Survey Team

Anyone else out there absolutely despise surveys?

Amazon:  Please rate your recent transaction… Shit received.  The end.

Etsy :  Don’t forget to leave a review… Shit received.  The end.

The oil change place:  How was your visit?   Shit received.  The end.

All good feedback, no?

The Census Bureau:  Your address has been randomly selected to fill out this 19 page, incredibly intrusive document demanding various snippets of very personal information about you and all occupants currently residing at this address to better allow our political units to fuck the little guy.  (slight embellishments may have been added).   Oh…and if you don’t comply – we’re gonna send agents to your home to bang on your door for 20 minutes in an effort to annoy this information outta you.

Topping it off – this official request for information was addressed to ‘Current Occupant.’

Ya wanna know what I do with any mail that ends up in my hands sporting those words?

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If it’s an official Government demand (complete with fines for non-compliance) you’d think they’d at least put a NAME on their documents.   I guess cutbacks are a good excuse for laziness in paperwork.

When they’ve acknowledged that there’s an actual person at the receiving end of their badgering…I’ll give them the information they’ve demanded.  But…they’re gonna EARN it the hard way.

Anyway – Government-agency annoyances aside – The ever-so-famous Blair of The Shameful Sheep had some fun with a survey that’s going around in the Blog-o-sphere…and since I’m needing the practice of filling out and publicizing personal information…I figured I’d give it a whirl, too…

