, another spoiler in the race.
You were absolutely instrumental in getting George Bush elected in the 2000 election! Great job! Without you, Gore would have certainly won.
Now, I suppose this announcement means you’ve decided to throw your weight behind McCain or whoever the republicans put up? Great.
Thanks entirely to you, Ralph, and your 2000 presidential bid, George Bush has:

  • gotten us hopelessly involved in a war in Iraq
  • gotten us hopelessly involved in a war in Afghanistan
  • alienated many of our former allies
  • taken away many of our civil liberties in the name of national security
  • run-up an historic national debt to finance the wars
  • completely screwed-up the economy of our country

And you Ralph, are personally responsible for:

  • The deaths of nearly 4,000 US servicemen in Iraq
  • The wounding of over 29,000 US servicemen in Iraq
  • The deaths of as many as 89,000 Iraqi civilians from the war
  • The deaths of 479 US soldiers in Afghanistan
  • The wounding of almost 1,900 soldiers in Afghanistan

Ralph Nader: You’re a disaster for this nation. You’ve disgraced yourself and your country. You’re directly responsible for the deaths and injury of thousands of innocent people.
If you had any class at all, you’d commit Seppuku right now!
But you don’t have any class, do you?
It’d be hard to out-do the devastation that George Bush has wrought on this nation. But if you do run this time, I’m wondering what new and wonderful things we have to look forward to now? Famine? Floods? Nuclear war? Pestilence?
I can’t wait…
Ralph Nader: You wouldn’t even have my vote for dog-catcher!
Sincerely,
Michael Pellegrini

November Election Endorsements

Lobotomies for Republicans
Statewide Prop One – Roads and Transit – Vote Yes
Prop One is one of the most important ballot measures we’ve seen in recent years. In addition to funding the expansion of mass transit, it provides funds for key infrastructure improvements.
After the disappointing and untimely demise of the Seattle Monorail, the region is getting a second chance at mass transit with light rail.
If the Seattle metropolitan area is to succeed in becoming a world-class city, we have to start building mass-transit systems.
Our current freeway system is maxed out. It can’t handle the traffic that currently exists, much less handle the anticipated growth we’re likely to experience in the coming years.
Mass transit is one of the answers.
I was in San Francisco while they were building BART in the early 70’s. The disruptions were terrible. Market Street, downtown was torn up for several years. It was a real mess. And the expense to taxpayers? Horrible. People bitched and moaned for years. It really was terrible.
But now 30 years later, on an average weekday BART has over 340,000 riders. That’s 340,00 people who did not have to take the freeway.
The Seattle area needs something like that – soon. If the Monorail wasn’t the answer, then apparently light rail is.
Mass transit is a must for this area.

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It's Official: Dino Rossi's Doing It Again!

Dino Rossi
Dino Rossi made it official yesterday: he’s running for Governor of Washington state again, against his perennial nemisis, Christine Gregoire.
Pictured yesterday at the right with his head up his ass, Rossi commented, “I’m gonna smoke that bitch this time.”
I’m sure we all can’t wait.

Petraeus Plan is Good Fiction

Playtime in Iraq
Well I for one was completely surprised when George Bush came out publically in support of General Petraeus’s plan for Iraq.
Yeah, right.
Petraeus’s plan is nothing more than Bush administration propaganda designed to justify prolonging the war in Iraq. And Petraeus himself is nothing more than a figurehead, a puppet doing Bush’s bidding.
The 30,000 troop “drawdown” Petraeus proposes is a meaningless gesture designed to appease critics of the war. It’s not in any way a genuine move to end American involvement in Iraq.
The only words you will consistently hear from Bush and his cronies are, “more time.” The idea is that if the US has more time in Iraq to stabilize the situation, then everything will be roses. They’ll embrace the democratic form of government, and we’ll have a new stable ally in the mid-east.
This is a futile dream. It’s no more achievable than the goals we had in Viet Nam,
The French colonized Viet Nam in the late 1800’s. They were there 67 years, only giving it up as a lost cause finally in 1954. The US became involved at that time, and spent another 21 years and over 58,000 American lives in pursuit of the hopeless dream of turning South Viet Nam into a democratic nation.

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