Let me raise the level of discourse here

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

I don’t know about you, but LOLCats are one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t know why I still find them funny, but I do. I can stop any time, really. This one is particularly funny because of my irrational loathing for Wolf Blitzer. If you replaced Wolf with a cat, it might be the first time in recorded history that replacing anything with a cat resulted in a decrease in smug self-centered-ness.

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OMG, Comcast, LOL

I just got my HTPC today, and we’re thinking about canceling our cable. With over-the-air HD, Hulu, and Netflix, I’m not sure we really need cable. I wanted to see how much our internet would cost if we dropped the cable. I figured Comcast would charge us more if we had only internet. So I went to their live support chat. user Jonathan_ has entered room (4:16 PM) Me: What would my high speed internet cost if I cancelled my cable TV? analyst Ferdinand has entered room Ferdinand: Hello Jonathan_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Ferdinand.38369. Please give me one moment to review your information. Ferdinand: Hello! How may I help you today? Me: If I cancel my cable tv, how much would my internet connection cost? Ferdinand: I understand that you want to know the cost of your internet service if you will cancel your cable service. Is that correct? Me: Yes Ferdinand: Please be informed that you have reached the Comcast Internet Technical support. I would be happy to transfer your chat to the appropriate department. Is that okay? Me: Sure Ferdinand: Please wait, while the problem is escalated to another analyst analyst Ellise has entered room (4:18 PM) Ellise: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Let me go ahead and work on this for you. analyst Ferdinand has left room Ellise: By the way, how are you doing today? Me: I’m great, how are you? Ellise: I am glad to know that. Ellise: I am doing quite fine today. Ellise: Thank you for asking. Ellise: It is kind of you, Mr. Renaut. Ellise: Please stay online. Ellise: I will just review the previous chat transcript. Me: ok Ellise: Mr. Renaut, will you please verify what package you currently have? Me: I have digital cable plus high def and high speed internet Ellise: Is this a triple or a double play package? Me: no Ellise: Thank you very much for that information. Ellise: For security purposes may I verify the last 4 digits of your social security number please? Thank you. Me: XXXX, although I’m not sure why you need that just to tell me what my bill would be Ellise: For the security of your account, Mr. Renaut. Ellise: Just a moment, please. Ellise: Mr. Renaut, if you will cancel your cable service, you will save $80.45. Ellise: You have the option to call the local office for confirmation. Ellise: Would you like me to give you the information of our nearest local office to you? Me: I’m not canceling yet, I was just curious Me: nope, just wanted the price Me: thanks very much Ellise: You are most welcome. Ellise: I am glad I was able to assist you today. Ellise: I would appreciate if you will take time answering the online survey right after this chat session. This will help us know how to improve our services. Ellise: Thank you for contacting Comcast! We appreciate your business with us. Ellise: If you need assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us through live chat or e-mail (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Comcast also offers excellent FAQ and help forums located at www.comcast.com to help you reach a resolution independently. Have a great day! Ellise: Analyst has closed chat and left the room (4:28 PM) Things to note:

  1. The whole thing took 12 minutes.
  2. I told Ferdinand my problem once before I arrived in the chat, once after, and then confirmed his restatement.
  3. I’m not convinced that either of the two CSRs could pass a Turing test.
  4. Who knew that everyday pleasantries would be so appreciated?
  5. There’s no chance Comcast doesn’t raise the price of our internet if we cancel the cable.
  6. The price difference she quoted me is digital cable plus the HDTV converter. According to Ellise, if we cancel our cable, we still pay 25 cents a month to rent our remote control.
  7. It is utterly absurd to charge 25 cents for the remote as a separate line item on my bill. Why not just build it into the price of the cable so I never see it?
  8. It was not me who chose which chat room I entered – I answered their questions to the best of my ability. If I’m in the wrong chat room, it is Comcast’s fault.
  9. The survey after the chat is worded in such a way that I can’t tell them how ridiculous they’re being without lying. I answered their questions honestly, and gave them the highest score on every question. But they never asked the really important questions. If your survey is constructed to get high scores, it’s not really helpful, is it?
  10. I really wish that, when she asked if it was a double or triple play, I had answered, “That’s what she said!”.
    In any event, I’m glad I contacted Comcast customer service. I haven’t laughed that hard since last night when we watched the episode of The Office that aired after the Super Bowl.