  1. Who are you named after? 
    1. My parents were Buddy Holly fans…so when I came out, screaming and red-faced, somehow, it was deemed appropriate to name me Peggy Sue.  Yup…that’s the legal name.
    2. The name was so much fun – especially in 7th grade when the choral teacher decided this little archaic ditty would be PERFECT to teach the class.  Gleefully, the rest of the class focused on singing “Porky Sue” instead of sticking to the original lyrics.
    3. Kids are mean-spirited little fucks at that age.
  2. Do you like your handwriting?
    1. Well…doctors look at my left-handed scrawl and proclaim:  I can’t read this shit!   Even I have trouble sometimes deciphering what I’ve scrawled on a piece of paper with pen, pencil, crayon, magic marker, or bloody fingertips.  My handwriting looks funny, weird, sloppy, bizarre and/or totally written in code, depending on my frame of mind.
    2. My ‘I’m pissed at you’ handwriting is particularly messy and completely unreadable…Although, once I did draw out a picture of a hand clutching a rose, middle finger proudly extended, and sent that as a formal ‘fuck you’ to someone who’d irritated me.
  3. What is your favorite lunch meat?
    1. The answer to all meat-related questions MUST be bacon.  It’s kinda a rule.
    2. Did someone say BACON???
  4. Longest relationship? 
    1. The wuzband and I would have celebrated (teeth firmly grinding together) our 13th anniversary had I not decided I needed an actual life.
    2. My current SQO and I are rapidly approaching our own 7 year itch, and have stocked up on Gold Bond Powder for the event.
  5. Do you still have your tonsils?
    1. I am proud to admit I still come with all my original parts.
    2. Oh, wait…wisdom & baby teeth don’t count…right???
  6. Would you bungee jump? 
    1. Why would someone jump off a perfectly good platform?  Unless that thing is on fire – and I’m on some pretty intense ‘controlled substances’ – or I’m seriously distracted by, oh….say….DRAGONS flying in the sky….
    2. no.
  7. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
    1. I own no shoes with those ‘laces’ things.
    2. SLIP ON’S FTMFW, baby!
  8. Favorite ice cream?
    1. As I’ve been doing the ketosis thing for 9 months, ice cream is one of the things I had to give up.  It wasn’t a big deal, as the heartburn & headaches produced by consumption of this cold, creamy sweet stuff were fairly prohibitive before keto.  If it was slightly tangy (orange, lemon, etc…), though…I’d dive in.
    2. There’s a place here which serves frozen custard (which most denizens of the Greater Milwaukee Metroplex will agree is far superior to your standard ice cream) called Kopp’s Custard.  They make the absolute BEST Lemon Citron custard around…and their lemon-raspberry cheesecake flavor was a close second.  A Pint (or 2) of that was well worth the pain.
  9. What is the first thing you notice about people?
    1. It depends on the smell.  If they’ve recently marinated in their favorite perfume or axe body spray, I walk the other way before they’re in visual/speaking range.  Nobody wants to be accosted by a chemical shit-storm of fragrance.  Ditto on au naturel – I don’t need my eyes bleeding from your rank sweat.
    2. Bathed and/or otherwise inoffensive people – the first thing I notice are their hands.  You do so much with hands – why not let them lead the way in any introductions.
  10. Football or baseball? 
    1. The wuzband – huge into football, as is most of the state.  Basically, we’re a beer state with a Packer problem.
    2. The SQO – Brewers all the way.
    3. Me – Balls should be played with in the privacy of your own home, dark parking lots, or the back rows of movie theaters…not in a stadium in front of millions of screaming viewers.
  11. What color pants are you wearing? 
    1. Once you go black, you never go back.
  12. Last thing you ate?
    1. See question #3.
    2. Did someone say BACON????
  13. If you were a crayon what color would you be?
  14. Favorite smell?
    1. There are too many to list here.  I love the smell of bacon in the morning (smells like victory!).  I also love my sandalwood soap, the sage I burn prior to whammy-work, and cinnamon or vanilla candles.
  15. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?
    1. I.  Hate.  My.  Phone.  I’d rather gouge both my eyes out with a shit-covered pencil than attempt to have a meaningful conversation with a little box of plastic, wire and glass plastered to the side of my head.
  16. Hair color? 
    1. Well…lemme see, here.  I’ve got some red.  I’ve got some brown.  I’ve got some black.  I’ve got some gray.  I’M A MUTT!
    2. Once, I dyed half my hair blonde, the other half red.  That way – if I wanted to be blonde, I’d brush it toward one side, red – the other.  I also had a purple rat tail.
  17. Eye color?
    1. Brown.  I’m THAT full of shit.
  18. Favorite foods to eat?
    1. Say it with me, folks…..BACON.
      1. I’m also currently obsessed with rutabaga.  Slice them things up into fry-like forms, slather with olive oil, sprinkle with as much garlic powder as you can stand, and bake until browned & sizzly.
  19. Scary movies or happy endings? 
    1. I don’t know a lot of movies I can consistently watch to the end, as I tend to fall asleep when I’m all cozy and slightly entertained…so there goes the happy ending part.
  20. Last movie you watched? 
    1. to the end?
    2. Right now, I’m watching, and watching, and watching, and falling asleep to V for Vendetta.  I’ll probably switch it out when Netflix takes it off their streaming menu.
  21. Favorite holiday? 
    1. National Bacon Day.
    2. It should really be bacon month…or just have everyday in the year be bacon day.  Who can I reach out to to get this done?
  22. Beer or wine? 
    1. I’m the oddity in a state which runs on hops….I’d choose wine.  Beer is nasty stuff.
    2. My kids are beer snobs.  They call the commercially available stuff (think Miller or Budweiser) canoe sex…fucking close to water.
  23. Night owl or early bird? 
    1. I consider it sleeping in if I stay in bed later than 7 am.  Been working so long at standardized day shift hours, I wouldn’t know how to stay up late.
  24. Favorite day of the week? 
    1. I lurves me some Sunday.  Not because I can’t wait to be close to the Lord (me & my witchy ways notwithstanding) but because everyone else in the household is sleeping/working/out doing running – and I have the place to MYSELF.
    2. Mondays.  Suck.  For the record.
  25. Which three of your favorite bloggers do you want to know more about? 
    1. Here’s the awesome “PAY IT FORWARD” stuff you see in all of these survey types.  I ain’t gonna inflict this pain on anyone else.  But…if yer a glutton for punishment – knock yer socks off.  I’ll read it…really, I will.

 

Anyone wanna see me take video of dropping a full bag of cat shit out the window the next time the census dorks come ringing my doorbell?

An Open Letter…

An open letter to Mitch Zeller, J.D. Director

FDA Center for Tobacco Products

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Take a good look at my face, Mr. Zeller.  This is not the face of a teenager.  This is not the face of a millionaire.  Nor is it the face of a rebel, an out-of-control addict, or an outlaw.  The face you are looking at belongs to a 48 year old, mother of 2, middle class, fully productive and contributing member of our Great American Society.

This is the face of a woman who pays her bills, pays her taxes, lives within the confines of the laws of the land, and asks for no monetary support from the Government she tithes a portion of her daily income to keep running.

This face is simply one of a million ‘John Q. Public’ faces, one of a million ‘John Q. Public’ lives.  Unremarkable, and unapologetically ordinary.

 

 

This is the face of a woman you have just condemned to a horrible, hideous, long and tortuous death.

You’d better take a good, hard look at this face, Mr. Zeller.  Because the mind behind this face is taking a good, hard look at you, and doesn’t quite care for what it sees.

And this face has a question for you.

Why do you want me dead, Mr. Zeller? 

And, not just dead, but suffering for months and/or years as cancer eats me alive from the inside out.

Why do you wish me to suffer, Mr. Zeller?

 

I want you to pick up your office phone, dial my number, and tell me, through the miracle of wireless telecommunications, the answers to my questions.  And I don’t want the sanitized ‘sound bytes’ that you sputter out when in front of a bank of cameras or microphones…I want the truth.

I want you to tell me that my life is not important to you.  That on the great tally-sheet that is your branch of the FDA, the life of a single vaper means less than squat when judged against the billions in profits ($4.5 billion in 2011) generated by the Pharmacological Industry’s ineffective and dangerous (but fully FDA Approved!!!) smoking cessation products.

I want you to tell me that the billions in revenue gathered by State and Federal authorities in punitive ‘sin taxes’ (roughly $11 billion in Federal, $794 billion aggregate for the States) on traditional tobacco products vastly outweigh the life of a single member of this society.

I want to hear from your own lips that the millions of dollars flowing in donations to top cancer-fighting charities would dry up overnight if an acceptable substitute to smoking were openly embraced by those elected and appointed officials who’s job it’s supposed to be to watch out for the public.

I want to hear you say that exploiting that public for profit is far more lucrative than actually doing the job (as outlined to the American Public) you were hired to perform.

I want to hear the gross, unvarnished, ugly truth issue from your mouth.  I want you to admit that my life doesn’t even begin to compare to the amount of money piled up on the other side of that scale.

I want your open admission that protecting the MONEY is the reason your job exists.

What I don’t want to hear are the platitudes, vacillating sound-bytes, and outright lies uttered to the press.  I don’t want to hear you are doing this ‘for the children,’ ‘for my own good,’ or even ‘for the betterment of Public Health.’

I want you to admit, finally, that manipulating the public into believing your lies lines your own pockets with green dollar bills.  Physically, they weigh less than silver, I suppose, but how do they feel on your conscience?

I want my answers, Mr. Zeller.  And I’m not the only one who wants them.

**************************

On Thursday, May 5th, 2016, the FDA’s deeming for a regulatory framework for all ‘other’ tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, hookahs and premium cigars (there may be others…) was abruptly shoved into ‘accepted’ after a long and heated debate.

In 90 days, the e-cigarette market will be frozen in place.  No new products will be allowed.

In 2-3 years, once the full impact of these regulations have emerged…the marketplace as we now know it will have been tossed in the dustbin of ‘The Good ‘Ole Days,’ with the shattered remains owned by Pharma, Tobacco, and a few select, Wall-Street backed companies.  Their offerings will be watered down and ineffective versions of the free-marketplace’s innovative technology.  They will be products guaranteed to keep every American Smoker on the quit-smoke-quit-smoke-quit-smoke-die rollercoaster we all know and loathe.

But at least the money will be protected.

For.  Our.  Own.  Good.

 

Bullshit.