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The name of this blog is now “Tony Romo Sucks”

Wow. 44-6. Two fumbles and an interception. He went 1-3 in December, although the one win was a good one at home against the Giants. Check out his splits at NFL.com. His December stats are completely out of whack with other months, and this happens every year. He’s been in the league long enough that this is statistically significant. He just can’t play in December. It doesn’t look like he’s going to fix this. I’m feeling pretty good about the playoffs. There are only two teams in the playoffs that I loathe (The Giants, led by colossally-overrated-and-much-less-talented-than-his-brother Eli Manning, and the Panthers, picked every year by “experts” to win the Super Bowl despite the fact that they always suck and always will). Then there are the Dolphins and the Cardinals (Best potential Super Bowl matchup ever) to root for. And there’s the potential for a Ravens-Steelers AFC Championship game, which would be a great game. Should be a fun playoff. And I’m sure Tony Romo will enjoy watching from a comfortable recliner.

Ed Reed ate him alive

Tony Romo still sucks in December. he threw two interceptions and lost another fumble in the Cowboys loss to the Ravens. The Cowboys can still make the playoffs, but they’ll probably need some help, and they’ve given Philadelphia a chance not only to play for their own playoff spot, but a chance to play the Cowboys out of the playoffs. Philly is playing well since their tie with Cincinnati, and I wouldn’t want to play them right now needing a win to advance. Romo’s actually had a better December this year than in previous years – he did lead the Cowboys to 17 fourth quarter points with two touchdown passes. But it’s just not enough, and it’s not what he does every year before December. I wonder if there are other players who are so good for part of the year and so bad for the rest? By the way, no one will believe me now, and I should have had the courage to predict it, but I said to myself when I saw the Cowboys schedule that Ed Reed would have a big game for the Ravens. Next time I won’t be such a coward.

When friends show they care

None of you will get this at all, but I have to share. It really means a lot when a friend spends $10 just to make fun of you. Case in point – Sony Complain Thub. It all started with a thread on our super secret private forum where we complain about our wives talk about sports. The thread was about the Patriots, and it came up that I was rooting for them in the last Super Bowl. This is because I am a Redskins fan, and I would root against the Giants if they were playing absolutely anyone except the Cowboys, and in certain situations, even then. Anyway, this came as a surprise to some. I responded thusly:

I really don’t think there’s anything the Patriots could do that would make me root for the Giants or the Cowboys. Maybe if they went two tight ends with Winslow and Shockey, changed the team name to the Sony Complain Thub, and violated the GPL a couple hundred times. I mean, I still hate the Patriots, and it was like rooting to lose an eye vs lose both eyes, but a Pats win would still have been preferable to me.

Of course, that was a small bit of hyperbole, and a large bit of inside joke, but still, relevant to the link that you may or may not have clicked above.

Investing for the l33t

I was reading this article about the failure of some ETFs to really commit to their theme. He talks about some ETFs that claim to be based on wind power but have holdings like BP that really don’t depend on the success of wind power at all. The most interesting part of the article, though, wasn’t really his point. It was an ETF called PowerShares Global Wind Energy Portfolio. For some of you their ticker symbol, PWND, means nothing. For others, it has a rich and humorous meaning. In any event, I was looking at the Google Finance page for the fund, and saw the a discussion thread that caught my eye. I don’t know why these things make me laugh so much, but they do, and this did. I guess I’m just a sucker for dumb internet memes that won’t go away.