 

 

 

Auto-Obsessions

Someone took my license plate literally

Everyone loves the feel, the handling, the smell, and the looks of a brand new car.  I had the opportunity to rent just such a noble steed a couple of years ago when I was between vehicles (never saw the guy coming and he totaled my car…) and it was amazing.

The thing had 25 miles on it when I drove it off the lot.  It smelled wonderful – new plastic and fabric and cleaning products, with no hints of body sweat, emissions, or bad drive-through food.  It had a full options package, and it flowed down the road like a dreamy flying carpet (albeit with less wind).  It glistened in any available light like a bright red shiny Christmas bauble.

In short – it did it’s best to try to seduce me to the dark side.  If there had been cookies, this might be a different story…

It was kinda sad to return it to the rental place and start driving the 13 year old, dull white (but very serviceable) Mitz I’d selected based on consumer reviews and what the insurance company was willing to pay…But I was mobile, alive, unharmed, and didn’t go into mountains of debt to be so.

I have a decidedly un-Murikan! view on debt – less is miles ahead of more.

Some people aren’t so resilient (OK…I’ll say it…bullheaded) – and get sucked into the black hole of “New Mania” – seduced into buying a new car every 2 years or so – building their debt to the point where they canNOT imagine life without an increasingly large car payment.

Granted, they leave their ‘nothing wrong with it’ trade ins on used car lots sprinkled across every nook & cranny on the globe for the more sensible of us to pick through when we need transportation – but what happened to buying a quality product, and then utilizing it throughout it’s usable life?

Consumerism really irritates me sometimes…

Next, let’s talk about the Government involvement in the automobile industry.  I’ve been racking my brain for days trying (and failing) to come up with a bigger tax scam.  It’s a HUGE revenue builder for the states.  Every time that automobile changes hands, the state gets to collect sales tax.  They get to charge licensing fees.  They get to charge clean-air fees.  I’m sure there are other fees and dues I don’t have to pay, as every state plays by a different set of tax laws.

Every.  Single.  Time.

There isn’t another common consumer good out there following this scheme. I can go out and buy a recovered bicycle from a police auction, and ride it all over the roads without attracting the attention of the tax man.

I can buy a couch, a bed, a lamp, clothing, jewelry, dishes, yadda… at a rummage sale and not have to offer up sales taxes.

I can buy baked goods in a Church Basement and nosh away without any additional cash required before that first sugary-sweet bite.

Sometimes, I get to barter with only goods changing hands while the tax man froths in impotent rage.

This is about as ‘open’ as a house can get…

But Motorized transportation?  Every Single Sale – public or private – HAS to be recorded, reported, taxes and fees collected.  And if the end-user doesn’t want to pony up them dollars, that shiny new toy becomes nothing more exotic than the world’s largest paperweight…with bucket seats.

I wouldn’t recommend parking a Buick on your desk, however…

Why, you may ask, am I grousing about the automobile industry?

I bought the White Wonder around 2 years ago, and there’s nothing wrong with it.  The Mitz is a very dependable little set of wheels, and has given me no trouble outside of requiring new tires and regular oil changes.  As long as I keep up on the maintenance, it should provide the same dependable service for years yet.  I haven’t fallen to the dark side of consumerism (no cookies have been offered…) and I’m not tired of the car.

Unfortunately, I find myself in need of a second car because the kids’ car has croaked out its last exhaust-laden breath.

Graveside Services are Next Tuesday

Seeing though I’m the one that can afford a car…finance a car…and add a second car to my insurance to drop the policy rates on both cars…I’m the one who has to buy the second car.

So the kids are going to give me what they can for the Mitz – and it will be their car even though the paperwork lists it as mine.

Family ties can still trump the tax man 😛

So I’m off to find me a different set of wheels.  I shall gird my loins for this dawning test of fortitude upon the battlefield of the used car lot.  My opponent – the trickster and his brethren – welcome me into their hazard-filled arena.

HearseWhat atrocities shall I behold?  What weapons shall they employ?  And what wonders shall be paraded before my left-seeing eyes?

I really hope the last guy who sold me a car is doing better.  Just last week, he got to weave a basket…