Bill Simmons is fired

I read Bill Simmons for a long time. He’s written some funny articles, and his nomination of Bo Jackson as the greatest video game athlete of all time is absolutely right. And he was cool, years ago, when the Celtics, Red Sox, and Patriots all sucked. He’d talk about his beloved local teams now and then, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t ignore. But when they started doing well, it became quite clear that he would be better off writing for the Boston Globe and not something national. Well, maybe he wouldn’t be better off, but we would. He couldn’t go a paragraph without mentioning his teams. And I actually used to like the Pats and the Sox – my grandmother spends a lot of time in New England, so she got to root for both teams a bit, and since they were both terrible for a long time, I was happy to root for them when they weren’t playing the Orioles or Redskins. And then they got good. You, Red Sox fans, are some of the most annoying in all of sports. Some of you, the real die hards, are okay. But most of you have been waiting years, not for your team to be as good as the Yankees, but for you to have the excuse to be as annoying as Yankees fans. It only took one World Series victory to turn you from lovable underdogs into Yankees fans who wear red. But back to Simmons. He had an internship contest that my brother entered. He went to great lengths to explain how he was going to choose the winner, and then ignored all his rules and chose someone who simply aped his style. I stopped reading him completely a few years ago. I just got tired of him talking about his favorite teams all the time. I’d stop reading an article as soon as he started to gush about a Boston team, and pretty soon there wasn’t much for me to read. Many of you may have read this article, which I did not, but apparently it’s not flattering to the Celtics. The wife directs me to this response from Celtics Blog.

From here on out: Stop It. Just Stop. We no longer want you talking about our team publicly. You’ve lost all credibility with Celtics fans. All of it. Don’t bother with some lame and dumb reverse jinx excuse to explain your writing. And really, spare us the joyous article after we do win the title. None of us want to hear about it from Showtime Simmons. Enjoy rooting for Kobe, we hope you’ll be happier sitting next to Diane Cannon, just don’t tell us about it.

I hope he takes it to heart. He has to decide if he’s really a fan, in which case he should write for a Boston area publication and love his teams no matter what, or he can be a national columnist and pretend he cares about other teams in the league (Aside from, apparently, the Lakers). And speaking of the Celtics (The one team from Boston I still like, because the wife loves them and I never had a basketball team I cared about), I actually agree with Mike Wilbon for the first time in a while – the offensive foul on Paul Pierce that they called on his late three point attempt was absolutely awful. I’m glad it didn’t end up affecting the outcome, because it was just terrible. Tayshaun Prince jumped in the air and landed on Pierce while he was shooting and somehow it’s an offensive foul? Crazy. Anyway, I’m looking forward to game 1 on Thursday. Unlike Simmons, I actually want the Celtics to win, and think they can do it. It’ll be tough – LA is a great team. But it can be done, and it can be done by the Celtics. Edit to add: An LA fan thinks that Simmons sucks, too.

Oh, Ubuntu, you make me laugh

I tried out Fedora for a few minutes. The Gnome desktop looks just like Ubuntu. I’m going to do some research and see what the real differences are. When I rebooted into Ubuntu, I had some upgrades to install, which I did. One of them popped up this message:

A security certificate which was automatically created for your local system needs to be replaced due to a flaw which renders it insecure. This will be done automatically. If you don’t know anything about this, you can safely ignore this message.

That’s pretty awesome.

Man, who thought this was a good idea?

ESPN – Papa John’s to offer Cleveland residents 23-cent pizzas

Papa John’s Pizza issued an apology to Cleveland and the Cavaliers for making T-shirts with LeBron James’ number and the word “crybaby” under it.

Who’s the marketing person in Washington who decided this would be a good idea? I suppose I could probably find him or her by doing a resume search on Careerbuilder for marketing resumes added in the last two days. Since I’ve watched more basketball this year than any other year in my lifetime because of the Celtics-fan wife, I have a better idea of what a hard foul is than I used to. And the little montage ESPN put together of the Wizards pounding on LeBron was pretty ridiculous. So I don’t blame him for complaining a bit. And I doubt he’s crying now, as he’s headed to Boston on Tuesday while Brendan Heywood is headed to play golf.

Now I’ll get some good search hits

I was just looking through my Gmail spam folder, which I do from time to time to see if it caught anything it shouldn’t have. I’m mostly curious – anything that gets caught in there is probably not worth reading anyway. But one email jumped out at me – someone named Zane Gay (Not the author, that’s Grey) sent me an email entitled, “Fondle all her internal nerve endings”. Maybe this guy should be an author, because he’s got a way with the English language, I’ll tell you. Maybe he should be a poet, instead. The rigid constraints of prose could never hold Zane Gay back. I hope someone out there was sitting on his couch, thinking to himself, “Gosh, Jane sure is a great girl. I really want to fondle all her internal nerve endings, but HOW?”. And then he happens to look in his inbox and see this gift from Zane Gay. That’s the way the world should work.